New NYT Columnist Lives Up to (Bad) Expectations


How many ways can Bill Kristol make Arthur Sulzberger want to crawl in a hole and die quietly? We’re up to at least three as of today. When word broke that the New York Times had hired the neoconservative pundit and editor of the Weekly Standard for a year-long stint as an op-ed columnist, nearly everyone who isn’t a partisan hack for a tragically bungled war thought he’ll just use the space to be, well, a partisan hack for a tragically bungled war.

Then this morning, when his first column hit the stands, reason number two reared its ugly head: Kristol can’t write, as Atlantic writer and blogger James Fallows was the first to notice. “I am saying nothing about the content here,” Fallows wrote. “I am talking instead about the breathtaking banality of expression.”

But let a few hours pass, and up pops reason number three: he can’t get his facts straight! Kristol wrote this morning, “as the conservative writer Michelle Malkin put it, ‘For the work-hard-to-get-ahead strivers who represent the heart and soul of the GOP…” But as the aforementioned Malkin bemusedly noted on her blog, she never wrote anything of the sort. Kristol confused her with conservative radio host Michael Medved.

Any takers on reason number four? Will Kristol call Barack Obama a Muslim apostate, as Daniel Pipes has been doing lately? Dedicate the next four columns to how conservatives like him can’t get slots on the Times’s op-ed page? The reader with the first correct answer wins a free prediction that the U.S. will achieve a historic victory in Iraq.

P.S.: for more fun-filled moments with Mr. Kristol, you can’t go wrong with George Packer’s imaginary diary. Scroll down to the December 17 entry and feel the love.