The Weekly Standard's latest Dewey moment

Showing the judgment that made him a NYT columnist, Bill Kristol's magazine this week examines the downfall of the Clintons.

By Glenn Greenwald

Published January 9, 2008 10:17AM (EST)

(updated below - Update II)

Here's the cover for this week's issue of The Weekly Standard, excitingly available on newsstands now:

Here, once again, we encounter the renowned judgment and deep wisdom of Bill Kristol, Son of Irv, which led NYT Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal, Son of Abe, to declare Kristol to be "a captivating writer and keen observer of the political landscape" and hand him a columnist job at the Times.

This week's issue (the content of which, tragically, is available only to the handful of Weekly Standard subscribers) undoubtedly contains great wisdom of this sort, offered up this week on The Weekly Standard website by "Richelieu," some pseudonymous GOP operative whose "savviness" -- the highest Beltway journalist praise there is -- has been endlessly hailed by reverent "political journalists" and whose secret identity (in stark contrast to the campaign's issues) is a matter of intense interest for them:

Richelieu: Only Obama Can Beat Obama

On the Democratic side, as often predicted here, the Obama steamroller rolls along. He'll beat Clinton solidly tomorrow [in New Hampshire], and a new round of polls following that will start showing him beating her in many other states too, possibly even in New York. Heads will roll at Clinton HQ by the weekend, but the outlook seems grim. Only Obama can now beat Obama in the primary.

Last night, Kristol, in his natural habitat on Fox News, snidely dismissed Clinton's victory as follows: "It's the tears. She pretended to cry. The women felt sorry for her. And she won." Neoconservatives never err. They are only victimized by the flaws of others -- in this case by the incomparably calculated manipulation of Hillary Clinton and the vapidity of female voters.

None of this, of course, remotely compares -- either in impact or dishonesty -- to the endless string of false, ignorant propaganda that spewed forth from Kristol for years regarding Iraq. But it all demonstrates the same attributes. And just as none of that stopped Andy Rosenthal from hailing Kristol this week as a "serious, respected conservative intellectual," none of this will either. Beltway Seriousness, once issued, is irrevocable, and neither a complete lack of judgment nor a complete lack of integrity can ever lead to its revocation (just as it doesn't preclude its issuance in the first place). By collectively agreeing to apply that "standard" to one another, they all remain comfortably accountability-free.

UPDATE: This was the very first paragraph of the very first NYT column written by Kristol (h/t Awklib):

Thank you, Senator Obama. You've defeated Senator Clinton in Iowa. It looks as if you're about to beat her in New Hampshire. There will be no Clinton Restoration. A nation turns its grateful eyes to you.

Was it even theoretically possible for Kristol to have written a more appropriate first-ever paragraph in the New York Times -- suffuse with his trademark combination of chronic Wrongness and smug malice (to complement his inexcusably sloppy factual inaccuracy), all in one column. Andy Rosenthal should be very, very proud.

UPDATE II: Jon Chait at The New Republic, five days ago:

Anyone who makes predictions -- those who, for some reason, think it's valuable to declare the outcome of elections ahead of the voting -- is going to be wrong now and then, at least. There is nothing wrong with that per se. Still, it's worth taking note of just how constantly wrong all of our Most Serious Political Analysts are, particuarly when they swarm together to embrace the same storyline.

Glenn Greenwald

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