There are few universal truths in this postmodern world in which nothing is what it seems and we constantly struggle to determine if our society is being serious or if it is attempting some sort of winking, ironic metacommentary on, like, the media, dude. One thing you can take to the bank, however, is that when Bill Kristol gives you advice, you should do the exact opposite. 180°. Literal, polar, diametric opposition. If he tells you to bet on black, the ball will land on red. If he says to try the fish, get the steak. If he says it's sunny, bring your umbrella. If he touts the Yankees, bet on the Red Sox. If he's gripping his chest and gasping for breath in a really, eerily convincing impression of a man having a heart attack, don't call 9-1-1.

In short, Bill Kristol has the longest, most baffling track record of obtaining paid, high profile media gigs from which to offer his opinions without ever having been right about anything. And rarely is he merely wrong – more often he is profoundly, even staggeringly wrong. Dewey defeats Truman wrong. "They can't hit anything from this distance" wrong. "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau" wrong. He manages to be wrong so completely and his predictions plow into the side of the mountain at such spectacular speed that we can scarcely comprehend how anyone takes him seriously. That he has not been laughed into an institution for the mentally unwell is difficult to believe.

So when Bill Kristol concern trolls writes a "sincere" column recommending that Obama replace Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton, the one and only correct course of action for the President is to do the exact opposite:

For our part, we'd like to see a decisive triumph for Romney and his running mate over two formidable representatives of contemporary liberalism, rather than a discounted victory over a flawed ticket with only one strong candidate. So we sincerely suggest to President Obama: Dump Joe Biden.

We're sure the thought has occurred to the president. He knows his undisciplined vice president did him no service by popping off about same-sex marriage on Meet the Press, thereby forcing Obama to engage the issue prematurely. Instead of making his announcement of his evolution in a well-prepared speech for which the groundwork had been laid, the president arranged a rushed interview in which he rather inarticulately expressed his personal view in a way that persuaded no one who wasn't already convinced.

…Who should replace Biden? Everyone knows the answer. Hillary Clinton received nearly 18 million votes in the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Her rating in a Washington Post survey a couple of weeks ago was 65 percent favorable, 27 percent unfavorable. Biden hurts Obama. She would help him.

What's more, she'd help with precisely the undecided voters Obama needs in November. Many of them are white, working- and middle-class Americans who supported her in the 2008 primaries. They overcame their disappointment at Clinton's defeat to vote for Obama that November. But many became disillusioned and voted Republican in 2010, producing that year's GOP landslide. Barack Obama needs to win back as many of them as possible in 2012. They voted for Hillary Clinton once. Surely they'd be more likely to return to Obama if given the opportunity to vote for her again as part of the ticket.

Ignore the obvious for a moment – Obama has way to justify making desperation moves at this point, Obama and Hillary personally hate each other, Obama wants Bill Clinton as far away from the White House as possible, Hillary as a candidate is actually a deeply polarizing and rather unpopular figure – and look at this from a purely Kristol-centric perspective. If Bill Kristol thinks this is the right move, then it is the worst idea since the Edsel. I temper that last remark only to the extent that it is unfair to the Edsel, which, despite being almost comically ugly and saddled with a chrome vagina for a grille, actually worked.


  • I've been holding off on sharing this piece of recent personal experience, but it seems appropriate to do so here:

    I met Bill Kristol recently.

    Shook his hand, chatted politely. The circumstances–which for professional reasons (and for reasons of basic courtesy) I won't get into–did not permit me to say any of the myriad of things I was screaming in my head all the while. But seriously, it was an amazing moment to have relative quiet outside my skull, and a cacophony of voices inside, all shrieking at me to *say* it, for Christ's sake *say* it, *say* it now, you'll never get the chance again!!!

    I didn't, because I am a grown-up, and I was being paid, and it was a charity event for a genuinely awesome cause *and* at which he was volunteering, so doing so would be about as tasteless as could be. But still, I am glad I had not read this column beforehand.

  • Major Kong says:

    In a just world Bill Kristol would be spending the rest of his life changing bedpans in a VA hospital.

    And I'm being exceedingly charitable here.

  • As a side note, my dad has a picture with about 6 friends all kneeling around the grill of their High School principal's Edsel after having adorned it with Steel Wool. Apparently, he didn't notice for nearly a week.

    True story!

  • 'Obama and Hillary personally hate each other.'
    I would like more detailed info on this. Also, I'm a DC gossip columnist.

    'If he's gripping his chest and gasping for breath in a really, eerily convincing impression of a man having a heart attack, don't call 9-1-1.'

    Now, that I can agree with, wholeheartedly.

