Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Uber hawk Bill Kristol has just been signed up by the New York Times as an op-ed columnist, according to the Huffington Post. Here's a collection of some of Kristol's greatest neocon hits (also here, but suffice to say, the man's approach to foreign policy is that no problem can't be solved with an air strike or two).
The hire bugs me for three reasons. First, it highlights the fact that there simply isn't any price to be paid in punditocracy for being WRONG. Kristol was as wrong as anyone could be on Iraq, and continued to insist the war was going well long after anyone with a connection to reality (even the Bush Administration!) had stopped claiming success.
Second, it demonstrates how extreme conservatism has a place in the mainstream press, but extreme liberalism doesn't. The man advocates military strikes on Iran, Syria, and Burma (of all places!). That's extreme by even today's conservative standards. Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert don't balance that out. But will Dennis Kucinich end up on the Times' op-ed page? Of course not.
Third, if the Times wanted a conservative voice, it could have hired someone who has something interesting to say about the struggles conservatism currently faces in this country. Instead it hired someone whose approach is to repeat the most ridiculous and discredited pablum of the right, so as to help legitimize the illegitimate. And Kristol's willingness to say the indefensible is obviously a career move. Every time two people share a "Did you see what Kristol wrote??" moment, the man's star burns a little brighter.
In short, Kristol is intellectually dishonest and almost comically extreme. He is a caricature. He contributes nothing but increased polarization to the national debate. And now his writing will sit in the most hallowed space in journalism.