Hey, a Moment of Intellectual Honesty Out of Bill Kristol

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


My thoughts on Bill Kristol are usually condemnatory, so I was pleasantly surprised when he defended Obama’s national security credentials recently. Here he is at an AIPAC conference explaining that there are few major differences between Obama and McCain on foreign policy.

“There are actually no disputes of that nature…with the exception of Iraq this time. Obama’s not for cutting the defense budget; Obama’s not for pulling troops back from our forward positions around the world, with the exception of Iraq. Obama and McCain don’t actually differ, at least on paper, even on Iran, where they’re arguing about whether they would talk to [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad or not — and I think that’s an important dispute. Still, at the end of the day, Obama doesn’t say he would rule out the use of force. McCain certainly is committed as he said this morning to trying to increase economic pressure on Iran, which Obama has also talked about.”

Now, Kristol’s not entirely correct here. Obama opposed the Senate amendment that classified Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. He is open to a softening of American policy toward Cuba. He generally sees a larger role for diplomacy than McCain, and rejects the bellicosity of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy, while McCain embraces it. He rejects conventional wisdom on international issues. John McCain seems to embody it.

But the strategic thing for Kristol to do would be to be paint Obama as weaker than McCain on defense. So weak in fact that he endangers American (and Israeli!) security. McCain said just this yesterday, but Kristol declined in his AIPAC comments. So in the interest of giving credit where it’s due, kudos to Kristol.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate