MONDAY MORNINGS JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT GRIMMER.

The New York Times leaves a flaming bag of poo on America's doorstep, in the form of Bill Kristol's first regular column.

But gratitude for sparing us a third Clinton term only goes so far. Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term? After all, for all his ability and charm, Barack Obama is still a liberal Democrat. Some of us would much prefer a non-liberal and non-Democratic administration. We don’t want to increase the scope of the nanny state, we don’t want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and we really don’t want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Iraq.

As Ezra points out, the analysis in the column, such as it is, is utterly uninteresting. But, of course, Kristol is not an analyst, he's a propagandist, and I'll say this for him: He knows how to ladle it. This paragraph spoons like a thick reduction of right-wing talking points, a demi-glace of conservative bushwa, as if Kristol sensed that his tenure will be short (it's already been far too long) and thus wanted to kick things off with his most impressive sauce. We have the requisite complaint about "the nanny state" (except, of course, when the state nannies the media barons who fund Kristol's magazine, and all his rich friends); praise for unitary-executive backing justices Alito and Roberts (who also support said nannying in the name of "freedom"); and, finally, the implicit suggestion that, if a Democrat is elected, the terrorists will win in Iraq. I have to ask: Given that Kristol's record of error seems to be matched only by his ubiquity, is it really necessary for the Times to provide yet another concession for this stuff?

Oh yeah, it gets worse: Kristol also approvingly quotes America's most strident advocate for profiling and internment of Arab-Americans, Michelle Malkin, thus lending some mainstream legitimacy to one of the right's most reprehensible, bottom-feeding hatemongers. In this, Kristol is performing one of the classic functions of the erudite conservative pundit, as perfected by William F. Buckley, acting as a transmitter for ideas and characters that most decent Americans find objectionable, putting clean clothes and a decent vocabulary on the obsessive bigotry and intolerance which lies at the heart of American conservatism. Unlike Buckley, however, Kristol can now do this from the op-ed pages of America's foremost newspaper. Sweet.

--Matthew Duss

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