Last night Bill Kristol appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. (You can view it here.) Finally--since Kristol always cowers behind a desk while smirking and commenting for Fox News--a television audience could catch a revealing glimpse into Kristol's stand-up stature: the 5'7" Stewart clearly lorded over Kristol by a couple of inches. Once again Kristol's jokey yet zealously creepy endorsements for war (invading Iran, he off-handedly averred, wouldn't be a "bad idea") would naturally prompt most inquisitive viewers to speculate ad hominem about this strange excuse for a human being: How could someone love war so much? Kristol characteristically espouses war not just as a regrettably necessary matter of self-defense and national security, a killing option of the last resort, but rather as his frequently preferred strategic policy tool. Armchair analysts would surely submit that Kristol's emotionally damaged psyche indicates arrested Oedipalism combined with Napoleonic little-man complexities fostered along intellectually by crypto-Straussian homoerotic male-bonding rituals for compensatory manliness. Myself, I just can't fathom what might fully explain his singular brand of chickenhawk weirdness. All I can say is that last night he once again earned his self-appointed title as our National Neo-con Coxswain for war (or War Cox, for short).
Last night's appearance was curious because it was clearly part of a coordinated PR strategy for extending our entrenched presence in Iraq well beyond Gen. Petraeus's September report card. Kristol, back from his own eight day "tour" of Iraq, assured us that the surge is going well, that morale is "high" among the troops because the plan is "succeeding." "No one doubts," he claimed, that "things are getting better" in Iraq, and even war "skeptics" such as O'Hanlon and Pollack have been won over (Stewart rightly resisted that Pollack was ever a war critic). Anyway, the full court pre-Petraeus press is on. That the Weekly Standard editor would choose a Comedy Central venue is telling. My question is, did Kristol contact the Daily Show to request this appearance, or did the Daily Show folks contact Kristol so that he could freely spew his fresh-from-Baghdad observations? My guess is the former. Either way, why give this discredited bozo any more airtime? His appearances are neither funny nor entertaining nor informative. His track record for strategic recommendations has been, again and again and again, monstrously wrong and utterly disastrous. And now he wants to charm himself back into national rehabilitation? In granting him some valuable pre-September face time, the Daily Show has become complicit in broadcasting Kristol's rationalizations, insinuations, and provocations for continuing our occupation in Iraq. Jon Stewart could have at least called him some nasty names, but deferred. Some persons at this juncture in our country's history, however, no longer deserve politely bemused civility, and certainly not serious respect.
Television producers: before booking Kristol again, make sure he first tries out his stand-up shtick on the Veterans Hospital circuit. Let him kill there.