William Kristol

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William Kristol
Bill Kristol by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kristol in September 2011.
Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
Vice President Dan Quayle
Preceded by Craig L. Fuller
Succeeded by Roy M. Neel
Personal details
Born (1952-12-23) December 23, 1952 (age 61)
New York, New York
Spouse(s) Susan Scheinberg (m. 1975)
Children 3
Alma mater Harvard University (A.B., 1973; Ph.D., 1979)
Occupation Publisher
Professor
Pundit
Religion Jewish

William Kristol (born December 23, 1952) is an American neoconservative[1] political analyst and commentator. He is the founder and editor of the political magazine The Weekly Standard and a political commentator on several networks.

Kristol is associated with a number of prominent conservative think tanks. He was chairman of the New Citizenship Project from 1997 to 2005. In 1997, he co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) with Robert Kagan. He is a member of the board of trustees for the free-market Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a member of the Policy Advisory Board for the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and a director of the Foreign Policy Initiative. He is also one of the three board members of Keep America Safe, a think tank co-founded by Liz Cheney and Debra Burlingame, and serves on the board of the Emergency Committee for Israel and the Susan B. Anthony List.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Kristol was born on December 23, 1952 in New York City, into a Jewish family. His father, the late Irving Kristol, served as the managing editor of Commentary magazine and has been described as the "godfather of neoconservatism".[3] His mother, Gertrude Himmelfarb, was a scholar of Victorian era literature. He graduated in 1970 from The Collegiate School, a preparatory school for boys.

In 1973, Kristol received an A.B. from Harvard, graduating magna cum laude in three years. In 1976, he worked for Daniel Patrick Moynihan's successful U.S. Senate campaign, serving as deputy issues director during the Democratic primary. Kristol received a Ph.D. in government from Harvard in 1979. During his first year of graduate school, Kristol shared a room with fellow government doctoral candidate Alan Keyes. Kristol was the campaign manager for Keyes' unsuccessful 1988 Maryland Senatorial campaign against Paul Sarbanes.

Since 1975, he has been married to Susan Scheinberg, with whom he has three children.[4] His son-in-law is writer Matthew Continetti.

Career[edit]

After teaching political philosophy and American politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Kristol went to work in government in 1985, serving as chief of staff to Secretary of Education William Bennett during the Reagan administration, and then as Chief of Staff to the Vice President under Dan Quayle in the George H. W. Bush administration. The New Republic dubbed Kristol "Dan Quayle's brain" upon being appointed the Vice President's chief of staff.

He served as chairman of the Project for the Republican Future from 1993 to 1994, and as the director of the Bradley Project at the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee in 1993. In 1993, he rose to fame as he led conservative opposition to the Clinton health care plan.

In 2003, Kristol and Lawrence F. Kaplan wrote, "The War Over Iraq: America's Mission and Saddam's Tyranny", in which the authors analyzed the Bush Doctrine and the history of US-Iraq relations. In the book, Kristol and Kaplan provided support and justifications for war in Iraq.

He also served as a foreign policy advisor for Senator John McCain's presidential campaign.[5]

Kristol is a harsh critic of Texas congressman and presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul-(R) and his supporters; he has been quoted as stating that he "would be happy if Paul were purged from the GOP".

Media commentator[edit]

After the Republican sweep of both houses of Congress in 1994, Kristol established, along with conservative John Podhoretz, the conservative newsmagazine The Weekly Standard. Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Managing Director of News Corp., financed the creation; Kristol is its current editor.

In the 1990s, Kristol was a panelist on the ABC Sunday news program This Week.

Kristol was a columnist for Time in 2007.[6] Several days after Kristol's hiring by The New York Times, Times public editor Clark Hoyt called his hiring "a mistake," due to Kristol's assertion in 2006 that the Times should potentially be prosecuted for having revealed information about the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program.[7] Kristol wrote a weekly opinion column for The New York Times from January 7, 2008[8] to January 26, 2009. His very first column misattributed a quote to Michelle Malkin that was actually made by Michael Medved.

