Wrong About Everything

Bill Kristol, back at it again today:

It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign.

Yes, because suspending it the last time was such a smashing success.

And let McCain go back to what he’s been good at in the past — running as a cheerful, open and accessible candidate. Palin should follow suit. The two of them are attractive and competent politicians. They’re happy warriors and good campaigners. Set them free.

Yes. It is all the campaign’s fault. McCain andPalin have no say in the tone and direction of the campaign. Like every Kristol column, after reading it you have to wonder what the Times was thinking hiring this guy. I can think of a dozen folks who should have that real estate. Hell, hire Daniel Larison.

BTW- Does this include the Weekly Standard’s own OD (Original DungeonMaster) Michael Goldfarb, on loan from the Weekly Standard to the McCain campaign, who had some of the campaign’s more bizarre and unpresidential rants?

*** Update ***

Nate Silver is right- this is a coordinated roll-out. Silver points to Drudge, then there is Kristol in the NY Times, and the third data point is Halperin at Time, showing that despite glimmers of sanity in the past few months, he can still be counted on as a go-to guy for a tire-swing: “McCain Resets Campaign With New Speech(!).”

This is really going to help McCain fight back that “ERRATIC” narrative.

And now, the Politico joins in:

Three weeks before Election Day, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday is unveiling what his aides call a more forceful new stump speech in which he portrays himself as a scrappy fighter on the comeback trail against an opponent who’s already “measuring the drapes” in the Oval Office.

“The national media has written us off.,” McCain says in excerpts released by the campaign. “Senator Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections, and concede defeat in Iraq. But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.”

Allies are calling this “hitting the ‘reset’ button” on the campaign, with McCain reemerging after a long Sunday strategy session with a feisty tack that uses candor and humor, at a time when his rallies have become known for raucous rage and clumsy attacks.

Good luck with that.






55 replies
  1. 1
    TheFountainHead says:

    There are drug lords all over the world that would happily set fire to their own crops just to learn what it is that gets Billy Kristol so high.

  2. 2
    El Cid says:

    ‘Sure, they laughed at me at the Institute. Called me mad. Mad! Me, the most brilliant man in the entire World! I’ll show you! I’ll show you all!’

  3. 3
    Ted says:

    Hell, hire Daniel Larison.

    I’d be more likely to read that than even Herbert or Rich, and I’m not even a conservative. I really don’t understand how Kristol and Dowd have jobs there at all. Just a waste of paper space.

  4. 4
    DrDave says:

    At least Kristol is consistent, if a complete dope.

    Sure, McCain should drop his whole campaign and remake himself anew, once again, for the last 3 weeks of the campaign. He can become a happy maverick, the Happiest Maverick.

    (If McCain did actually fire everyone and try to remake himself, how many direction changes would THAT make for his campaign?)

    I’m not sure why The Times hired Kristol either. They clearly did feel the need to replace Safire with another prominent conservative voice. (And lest we forget, Safire was wrong almost as often as Kristol is; he was just wrong with more gravitas.) Too bad they couldn’t find a conservative with a bit more intelllectual heft.

  5. 5
    Napoleon says:

    Hell, hire Daniel Larison.

    That is a good idea. He would be better then Brooks also.

    That aside, I have been thinking for several years that people like Kristol are just a symptom of a really deep disease in our society, most glaringly applicable to the media and political elites, and that is that people just are not held accountable any more, and that is particularly clear for anyone holding a conservative or establishment opinion. Micheal O’Hanlon at this point should be working at Wal Mart, and he is just one of 100 examples I could think of.

  6. 6
    RSA says:

    I think that the entire column is pretty funny, but this line stands out:

    At Wednesday night’s debate at Hofstra, McCain might want to volunteer a mild mea culpa about the extent to which the presidential race has degenerated into a shouting match.

    This just puts an amazing amount of distance between McCain and reality. If the presidential race has degenerated into a shouting match, it’s because McCain’s supporters are doing the shouting ("Treason!" and "Kill him!" mainly) and McCain’s handlers are degenerates ("Obama’s a terrorist’s best friend", for example).

    Oh, and what makes Palin a happy warrior?

  7. 7
    John Cole says:

    The best thing about Larison would be watching the freakout when he discusses the Civil War or the merits of monarchy.

  8. 8
    aimai says:

    Look, Kristol isn’t going anywhere until he gets his Nobel Prize in Bullshit.

    aimai

  9. 9
    boonagain says:

    …and then there’s this.

    That oughta turn things around.

  10. 10
    Redhand says:

    Like every Kristol column, after reading it you have to wonder what the Times was thinking hiring this guy.

    More brilliance from Pinch Sulzburger.

