Monday, July 28, 2008

William Kristol's cloudy crystal ball

I will say one thing about William Kristol: he's entertaining. He's a good writer, and, even when I find his ideas absurd or repugnant, he can write about them with a sense of humor. Such he does today, taking us through his own emotional roller coaster of the last few days, as he goes from fear and despair at the prospect of an Obama presidency to the hope that maybe, just maybe, John McCain can pull it out.

It's not just the writing itself that is amusing, of course: I also enjoy him grasping at the thinnest of straws.

What I particularly enjoyed was his attempt at justifying the tiny shred of hope that he has. His argument is obtuse at best, and very much the product of an inside-the-Beltway imagination. He hopes that voters, looking at the prospect of Democrats holding both members of Congress as well as the Presidency, will rebel, and vote for John McCain. It's possible that some voters will be motivated by this logic, but I doubt that it will be enough to help McCain win.

[I]t occurred to me that one man’s “deadlock-proof” Democratic majority is another’s unchecked Democratic majority. Given the unpopularity of the current Democratic Congress, given Americans’ tendency to prefer divided government, given the voters’ repudiations of the Republicans in 2006 and of the Democrats in 1994 — isn’t the prospect of across-the-board, one-party Democratic governance more likely to move votes to McCain than to Obama?
What is deliciously ironic here is that one of the examples he cites, of the voters rejecting Republicans in 2006, is very much still on voters' minds. He has a good point, of course, about the inherent problems of one party controlling all of government. But the best example of that, the failure of Republicans in the first six years of the Bush Administration, is the reason why Obama is ahead. The best possible proof of Kristol's theory is also a thorough repudiation of his ideology.

I almost feel sorry for the man. But not enough to stop enjoying watching him try to squirm his way out of his predicament.

No comments: