Wednesday, June 16, 2004

That Was Then, This Is Now

William Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard seems to have reversed himself in the wake of Reagan's death (and Bush's declining political fortunes, judging by this excerpt from LiberalOasis :

KRISTOL: I think [Ronald Reagan] could have an impact if the Bush campaign has the nerve to make it have an impact.

John Kerry said at the 1988 Democratic convention, speaking on behalf of his fellow Massachusetts liberal Democrat Michael Dukakis,…that the Reagan presidency was a period of "moral darkness".

Now…no one wants to politicize the death of a recent president.

But you know what? The Bush campaign should.

And they should, in my view, they should go up with an ad next week…a very respectful ad about President Reagan and say:

"We have a disagreement. George W. Bush was a Reaganite. John Kerry thought that the Reagan presidency was a period of 'moral darkness'."

And here's Kristol on the 10/30/02 edition of Fox News' On The Record With Greta Van Susteren, debating The Nation's David Corn:

KRISTOL: Look, Paul Wellstone was a very political guy, and I suspect he would have liked his own memorial service, if I can put it that way.

And the fact it was a little over the top, and some of us maybe found it a little distasteful and a little too partisan.

Paul Wellstone was a tough, partisan politician, a man of the left, a proud man of the left.

There's a big tradition on the left of turning funeral services into political rallies.

If you go back and look at the early days of the, you know, Socialist Party here, and of course, abroad, as well…

…It was a somewhat -- I mean, I say this in a nice way, I think, but it was a -- it was a Wellstone-like memorial service.

CORN: But you know…if anything had happened to Jesse Helms in the last week, there'd be a service in North Carolina.

And people would be calling for Elizabeth Dole, who's running for his seat, to carry forward the Jesse Helms legacy.

There was nothing surprising about that service.

KRISTOL: No, no, no! Wait, wait!…When Rick Kahn said, "We can redeem the sacrifice of Paul Wellstone's life if you help win this election with Walter Mondale," that's a little crazy.

I mean, you can't redeem the sacrifice of Paul Wellstone's life by electing Walter Mondale.

So there's a kind of…politicization of things like death, which is a little weird.

For the left, the personal is political. And I think you did see that in this memorial service.


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