Federalist: Bill Kristol, once a conservative icon, is now shilling for a leftist agenda. I regret ever having defended him.
I’ve written around 500 columns for The Federalist and several for other and sundry outlets, including the defunct Weekly Standard. I’ve gotten some things right, and some wrong. Once I ran a glowing screed about Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director, and he was fired later that day.
I also predicted Beto O’Rourke would do well and Mayor Pete was hopeless. But one column now stands out as my worst. In 2017, I defended Bill Kristol in these pages, as a man the right still needs. Oof. I have never spilled, and I mean spilled, ink I regret more. Let me start with what my thinking was at the time and then explain why it has turned out to be abject nonsense.
At the time — specifically March 1, 2017, just days into the Trump presidency — I wrote this: “Kristol’s acerbic attacks on Trump provide space for the more modest criticism the rest of us offer. Rest assured, without the target Kristol provides, those more constrained attacks on Trump would be squarely in Trump’s crosshairs.”
I still think that’s true, but in the last three years much has changed, and these changes are something Kristol and his faux-conservative ilk have roundly refused to recognize. It took me about a year to realize the sky wasn’t falling. That conservatives were getting once unimaginable wins like an embassy in Jerusalem and a rat-a-tat-tat of impossibly good judges. Kristol has roundly refused to judge any of this as worthwhile. read more