  • Robert Farley of Lawyers Guns and Money had a nice post about Kristol's role in the conservative media machine a few years back


    Kristol is at the center of a web of relationships. If he goes down other powerful people go down, and if he goes up other powerful people go up. Makes as much sense as to anything else in explaining why he tends to get to flash his cheshire grin in public so much.

    "If [Kristol}'s gripping his chest and gasping for breath in a really, eerily convincing impression of a man having a heart attack, don't call 9-1-1"

    Especially in a post that begins with a few lines about postmodern irony and all that, I'm not sure how to interpret this sentence.

    J. Dryden,

    I completely get the charity fundraiser aspect and the professionalism aspect of not wanting to give Kristol the business, but the civility thing? Really? This man played a non-negliglbe role in defeating universal health care, in impeaching Clinton, in imposing sanctions which killed hundreds of thousand of children, in launching one ill-advised war and one war the entirety of which is a crime against humanity, on and on and on. What does one person have to do to get you to call him a fucking scumsucker to his face?

    I mean there are ways to do things and ways not to do things. I wouldn't say screaming at someone until you get thrown out of the room is a good thing to do, but calmly reciting their crimes and capping it off with a nice little string of profanity . . . isn't that doing the Lord's work? Isn't that being "a grown-up" and acknowledging we live in a world with bad people in it whose awfulness has drastic consequences?

    Of course I started a blog called Look at This Fucking Centrist, so if you think I'm a tad too quick to profanely berate someone in the name of progress I wouldn't blame you.

  • Middle Seaman says:

    There is no reason to suffer Bill Kristol affliction or any other of the deadly moronic commentators appearing on our traditional media. We have stopped reading papers, listening to talk radio or watching news programs on TV. We stopped feeding the cockroaches. Life is good. My youngest elevated the approach to a science. He reads and uses only Twitts; he doesn't even read blogs. (God knows that moronism afflicts that world badly as well.)

    We disagree on Hillary and I'll mention Bill. Obama won the 2008 due to hatred of the Clinton brand carefully cultivated by the well off pretend lefties. Most of these haters were kicked in the cojones by Obama. Hillary is not a hate center anymore and is relatively popular. Bill Clinton, probably the most intelligent president ever, is still very much in the news 12 years after leaving the WH. Next to bill, Obama looks like an average high school student.

  • I'm not so sure getting tips from Jamie is necessarily a bad thing. Who wouldn't want to learn how to loose a few billion, get a nice pay raise and palm off the losses to the complicit Randian, Faux News lurvin' public?

  • Sarah Palin was Bill Kristol's idea. Kristol was the one who pitched her to Republican higher ups on an Alaskan cruise in 2007.

    A column without empirical evidence is useless on it's face. To FJM his work, he assumes:

    Biden is undisciplined.
    Biden is hurting Obama.
    Biden forcing Obama to take a stand on same sex marriage is a bad thing.
    Obama was trying to convince people on same sex marriage, rather than stating his own point of view.
    "Tea Party" voters supported Obama in 2008, but abandoned him in 2010.
    These same "Tea Party" voters would go running for Hillary in 2012.

    There's so much unsubstantiated stupid in just those three paragraphs that I wouldn't even deem a printed copy of it worthy of wiping my ass with.

  • A glance at the title made me wonder why anyone would want to ask the Pitt Panthers men's basketball coach for financial advice.

    Bill Kristol is awful.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    In a more intelligent, mature, and adult country, Kristol would be openly mocked and held-up for ridicule every time he tried to stick his smug puss out in public, or tried to open his rancid mouth.

    If you look at his track record to find the last time he was right, not only is there no track record – THERE'S NO FECKIN' TRACK!!!
    His record, as Ed said, is he's been 100% absolutely, positively, categorically wrong on EVERY single issue he's opined about. And he has no shame about always being wrong – none! Zip. Zero. Zilch. 0. Nodda.
    He's a millionaire despite, or because of, that.

    How does someone who makes that charlatan psychic, Miss Cleo, look like a sage and seer prognosticator, and who makes a local TV weatherperson look like he/she's setting the odds and point spreads for The Mob in Vegas, keep his job(S!)?

    Ah yes – Wingnut Welfare.
    Where every failure is success!
    And a chance to make more money and move up, and appear on TV and radio more, and to be given prime Op-ed space.

    Modern American Conservatism can be solely defined as the following:
    "Anything and everything to piss off the Liberals!!!
    To be diametrically opposed, 180 degrees opposed, to any Liberal or Progressive position(s). No new ideas needed.'

    And Bill Kristol is their poster-boy.

  • Bill Keller of the New York Times beat Kristol to the punch a few months ago:


    When I saw this, my response was, "Why would the administration pay any attention to this, when Obama, Clinton, and Biden have already considered the idea and rejected it?"

