Ventriloquism in Print: Sarah Palin as Medium for Bill Kristol?

11/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

William Kristol: I spoke on the phone Sunday with Sarah Palin, who was in Long Beach, Calif., preparing to take off on her next campaign trip.

To an astonishing degree, the neo-con intellectual and New York Times columnist, Bill Kristol, has become--informally--a member of Gov. Sarah Palin's campaign staff. Note his last two columns: "How McCain Wins" on September 29; and "The Wright Stuff" on October 6. And remember that this is the man who was once Vice President Dan Quayle's top adviser.

A week ago, William Kristol had written that there was a chance for McCain to turn a losing campaign around if he would

"liberate his running mate from the former Bush aides brought in to handle her ... McCain picked Sarah Palin in part because she's a talented politician and communicator. He needs to free her to use her political talents and to communicate in her own voice."

In other words, let Palin be Palin. Kristol had been informed that McCain's top aides were being dispatched to "liberate" her "to go on the offensive as a combative conservative."

Describing Barack Obama as a "garden-variety liberal," Kristol noted that he has had "radical associates" in his past. The most famous of these: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

This week, Kristol described an October 5 phone conversation with Gov. Palin in which--without a doubt--he was egging her on to "take the gloves off" and make character attacks upon Barack Obama. After quoting Palin's description of her debate with Sen. Biden as "liberating"--and volunteering to moderate a second vice-presidential debate !--Kristol effectively put words in her mouth in urging her to be more aggressive in helping the American people to understand "who the real Barack Obama is."

"Part of who Obama is, Palin said, has to do with his past associations, such as with the former bomber Bill Ayers." Kristol continued: "She maintained to me that Obama 'hasn't been wholly truthful' about this."

More revealing, Kristol asked: "If Ayers is a legitimate issue, what about Rev. Wright? "-- who had a closer relationship with Obama. "She didn't hesitate," reported Kristol:

'To tell you the truth, Bill, I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that -- with a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn't get up and leave -- to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."

Probably so.

Just what is going on here? It is impossible to know where Kristol begins and Palin ends. The New York Times should liberate this "fifth columnist" from his contract so that he is free to officially join the Palin campaign. In his current role, he demeans the newspaper, and shames himself. Bill Kristol is trying to sedately wave a bloody flag; but he is as guilty as the malleable candidate for the shouts of "terrorist" aimed at Obama.

Let Palin be Kristol?