  11. 11
    gbear says:

    And let McCain go back to what he’s been good at in the past — running as a cheerful, open and accessible candidate

    Man, I’m glad I had already finished breakfast before I read that line. I would have lost a keyboard. Kristol isn’t a columnist, he’s a fantasy fiction writer.

  12. 12
    El Caballo de Sangre says:

    Right on, JC. You’ve always got to take Larison with a grain of salt…

    And the grain of salt happens to be the fact that LARISON IS 100% COOL WITH TREASON IN DEFENSE OF SLAVERY.

  13. 13
    Ted says:

    The best thing about Larison would be watching the freakout when he discusses the Civil War or the merits of monarchy.

    Oh god, I didn’t know about that. So he’s Mark Noonan with a brain?

  14. 14
    Donna says:

    "running as a cheerful, open and accessible candidate. Palin should follow suit. "

    Oh yeah, like either of them has it in them. Only if they’re winning and can sneer while doing it.

  15. 15
    eastriver says:

    OD: Original Dungeonmaster.

    Thank you. I peed my pajamas. I feel young again.

  16. 16
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Kristol is a fool who surrounds himself with other fools and is read and quoted by even more fools. His fifteen minutes of infamy are up and I can’t wait for him to fade into irrelevance. I would say that his credibility is on par with that of a reporter for the National Enquirer but lately they have been more right that little Billy Boy has ever been.

    On another note, RedState is saying that the two Portlanders who set fire to a McCain sign are NOT representative of the people in the Democratic party. Yes, I said that correctly, RedState said that they are NOT representative of the party. The first thing that crossed my mind was ‘Why are they NOT painting Democrats with the broad brush like they have in the past?’.

    Reading the rest of the article there makes it clear why. I quote:

    None of the people responsible for these outrages and obscenities can be said to be representative of the Democratic Party or of the Obama campaign. Distinctions need to be made.
     
    Too bad they weren’t made when a few rotten apples at McCain rallies were used to tar the entire campaign and the Republican Party as a whole.

    Ahhh, that’s why! It seems that they are being a bit sensitive since the McCain/Palin campaign crowds are a bit bloodthirsty so they are not pushing the sign burning incident as representative of Democrats. I like what one poster said about it in the thread:

    false equivalency
     
    dem_drive_by
    October 13th, 2008 at 1:27 a.m. CDT (link)
     
    I apologize for playing dem troll here but comparing these fringe members to the ones at the McCain and Palin rallies strikes me as slightly disingenuous.
     
    While it should be clear that the majority of McCain supporters do not believe Senator Obama to be a terrorist who should be killed, the ones yelling so were doing it in the presence of the candidate, who chose not to repudiate their actions. Neither Senator Obama nor Senator Biden were there when these men destroyed and defaced GOP property and I like to think that if they had been there they would not have condoned such action, either explicitly or by simply letting it continue, unmolested.
     
    What was shocking to me about the McCain and Palin rallies was that no one seemed to respond at all negatively to these rotten apples.
     
    When you stand by the fringe elements of your party, you run the risk of being painted with the same brush.

    Of course, Moe(by Dickhead) couldn’t let logic stand unmolested and blammed the poster, saying that they were wrong and calling them a coward for not using their real email address. Another poster in the thread blamed the Democratic party for using plants to disrupt the McCain/Palin campaign stops. Funny how nothing is ever the fault of the Republicans, nothing. They are just perfect people.

    Perfect assholes.

    Moe(by Dickhead), you are in a party that is filled with hateful people and I am sure that you feel right  at home with them, don’tcha? :)

  17. 17
    Ash Can says:

    “McCain Resets Campaign With New Speech(!).”

    Yep, this is going to end well.

  18. 18
    NonyNony says:

    Ah. Now I know with 100% certainty that asking for a "do over" for his campaign is probably the single worst thing that McCain could do at this moment.

    It’s nice that the universe has created in Bill Kristol such a near perfect indicator for exactly the wrong thing to do in a given situation. I wish I had the man’s number on speed dial so that I could call him up when faced with a truly difficult decision to find out which one would be the absolute worst thing I could possibly do at that moment.

  19. 19
    matt says:

    Can you really reset your campaign at this juncture? They should have stuck with the celebrity meme, it’s the only thing that actually worked for them.

  20. 20
    El Cid says:

    I think John McCain should remake himself as a cowboy!

    I think Americans want to vote for a guy in a cowboy hat and pistols slung on his side! He could tell stories about how America is like this cattle drive he was on once! Or how he had to save a few kids trapped in an abandoned old mine while fighting off Indians!

  21. 21
    matt says:

    The best thing about Larison would be watching the freakout when he discusses the Civil War or the merits of monarchy.

    Or this morning’s post, where in two paragraphs, he takes on Reagan, Lincoln, and WW2, heh.