For ten years Kristol was a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday and often contributed to the nightly program Special Report with Bret Baier. In 2013 his contract with Fox News expired and he became a much sought after commentator on several networks.[9] It was announced on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on 2 February 2014 that he is now a contributor for ABC News and to that program.[10]

Political views[edit]

Kristol was key to the defeat of the Clinton health care plan in 1993. In the first of what would become many strategy memos written for Republican policymakers, Kristol said the party should "kill", not amend, President Clinton's health care plan. A later memo used the phrase "There is no health care crisis," which Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole used in his response to Clinton's 1994 State of the Union address.

Kristol was a leading proponent of the Iraq War. In 1998, he joined other foreign policy analysts in sending a letter to President Clinton urging a stronger posture against Iraq. Kristol argued that Saddam Hussein posed a grave threat to the United States and its allies: "The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."[11]

In the 2000 Presidential election, Kristol supported John McCain. Answering a question from a PBS reporter about the Republican primaries, he said, "No. I had nothing against Governor Bush. I was inclined to prefer McCain. The reason I was inclined to prefer McCain was his leadership on foreign policy."[12]

After the Bush administration developed its response to September 11th, 2001, Kristol said, "We've just been present at a very unusual moment, the creation of a new American foreign policy."[12] Kristol ardently supported the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq. In 2003, he and Lawrence Kaplan wrote The War Over Iraq, in which he described reasons for removing Saddam. Kristol rejected comparisons to Vietnam and predicted a "two month war, not an eight year war" during a March 28 CSPAN appearance.[13]

As the military situation in Iraq began to deteriorate in 2004, Kristol argued for an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. In 2004, he wrote an op-ed strongly criticizing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, saying he "breezily dodged responsibility" for planning mistakes made in the Iraq War, including insufficient troop levels.[14] In September 2006, he wrote, with fellow commentator Rich Lowry, "There is no mystery as to what can make the crucial difference in the battle of Baghdad: American troops."[15]

This was one of the early calls for what became the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 four months later. In December 2008, Kristol wrote that the surge was "opposed at the time by the huge majority of foreign policy experts, pundits and pontificators," but that "most of them — and the man most of them are happy won the election, Barack Obama — now acknowledge the surge’s success."[16]

Kristol was one of many conservatives to publicly oppose Bush's second U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers. He said of Miers: "I'm disappointed, depressed, and demoralized. [...] It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy. Miers is undoubtedly a decent and competent person. But her selection will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president."

He was a vocal supporter of the 2006 Lebanon War, stating that the war is "our war too," referring to the United States.

Kristol was an ardent promoter of Sarah Palin, advocating for her selection as the running mate of John McCain in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election months before McCain chose her.[17][18]

In response to Iran's nuclear program, Kristol supports strong sanctions. In June 2006, at the height of the Lebanon War, he suggested, "We might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait?"[19]

In 2010, Kristol criticized the Obama administration and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen for an unserious approach to Iran. He wrote, "The real question is what form of instability would be more dangerous — that caused by this Iranian regime with nuclear weapons, or that caused by attacking this regime's nuclear weapons program. It's time to have a serious debate about the choice between these two kinds of destabilization, instead of just refusing to confront the choice."[20]

In the 2010 affair surrounding the disclosure of U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, Kristol spoke strongly against the organization and suggested using "our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are."[21] In March 2011, he wrote an editorial in the Weekly Standard arguing that the United States' military interventions in Muslim countries (including the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War) should not be classified as "invasions", but rather as "liberations".[22][23] Kristol has also backed President Barack Obama's decision to intervene in the 2011 Libyan civil war and urged fellow conservatives to support the action.[24][25][26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The following sources identify Kristol as a neoconservative:
    *Hirsh, Michael; Dan Ephron (2006-12-04). "The Last Man Standing". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-12-10.  "Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and the punditocracy's best-known neocon..."
    *"Neo-con editor William Kristol calls for RNC Chairman Steele to resign". USA Today. 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2010-08-18.  "William Kristol, the influential neo-conservative founder and editor of The Weekly Standard..."
    *Sparrow, Jeff (2010-08-09). "Manufacturing political reality". ABC Online. Retrieved 2010-08-18.  "...with the influential neoconservative William Kristol declaring..."
    *Giraldi, Philip (2010-07-27). "Who Voted for War With Iran, Mr. Obama?". The American Conservative. Retrieved 2010-08-18.  "The resolution has appeared, not coincidentally, at the same time as major articles by leading neoconservatives Reuel Marc Gerecht and Bill Kristol calling for military action."
    *Fukuyama, Francis (2006-02-19). "After Neoconservatism". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2010-08-18.  "After the fall of the Soviet Union, various neoconservative authors like Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol and Robert Kagan suggested that the United States would use its margin of power to exert a kind of 'benevolent hegemony' over the rest of the world..."
    *Gawenda, Michael (2006-07-24). "Neoconservatives despair over US persistence with diplomacy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2010-08-18.  "Kristol is a leading neoconservative and The Weekly Standard's list of contributing editors is a virtual who's who of the movement's leading thinkers and proselytisers..."
  2. ^ "True North". Susan B. Anthony List. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  3. ^ Goldberg, Jonah (2003-05-20). "The Neoconservative Invention". National Review. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  4. ^ "Gang of Five". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  5. ^ Strobel, William (2008-02-08). "What would President McCain's foreign policy be?". McClatchy Washington Bureau. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  6. ^ Koblin, John (December 18, 2007). "Kristol, Krauthammer Are Out of Time". New York Observer. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  7. ^ Clark Hoyt (2008-01-13). "He May Be Unwelcome, but We’ll Survive". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Kristol, William (December 28, 2007). "The Times Adds an Op-Ed Columnist". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  9. ^ Byers, Dylan (November 1, 2013). "Why Bill Kristol left Fox News". Politico. 
  10. ^ "'This Week' Welcome: Kristol and Navarro". ABC News. 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  11. ^ "Letter to President Clinton on Iraq". Newamericancentury.org. 1998-01-26. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  12. ^ a b "frontline: the war behind closed doors: interviews: william kristol". PBS. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  13. ^ "Monday, January 7 - MSNBC - The Rachel Maddow show". NBC News. 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  14. ^ The Defense Secretary We Have, William Kristol, December 15, 2004
  15. ^ Reinforce Baghdad, William Kristol and Rich Lowry, Washington Post, September 12, 2006
  16. ^ Popularity Isn’t Everything, William Kristol, The New York Times, December 22, 2008
  17. ^ Mayer, Jane (October 27, 2008). "The Insiders: How John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  18. ^ Horton, Scott (October 15, 2008). Salon Radio: Scott Horton (Transcript and link to Audio). Interview with Glenn Greenwald. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  19. ^ Kristol, William (2006-07-24). "It's Our War, Bush should go to Jerusalem--and the U.S. should confront Iran". Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2006-12-14. 
  20. ^ April 19, 2010 12:50 PM (2010-04-19). "Mullen's Myth of Geostrategic Equivalence". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  21. ^ Nov. 30, 2010 8:25 AM (2010-11-30). "Whack WikiLeaks". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  22. ^ William Kristol (March 28, 2011). "The Party of Freedom". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 
  23. ^ Jonathan Chait (March 21, 2011). "Bill Kristol And Neocon Newspeak". The New Republic. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 
  24. ^ William Kristol (April 4, 2011). "Give War a Chance". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  25. ^ William Kristol (March 30, 2011). "Barack H. Reagan". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  26. ^ William Kristol (April 11, 2011). "The Arabs’ Spring—and Ours". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved April 3, 2011. 

Books[edit]

  • Johnson, Haynes and David Broder, David. The System: the American way of politics at the breaking point. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1996.
  • Current Biography Yearbook, 1997.
  • Nina Easton, Gang of Five, Simon & Schuster, 2002.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Craig L. Fuller
Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States
1989–1993
Succeeded by
Roy Neel