KRISTOL ON CLINTON’S ‘LEGACY’…. It’s hard to imagine that Bill Kristol, as far gone as he is, actually believes this:

…Clinton was too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief in 1992. […]

Clinton didn’t, as he now claims, lead us “to a new era of peace.” He inherited a hard-won peace, failed to lead, and part of his legacy is 9/11.

It’s hard to know where to start with such a breathtakingly backwards perspective. Clinton “failed to lead”? He won two foreign wars.

The attacks of Sept. 11, which took place several months after Clinton left office, are part of Clinton’s legacy? I don’t think so.

Condoleezza Rice, writing for the Bush campaign in the January/February [2000] issue of Foreign Affairs said a lack of prioritization was a problem with the Clinton administration’s foreign policy and that “a Republican administration should refocus the country on key priorities: building a military ready to ensure American power, coping with rogue regimes, and managing Beijing and Moscow.”

In other words, Bush came into office determined to reduce the level of attention given to al-Qaeda. And boy did they! Richard Clarke’s strategy for stepped-up efforts against al-Qaeda, developed in the waning days of the Clinton administration, was put on the back burner in favor of this approach: “The book’s opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush’s Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president’s attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled ‘Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.’ Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: ‘All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.’”

I’d just add that the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush’s national security adviser was scheduled to outline the administration’s national security policy, outlining “the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday.” The crux of the speech was about missile-defense, and made no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups.

This is no doubt a devastating part of one president’s legacy, but I’ll give Kristol a hint: it’s not Clinton’s.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.