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Posted by on Oct 13, 2008 in Politics | 2 comments

McCain’s Campaign Says Bill Kristol Has Bought Into Obama’s Party Line


There are few political stories we thought we’d truly find surprising during Campaign 2008 — but here is one: in a sign that Republicans may now be forming a circular firing squad, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s camp has accused conservative New York Times columnist Bill Kristol of parroting Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s talking points.

Here’s the item via Think Progress:

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol said John McCain’s campaign has really become “a pathetic campaign.” In his New York Times op-ed this morning, Kristol went further, suggesting that McCain should “fire his campaign” and “start over.” Asked to respond to Kristol’s criticisms, McCain campaign spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer said on Fox News:

And here’s the meat quote from the McCain campaign:

Well, you know Bill is entitled to his perspective. And I used to work for Bill. And I can tell you personally sometimes he’s brilliant and sometimes he’s not. And this is one where it’s the latter category. You know, I think unfortunately he has bought into the Obama campaign’s party line.

Go to the link to watch the video.

Be sure to read TMV columnist Tony Campbell’s post HERE on the Kristol-McCain controversy and what has really happened to the McCain campaign this campaign season.

What’s shocking about this is that the McCain campaign reaction here mirrors how the campaign treats opponents in general. Rather than say Kristol disagrees and leave it at that, the implication is made that Kristol has been duped, is naive or isn’t smart (“…sometimes he’s brilliant and sometimes he’s not..”) enough to resist being brainwashed…all because he’s not on the same page as campaign central.

If anything the McCain campaign should be taking potshots at Kristol because he has often given plain lousy advice to McCain on what should do and McCain sometimes followed it (there are lots of examples but go here, here, here, ESPECIALLY here and here…although some of Kristol’s early on advice was sound, in its broad strokes).

If John McCain had been allowed to be John McCain and not put himself in the hands of Karl Rove and his proteges — or follow some of Kristol’s suggestions — he might be higher in the polls today

But here we have the example again: you can’t just disagree and differ, you must discredit those who oppose you. Why take Kristol’s advice seriously when he has been duped and isn’t smart enough to not buy into Obama’s talking points?

With more and more Goldwater-Reagan conservatives jumping the McCain ship — read Red co-founder Josh Trevino’s MUST READ POST HERE about how he wrote in the name of Louisiana’s governor on his mail in ballot rather than vote for McCain — taking swipes at Bill Kristol may not be the wisest support-building stance, even if Democrats may be cheering…and broadly smiling.

Cartoon by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan writes in a post titled “FIRE ME”:

That’s Kristol’s spin today. Having spent his last column urging McCain to go on the negative attack, he now advises exactly the opposite. That is his prerogative, of course. But an actual journalist would acknowledge that he has changed his mind and take responsibility for his previous advice, given just days ago. Kristol, in all this, is Rovian. It’s never about intellectual honesty or accountability and always about short-term power.

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