February 18, 2016
My theory about Bill Kristol is that he’s adopted.
“The son of the late conservative intellectual Irving Kristol, Kristol was an academic star before turning to punditry. He served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government before joining the Reagan administration as chief of staff to Education Secretary William Bennett. He later held the same position under Vice President Dan Quayle, wherein he became known as “Quayle’s brain.”
“With Kristol what I love are not so much the big, grand predictions that are always wrong, but the smaller ones that really demonstrate how poor his actual grasp of politics is,” says Alex Pareene, the editor of Gawker, one of Kristol’s regular tormentors. “He is sort of ideologically motivated to make certain ridiculous claims — Iraq will be a huge success, Romney will win — and even his ‘peak Trump’ predictions are based on the fact that he can’t abide the ongoing rejection of his entire ethos by Republican voters. But it’s when he makes claims that are just wrong but not motivated by the advancement of his worldview . . . that we see just how bad he is at his ostensible job.”
Kristol says he sometimes sees the pushback his predictions draw on Twitter or on the Internet. But usually he doesn’t. “I don’t look at the [Twitter] notifications,” he says.” I don’t get Google alerts on it, so I’m a little oblivious.”
The larger question about Kristol is how much it matters that he’s been wrong as often as he has been. Stock-market columnists, weather forecasters and horse-racing touts might never survive so many blown calls. But Kristol hasn’t just survived his errant predictions, he’s thrived.
In addition to editing his magazine over the past two decades, Kristol has been at various times a columnist for the New York Times and The Washington Post, and a longtime commentator on Fox News Channel. He was a 2009 recipient of the $250,000 Bradley Prize, awarded to conservative thinkers. He is currently a regular panelist for ABC News’s “This Week”…