    I love me some Larison.

  22. 22
    NonyNony says:

    I think John McCain should remake himself as a cowboy!

    Or perhaps as a ninja! Sure, it would alienate the pirate vote, but how large is the pirate vote in the US anyway? He could show off his wicked throwing stars and get Chuck Norris to speak at all of his rallies.

  23. 23
    SpotWeld says:

    So.. the campaign that got McCain the nomination in the primaries is that campaign he should quit now.

    So, to fashion a campaign to appeal to the GOP primary voters will create a campaign that will be unappealing to undecided / moderate voters?

    What a surprise.

  24. 24
    fuddmain says:

    I hope John has gotten permission from Sarah before he resets the campaign.

  25. 25
    El Cid says:

    McCain reset the campaign? Has he ever even fixed the VCR clock?

  26. 26
    SpotWeld says:

    John McCain, the blinking 12:00 of presiddential canidates.

  27. 27
    Jay C says:

    Allies are calling this “hitting the ‘reset’ button” on the campaign

    "Reset".

    Isn’t that the button that comes up after "Game Over"??

  28. 28
    HRA says:

    I seem to remember Kristol giving advice to Hillary during the primaries and how well that worked out.

  29. 29
    jibeaux says:

    My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them

    Yes, this was the plan all along.
    Why do I remember Giuliani saying something extremely similar (minus the "my friends" (TM)) right before receiving his butt from Ron Paul?

  30. 30
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    Three weeks before Election Day, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday is unveiling what his aides call a more forceful new stump speech in which he portrays himself as a scrappy fighter on the comeback trail against an opponent who’s already “measuring the drapes” in the Oval Office.

    Otherwise known as "preparing for the transition." Sheesh.

  31. 31
    Tom65 says:

    And let McCain go back to what he’s been good at in the past — running as a cheerful, open and accessible candidate. Palin should follow suit. The two of them are attractive and competent politicians. They’re happy warriors and good campaigners. Set them free.

    I know this is Kristol, but where in the fuck did he ever get the idea that Old Man Yells At Clouds is "cheerful"?

  32. 32
    4tehlulz says:

    >>"measuring the drapes”

    OBAMA IS TEH GHEY

  33. 33
    MattF says:

    Reset McCain’s campaign with a ‘feisty’ speech. That’s like… um…

    …Put out a fire with a blowtorch
    …Lose weight by eating lard

    … I give up, this is too easy.

  34. 34
    garyb50 says:

    If Kristol’s eyes were any closer together they’d be inside his nose.

  35. 35
    Charity says:

    @SpotWeld:

    John McCain, the blinking 12:00 of presidential candidates.

    Dear God, I nearly laughed out loud and got caught reading BJ at work. Kudos!

  36. 36
    phil says:

    Nate over at fivethirtyeight.com thinks the Kristol column (along with a Drudge article) is a trial balloon for a complete reboot of the McCain campaign.

  37. 37
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    "We’ve Got Them Just Where We Want Them"

    Elmer: More briefing?
    Daffy: More briefing.

  38. 38
    SamFromUtah says:

    So… a complete start-over. Of course, for that to work, the American public would have to have a memory span of about five minutes.

    Still, that assumption hasn’t let them down in the past, so why the hell not.

  39. 39
    SGEW says:

    My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.

    I give up. Parody is dead.

    You have to wonder what the Times was thinking hiring this guy.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a genius move by the Times board: get the absolute worst possible "conservative" columnist, knowing full well that he’ll turn out to be a laughing stock. In turn, this will further discredit the notion of "conservative intellectualism" (or, rather, Republican "intellectualism"), as more and more people see Kristol for the glaring pile of fraud that he is.

    Meanwhile, the guy who writes "Conscience of a Liberal" wins a Nobel Prize in Economics*. Compare and contrast, dear reader.

  40. 40
    Cassidy says:

    Oh, and what makes Palin a happy warrior?

    The awkward way she holds a rifle, despite her claims of handling them her whole life?

  41. 41
    boonagain says:

    @SpotWeld:

    John McCain, the blinking 12:00 of presiddential canidates.

    win

  42. 42
    SGEW says:

    You’ve always got to take Larison with a grain of salt…

    Larison endorsed Chuck Baldwin for president, even though Baldwin is a theocratic fundamentalist bigot. Bleah. I love reading Larison, but he drives me nuts sometimes.

    Oh, and btw:

    OD: Original Dungeonmaster.

    As a member of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd, I take umbrage at Goldfarb being referred to as an Original Dungeon Master. He is the Anti-DM. The Ghost of Gygax is displeased! I hereby declare that you lose 262 experience points, and take 3 points of damage.

  43. 43
    Sanjuro says:

    Have you ever noticed that when McCain "tries" to use humor in a speech or debate that it usually backfires and he ends up looking incompetent, racist, sexist or just plain stupid ( or any combination of them) ? If he plans to reset his campaign with more candor and humor then by all means he needs to "Surge" ahead with that plan.

  44. 44
    Soylent Green says:

    Allies are calling this “hitting the ‘reset’ button” on the campaign

    That’s what you do when your garbage disposer stops working. And if that doesn’t fix it, you call a plumber.
     
    Maybe they’re bringing in G. Gordon Liddy for some special ops.

  45. 45
    dbrown says:

    The trouble with the idea that the NY Times has Kristol to show that conservative thinking is so stupid is that incredibly valuable ‘information real-estate’ is lost to a useless fart floating in web space. Knowledge is the most valuable and nearly free commodity that exists on the web. Newspapers on the web are often the primary advanced (i.e. longer than eight second sound bite) news source most of us have and for the NYT to waste this space just so we can see how stupid someone is, is pointless. The puppet king Bush whack and the puppet master bloody hands cheney can do that very well, thank you.

    What we need are more brilliant writers given high value web space that many intelligent people visit to learn and expand their minds (like here on balloon juice); the times should maybe use that space for a series of writers drawn from around the world that can inform on a variety of topics (for instance, the numerous people that contribute to 3 Quarks) or if a stupid but still trying to learn conservative with many bad (but different) ideas is needed, they should hire Sullivan.

    As Al Gore could tell Krugman, since facts and truth both have a highly liberal bias, winning the Nobel and being both a liberal and smart is, after all, kinda easy.

    Finally, maybe a perfect storm is forming for Obama or possibly there is someone out there looking out for us and trying to say "Will you stupid fucks finally listen, and stop voting for the asshole repubics!"

  46. 46
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    It must have never occured to McCain that in times like these constancy and consistency count.

    "We’ve got them right where we want them."
    -George Armstrong Custer, June 25th, 1876

  47. 47
    Adam says:

    "Isn’t that the button that comes up after "Game Over"??"

    On my old NES, there were two buttons. If John McCain is hitting the Reset button, I guess Barack Obama must be hitting the Power button.

  48. 48
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    John McCain, the blinking 12:00 of presiddential canidates.

    POTD.

    You owe me a keyboard. The invoice will be in the mail later today.

    If the campaign is like an alarm clock, then hitting the "reset button" may turn out to be hitting the snooze bar instead.

  49. 49
    eyeball says:

    NYT Stock After Kristol named columnist (Jan. 1) : 18

    NYT stock end of business Friday: 13.

  50. 50
    kouji says:

    so strange. it’s HIS campaign. he’s supposed to be running it, not constrained by it.

    if i were american, one of the chief reasons i’d vote for obama would be the way he’s run his campaign. now there’s a campaign where you feel like the candidate’s making the significant decisions. and there’s a campaign someone can be proud of.

  51. 51
    ThymeZone says:

    "My friends, we have them just where we want them."

    McCain gets a soundbite and some attention. And for the umpteenth time, he fails to give any reason to vote for him, any suggestion of why a voter would be wise to spend his precious vote on this man, what might be expected in return.

    Unless you think "Vote for me because I am just starting to win when I am way behind" makes you feel so good that it’s worth your one and only presidential vote for the next four years.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  52. 52
    stickler says:

    I’m completely baffled by the "reboot" concept here. Does it mean McCain fires his campaign advisors? This close to the election? That’s insane on so many levels I don’t know where to start. And who in the hell is just champing at the bit to take over McCain’s campaign? "Hey, that burning bus is headed over that cliff! Can I take a turn at the wheel?"

    The only substitute who’d be willing must be Toonces, the Cat That Could Drive a Car.

  53. 53
    That One - Cain says:

    I’m completely baffled by the "reboot" concept here. Does it mean McCain fires his campaign advisors? This close to the election? That’s insane on so many levels I don’t

    In corporate land, this means moving the pieces around and then calling it something else. Happens all the time at work. What you do is assign a number to each advisor, then create a random number generator and then each number that comes up will your advisor by priority. Then voila! New team, new ideas, and things are set to go!

    Perfect, yeah?

    cain

  54. 54

    […] was so easy for the McCain campaign to reset this morning, they might want to do it again […]

  55. 55
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Speaking of Drudge (sorry, site won’t let me link), I notice right up there in the middle on the front page is a link to a story about Obama getting out the vote in Ohio neighborhoods.

    The story has a Reuters slide show with 589 pictures, and Drudge sorts all the way through 115 of those pictures to find the one he wants to put on the front page with the article. Yep, you guessed it:

    Obama Kissing a White Woman

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