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Bill Kristol

September 29, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

In his New York Times column today, Bill Kristol describes McCain as “on course to lose the presidential election” and lays out the path McCain should take to “turn it around, and surge to victory.” His advice includes the following step:

In the debate, Palin has to dispatch quickly any queries about herself, and confidently assert that of course she’s qualified to be vice president. She should spend her time making the case for McCain and, more important, the case against Obama. As one shrewd McCain supporter told me, “Every minute she spends not telling the American people something that makes them less well disposed to Obama is a minute wasted.”

I try to take Kristol seriously. I really do. But I just don’t get him. Suppose Palin does “confidently assert that of course she’s qualified to be vice president.” Does that make it so? Should we accept her at her word and ignore all the competing evidence? If she makes the desired assertion and then goes on the attack, would this prove that she is prepared for the job?

Kristol is a college classmate of mine. I didn’t know him when we were in college, but I did hear him speak in October 2003 at our 30th reunion (on a panel with fellow classmates E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and Benazir Bhutto), and I was convinced that he’s a smart guy, even a thoughtful one. Why is so much of what he writes and says publicly not so thoughtful? Perhaps the explanation was provided this morning by Andrew Sullivan, who wrote, “He has long since stopped thinking about ideas and reality, focusing on short-term tactics and marketing for his company brand, the GOP.”

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