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The Progressive

William Kristol, Coronated by the Times

Matthew Rothschild

Does William Kristol really need another platform?

He's the co-founder and editor of the Weekly Standard, which Rupert Murdoch owns.

For years, he's been all over the airwaves, first on ABC's Sunday morning talk show and then on Fox.

And he's been, until recently, a columnist for Time magazine.

So why does the Times want him?

In its December 30 announcement, the Times noted that in the mid-1990s, "Kristol led the Project for the Republican Future." But the Times failed to note another, much more important project that he led: The Project for a New American Century, which did so much to pave the way for Bush's Iraq War.

At the Weekly Standard and through the Project for a New American Century, Kristol kept promoting specious claims about the threat from Iraq. And still today he wants war with Iran.

His role in domestic politics is no better. He was instrumental in torpedoing the Clinton health care plan. In December 1993, he circulated a strategy document among Republicans to kill the Clinton plan because it would strengthen the Democrats' base of support among the middle class. The next month, he urged Republicans to take the stance that "there is no health care crisis."

So why the Times feels any obligation to give someone so disreputable a perch on its paper is beyond me.

And it shows a certain lack of institutional self-respect, as well. "Mr. Kristol, 55, has been a fierce critic of the Times," the paper noted in its announcement. "In 2006, he said that the government should consider prosecuting the Times for disclosing a secret government program to track international banking transactions." He also, the announcement added, said the Times was "irredeemable."

So why has the Times coronated this unscrupulous neocon and enemy of the paper?

It's a bad omen for 2008.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

© 2007 The Progressive

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