If Kristof’s wishes were horses

IF KRISTOF’S WISHES WERE HORSES…. Kevin frowns upon highlighting items behind the New York Times’ pay wall, but Nick Kristof’s year-end piece, published yesterday, was a sight to behold.

Kristof noticed that President Bush’s legacy “doesn’t look good right now,” and imagined a future obituary that described Bush leaving office “vilified and disgraced.” Kristof proceeded to offer 10 suggestions for the president to pursue in 2007 that might help him “rescue” his legacy.” It’s quite a list.

* Negotiate with Iran and Syria, and “renounce permanent military bases in Iraq.”

* Start working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

* Confront the genocide in Darfur.

* Dump Dick Cheney and get a new VP.

* Expand the government’s efforts to combat AIDS.

* Address climate change.

* Give up on the idea of attacking Iran.

* Give up on privatization and embrace a Clinton-like approach to Social Security reform.

* Address our disgraceful inequities in health care and pursue Carter’s idea of comprehensive coverage for children up to age 5.

* “Steal [policy ideas] from your critics and rivals.”

It’s enough to make me wonder if Kristof has been watching the same president as the rest of us the last six years. As Matt Yglesias put it: “I agree with Nick Kristof — George W. Bush would be a pretty good president if he reversed, um, all of his ideas about public policy and started governing like a liberal Democrat.”

I suspect this isn’t going to happen. Call it a hunch.