One of my favorite segments in Arianna Huffington's new book, Right is Wrong, is timed perfectly to the latest polling news: That George W. Bush has officially been crowned the most unpopular president in modern history, with a disapproval rating over 70%.
So let's return to her take on the now-infamous Bill Kristol op-ed in The Washington Post last July in which he promised that Bush would end up a "winner." Arianna calls it "the single most deceptive story of the entire war." One wonders if it was actually written by Billy Crystal, not Bill Kristol.
Do we need to remind anyone that such prescience, along with much else in that vein, earned Kristol a coveted spot as a regular New York Times columnist? Arianna recognizes this in her heading for this section, which is: "How Wrong Do You Have to Be to Get Kicked Out of the Media?"
She opens her account by mentioning that just before the July 15, 2007, piece appeared, she happened to be sitting a row in front of Kristol on the Acela train from New York to D.C. and heard him consulting with someone who might well have been a White House insider, discussing the president's recent use of the term "precipitous withdrawal" to describe what we would certainly not do in Iraq (even if by precipitous he meant five or six years).
When Kristol's op-ed appeared--with the delicious title "Why Bush Will Be A Winner" - the Post, Arianna writes, "should have put some kind of warning on the piece for pregnant women, heart patients, and anyone with an allergy to bullshit."
Kristol wrote that we were now "on course to a successful outcome" in Iraq. "Political progress" was transpiring and, if anything the White House should make its case "less apologetically."
Meanwhile, "The war in Afghanistan has gone reasonably well," he pointed out. In Pakistan, al-Qaeda "may" still pose a threat but, "I assume Bush will deal with them, using some combination of air strikes and special operations."
I'll save the rest for your own reading. Suffice to say that Kristol closed the piece by saying, "I like the odds" of Bush going out a "winner." I've got out my wallet. Bill, are you a gambling man? I'll even give you odds.
Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. It has been hailed by Bill Moyers, Glenn Greenwald, Ms. Huffington, and others.