    A friend of mine, who leans farther left than I do, suggested that perhaps Keller hoped to plant the seed of the idea in the minds of some staffers who would then advise the office-holders. I still considered it extremely unlikely to have any impact, but at least that rationale had some sanity behind it.

    Kristol's column makes even less sense. Since when would anyone in the Obama White House ever take his advice? And given that, what does he hope to accomplish by writing this? The most it can achieve is to get some Republicans thinking "Wouldn't it be great if…" about a situation that's just never going to become reality.

  • I think about Kristol slightly diffferently. Not that the GOPundit universe doesn't rise and fall with him (or think they do, which is much the same thing), but rather that what Our Bill says is the distillation of what the Insiders think (or think they should think, which is much the same thing). If you want to know just how fucked we are as a nation, contemplate Kristol's career and be flabbergasted. The extraordinary thing continues to be that even as the insanity and absolute 'wrongness' of the right-wing becomes more and more widely recognized, they appear to become more and more powerful. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

  • Wait wait wait… let me see if I read this correctly. Kristol is saying that there are people who wanted to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008, who then bitterly accepted voting for Obama, but then voted for Tea Party congressional candidates in 2010? (He says "Republican", but really only Tea Party candidates won for the GOP in 2010.)

    I have a hard time imagining that person.

  • @Misterben:
    Yeah. A lot of '08 Obama voters stayed home in 2010. They didn't vote for the Tea Party.

    Voter apathy is going to hurt Obama again this year, but this idea of "independents" switching parties every few years doesn't exist outside the Beltway. The last major shift of that kind happened in 1980.

    This isn't the sort of argument to pick with Bill Kristol.

  • Ooh, excellent Civil War quote. I also like Captain Fetterman's boast that with 80 soldiers he could ride through the Sioux Nation.

  • mel in oregon says:

    hilliary r clinton would be a lousy choice for vp. & bill clinton as the smartest president of all time? nope, he was stupid as hell. never listen to anything bill kristol says, & you won't miss a thing. hilliary lied about "being under fire", she was almost laughed off the stage at georgetown univ when she said, "we have never tried to impose our will on any nation", she consistently follows the rightwing likud line when discussing israel vs palestine, a dumb excuse for a human same as kristol.

  • Major Kong says:

    Bill Kristol has yet to achieve the level of accuracy of a broken clock.

    His nut-gathering abilities do not approach that of the proverbial blind squirrel.

    To be that consistently wrong would seem to require a degree of effort. Even pure dumb chance would have a better success rate.

  • Well, Bill Kristol tells his audience what they want to hear, despite being wrong every time. Just like Alan Greenspan. Hey, if you're an incompetent with a good line of bullshit, this country is solid gold for you….

  • I can't remember which Yankee General made that asinine remark. My memory isn't what it used to be.

  • So, in a more intelligent, mature, and adult country, we could expect a lot of mocking and ridicule every time someone we disagree with tried to stick his smug puss out in public, or even tried to open his rancid mouth?

    Yep, sure sounds intelligent, mature, and adult to me.

  • Major Kong says:

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • It astounds me the extent some of you will go to in order to rationalize nonsense…probably the reason I read this blog and every comment…everyday.

  • Someone here thinks that "disagreement" and "utterly wrong" are interchangeable terms.

    Watch that "So" formulation. It almost always leads to a faulty conclusion.

  • Major Kong says:

    As much blood as Kristol has on his hands, he's lucky that the worst thing he has to worry about is ridicule.

    The man is a ghastly excuse for a human being.

  • It astounds me the extent some of you will go to in order to rationalize nonsense

    That's interesting, because that summarizes my reaction to your worldview perfectly.

  • I think we may be underestimating the conserva-pundits here.

    – wait, there's an explanation coming –

    Kristol and his ilk, while consistently wrong, are unswervingly "on message". Kristol is talking some shit about who should be VP? This tells us nothing other than that Kristol (and whoever fills his feedbag every morning) wants all of us looking at and talking about the VP slot.

    Maybe the logic is "Obama + Biden = Dems win, while Obama + ??? = ???"
    Maybe they just want to give Joe some air-time, see if he can't fuck something up.
    Maybe they think Hilary's supporters will cause problems for the Dem campaign.
    More likely it's just a rabbit for the chasing.

  • "Major Kong Says:
    May 22nd, 2012 at 1:58 am
    In a just world Bill Kristol would be spending the rest of his life changing bedpans in a VA hospital.

    And I'm being exceedingly charitable here."

    With his tongue.

    You're a better man than I, Gunga Din. I wouldn't have had the self control.
    I once met George Bush Senior, when he was visiting a hospital I was working at. He came through the door I was working, at, and stuck his hand out for me to shake. For a long, awkward moment, I just stared at the extended hand, and then at his face. He finally dropped the hand and walked away, but I'm pretty sure I got my feelings across without saying a word.

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