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Wrong Again, Bill Kristol

The New York Times’ conservative stalwart William Kristol should receive some kind of award for being wrong with such baffling consistency while still retaining his job. Not only has he been credited (if that’s the right word) with steering John McCain toward picking Sarah Palin and waving his proverbial pompoms for the Iraq invasion, but he has just let fly with another doozy (or 10) in his latest column.

While we’re at it, can we just point out that it’s a little strange to have someone like Kristol continually talk about “media elites” as though he stood apart from that crowd? The proof that he is, in fact, a member of some kind of elite is apparent in his assertion that the public isn’t despairing over the current financial crisis. (And let’s not even start with his claim that “Islamophobia” hasn’t caught on since Sept. 11.) Say it out loud, Bill: “I write for The New York Times.” Now rinse and repeat if desired results not achieved.


William Kristol in The New York Times:

Last week, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released its latest national survey, taken from Oct. 9 to 12. Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country and of course concerned about the economy. But, as Pew summarized, “there is little indication that the nation’s financial crisis has triggered public panic or despair.”

In fact, “There is a broad public consensus regarding the causes of the current problems with financial institutions and markets: 79 percent say people taking on too much debt has contributed a lot to the crisis, while 72 percent say the same about banks making risky loans.”

This seems sensible. Indeed, as Sept. 11 did not result in a much-feared (by intellectuals) wave of popular Islamophobia or xenophobia, so the market crash has resulted in remarkably little popular hysteria or scapegoating.

And considering what has happened, the vulgar public on Main Street has been surprisingly forgiving of those well-educated types on Wall Street — the ones who devised and marketed the sophisticated financial instruments that have brought the financial system to the brink of collapse.

Most of the recent mistakes of American public policy, and most of the contemporary delusions of American public life, haven’t come from an ignorant and excitable public. They’ve been produced by highly educated and sophisticated elites.

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