Kristol the Clown

KRISTOL THE CLOWN…. In dealing with the BP oil spill disaster, NBC’s Matt Lauer suggested to President Obama this week that “this is not the time to meet with experts and advisers,” but rather, it’s a time to “kick some butt.”

The president explained, “I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick.”

There’s been a little too much scrutiny of this, most of it focused around the word “ass.” The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol, however, has his own unique take on the remarks. (via Jon Chait)

Guess the criticism of him as a professor and seminar leader has gotten to him. But his pseudo-macho defense of “talking to experts” is itself professorial: He talks to experts so he’ll “know whose ass to kick.” Real men don’t need experts to tell them whose asses to kick.

As Adam Serwer put it, “There’s so much stupid in this sentence you could freebase it.”

As a rule, when chickenhawk neocons start beating their chest and talking about “real men,” it’s time to reach for the Maalox. But Kristol’s nonsense is especially nauseating because it reinforces his most disturbing qualities.

To hear Kristol explain it, “real men” should just “kick ass,” regardless of guidance from those who know what they’re talking about. This is, to be sure, anti-intellectualism taken to a pathetic level, but it also points to a fundamental recklessness that permeates far-right thought.

In Kristol’s vision, one imagines President Obama would head down to the Gulf Coast with a baseball bat, swinging it wildly in a variety of directions, like a blindfolded child aiming for a pinata. Obama could presumably ask someone what direction to swing the bat in, but that would be a sign of weakness — if the president is a “real man,” he’ll just know intuitively who deserves a beating.

Remember, Bill Kristol is one of the most influential voices in Republican politics. When I lament the intellectual bankruptcy of the right in the 21st century, this is what I’m talking about.