Friday, December 18, 2009

The transparent insincerity of Krazy Bill Kristol, partisan hack

I've met Krazy Bill Kristol a couple of times. I've even spoken to him about my academic work (long story -- one of my teachers at the Univ. of Toronto was one of his teachers at Harvard). He's not a stupid man. Sure, he's a partisan hack with a whole lot of neocon fervor, and I think he's wrong about just about everything, but I'm not about to ridicule him for lack of intellectual capacity, even if he deserves a whole lot of ridicule for just about everything he says and writes and, well, is.

And I've been deeply critical of him here at The Reaction. In fact, I think we all have.

And sometimes, or a lot of the time, it's just so transparently obvious what he's up to, as he spews arguments that are just plain stupid. Like, for example, this, from earlier today:

There's a really big snowstorm coming to D.C.tonight. It would be unsafe to ask all the staffers and Hill employees who'd be needed at the Capitol if Congress stays open all hours this weekend, as Harry Reid intends, to drive to and from work -- especially since many will have to do so at night, and they won't be well-rested. So from the point of view of public safety and personal well-being, Ben Nelson can do everyone a favor, announce today he won't vote for cloture, and let everyone stay home this weekend.

Furthermore, Harry Reid is maniacally insisting on a Christmas Eve vote on a bill whose final text no one has seen yet. So from a good government point of view, Nelson can say that he feels he has to be against cloture.

And of course there's no need to vote in December rather than January or February -- it's just that Reid fears the already unpopular bill can't stand up to more public examination and debate. So from the point of view of respecting democracy and the American people, Nelson can insist that he needs time -- once we have Reid's text -- to go back to Nebraska and have some town meetings to let his constituents' voices be heard.

Two things:

1) Kristol has nothing positive to add to the health-care reform debate. He's just against it. And, to that end, the end of killing it altogether, he's all for obstructing and delaying as much as possible. So if there's no need to vote in December, there's no need to vote in January or February, or perhaps at all next year, and so on and so on. The "argument" is absurd. At some point a vote needs to be held. Why not this month? Oh, right, because the bill will likely pass and there will be actual reform. That's what Kristol knows and fears. There's still work to be done, not least winning the support of Nelson and Lieberman, but we're almost there. Unlike last time, with Hillarycare, Kristol has lost, and he knows it.

2) Kristol likely doesn't give a shit about the welfare of Hill staffers, or at least not much of one. So his deep concern for their safety at this time of impending snowstorm is obviously insincere. He just wants any excuse to delay the vote, which is why he's pushing Nelson to make a decision now. As Jon Chait notes sarcastically, "Kristol is a man of ideas, not some hack who marshals any available argument that serves his political ends." And as Chait correctly points out, if the roles were reversed, Kristol wouldn't be pushing for everyone to be sent home ahead of a key vote. Kristol's "argument" is so stupid and so insincere, and so obviously so, it isn't possible to take him at all seriously. Yeah, yeah, we know he's against reform, and we know he badly wants Nelson to side with the Republicans. So then just say it and don't bullshit us with "the point of view of public safety and personal well-being."

No, he's not a stupid man. He knows full well what he's doing and what's going on. But he really does write and say some appalling stupid things. In fact, he's made a highly lucrative career of it.

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