Tags: Kristol | Obama | Brawner | leadership

Kristol Dishes on Current Issues

By    |   Tuesday, 19 August 2014 07:41 AM

William Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, is one of the handful of leading theorists of what is left of conservative Republicanism. When he was adviser to Vice President Dan Quayle, this writer thought he might be the one who could figure out how to keep the conservative movement from getting totally lost. This turned out to be an overly optimistic idea, but Kristol is always entertaining and erudite.

On Aug. 6 Kristol was a guest on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to talk about the state of the GOP and other matters with host Greta Wodele Brawner.

Brawner began by asking how the GOP should respond to President Obama's threat to act alone on immigration now that Congress has adjourned without taking action. He agreed with The Washington Post, which is normally on Obama's side, that this is a radical, unprecedented, illegitimate abuse of presidential power to suddenly give work permits to 4 million or 5 million people. He pointed out that the Republican House passed two bills, and he suggested this would bolster the Republicans' case in the upcoming campaign for control of the Senate.

Kristol looked forward to a healthy debate on immigration and added his assessment that Obama has a "weak hand" in dealing with the current border crisis. Kristol had criticized the initial House draft, and he said, "The leadership was all upset with me." He blamed both parties for acting on a bill that was drafted by the leadership and only vetted for two days, and he pointed to this bypassing of the committee process as a contributor to "disgust with Washington." He recalled that Republicans ran against this procedure in 2010 after it was employed by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

In further remarks, Kristol called the Obama administration weak and said that given the baggage the Bush administration accumulated, there was room for improvement. Kristol supported Obama intervening in Libya, but then Obama dropped it when it no longer interested him. In Syria, Obama drew a "line in the sand" that proved ineffectual. Kristol agreed with callers' complaints that allies have been weak, but he insisted that while the allies are difficult, the United States can't run the world alone, and it needs to try to work with the allies.

When Brawner asked Kristol about his views on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Kristol said he thinks Boehner is worthy of support and will probably continue to be leader in the next Congress, but over the longer run he foresees a generational shift to younger leadership.

Highlights of the segment occurred near the end when Brawner invited Kristol to comment on Secretary of State John Kerry's diplomacy as praised by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius and on an endorsement by Jimmy Carter of Hamas as a legitimate entity.

Kristol blasted Kerry for talking to all the wrong people in inappropriate places and making it more difficult for both Israel and Egypt to pursue a ceasefire, but he quipped that the situation improved once Kerry was seen tooling around on vacation.

As for Carter, he pointed out that even countries that are not particularly supportive of Israel consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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William Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, is one of the handful of leading theorists of what is left of conservative Republicanism.
Kristol, Obama, Brawner, leadership
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 07:41 AM
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