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Bill’s Late Father Irving Kristol: ‘My Poor Son Has Got It Wrong Again’

By Ben Armbruster on January 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm

"Bill’s Late Father Irving Kristol: ‘My Poor Son Has Got It Wrong Again’"

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bill-kristolDespite all the failures of the neoconservative movement in foreign policy over the last eight years, Newsweek writes that we are witnessing “the return of the neocons.” However, the article provides little hard evidence that neoconservative foreign policy has actually gained renewed credibility. Neocons simply “agree…that they are not about to go away.” And despite the premise of the piece, the article notes why neoconservatism is, in the words of Newsweek, “alive and well“:

They are effectively insulated from failure,” says Stephen Walt of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, one of the neocons’ most frequent antagonists. “Even if you’ve totally screwed up in office and things you’ve advocated in print have failed, there are no real consequences, either professionally or politically. You go back to AEI and Weekly Standard and continue to agitate or appear on talk shows as if nothing has gone wrong at all.”

One such prominent neocon is Bill Kristol, whom Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart once asked, “Are you ever right?” But it hasn’t just been Kristol’s ideological opposites that have criticized him. According to Newsweek, neocons, other Republicans, and even his own late father have criticized him:

He would rather take an interesting wrong position than a dull correct one,” says a longtime neocon who did not want to be named because the two are friendly. Several people who know Kristol describe his Palin boosterism—his very public campaign to persuade John McCain to put her on the Republican ticket—as a schoolboy-like infatuation, sparked when a Weekly Standard cruise docked in Juneau. [...] “Bill’s a very close friend of mine, but he does an awful lot of things just to get publicity,” says one prominent Republican who also did not want to be named for fear of offending Kristol. [...]

Even his father had his qualms. “My poor son has got it wrong again,” he sometimes lamented to an old family friend.

Even far right-wing hawk and Fox News analyst Ralph Peters took a jab at neoconservatives. “These are men for whom too much came too easily in life, so it was all too easy for them to view our troops as mere tools to implement their visions,” he said, adding that he doesn’t consider himself a neocon. “I served in the military, didn’t go to a prep school, didn’t go to an Ivy League university, and didn’t have a trust fund. And I’m physically fit.”

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