William (Bill) Kristol (born on December 23, 1952) is a political commentator and editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard. He was a prominent supporter of the war against Iraq. He also supports the campaign against Iran. He is the editor of the political magazine The Weekly Standard and the chairman and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which advocates American military dominance worldwide.
Kristol is a political contributor for the FOX News Channel (FNC) and serves as a regular contributor to Special Report with Brit Hume. In December 2007, The New York Times offered Kristol space for a weekly column in its OpEd pages.
Born into a Jewish family in New York City, Kristol graduated in 1970 from The Collegiate School. In 1973 he received a B.A. from Harvard College and in 1979 a Ph.D. in government, also from Harvard.
Project for the Republican Future
Kristol first made his mark as leader of the Project for the Republican Future, a conservative think tank, and rose to fame as a conservative opinionmaker during the battle over the Clinton health care plan. In his first strategy memo circulated among Republican policymakers, Kristol said the party should "kill", not amend or compromise on, the Clinton health care plan. The success of the Clinton proposal, he warned, would “re-legitimize middle-class dependence for ‘security’ on government spending and regulation,” and “revive ... the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests.”
Kristol's memo immediately became important in uniting Republicans behind total opposition to Clinton's reform plan. A later memo advocated the phrase There is no health care crisis, which Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole used in his response to Clinton's 1994 State of the Union address.
After the Republican sweep of both houses of Congress in 1994 Kristol established, along with neoconservative John Podhoretz and with financing from Rupert Murdoch, the neo-conservative periodical The Weekly Standard.
History of warmongery
Kristol was one of the signatories to the January 26, 1998, PNAC letter sent to President Bill Clinton urging him "to seize that opportunity" in his upcoming State of the Union "to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power."
Kristol said in a 14 January 2003, PBS Frontline interview "that the significance of President George W. Bush's State of the Union address in 2002 (the 'axis of evil' speech) is too easily forgotten -- that it was a rare moment, 'the creation of a new American foreign policy' -- and that Bush deserves credit for realizing very quickly after Sept. 11 that his presidency would be judged by how he handled the post-9/11 threat of weapons of mass destruction."
Kristol is co-author with Lawrence F. Kaplan of The War Over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission.
Most recently he has been a vocal supporter of the Israeli attack on Lebanon, stating that the war is "our war too," referring to the United States. He continues to back the Iraq war, and favors a war with Iran.
Neocon Think Tanks
In 1997, he founded, with Robert Kagan, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). He is also a member of the neo-conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute which provides office space to PNAC and from which the Bush administration has borrowed over two dozen members to fill various government offices and panels. Kristol is a patron of the British think tank the Henry Jackson Society, based at Cambridge.
Dragging Bush further right
Kristol has not always fallen in line behind the Bush administration, and has on occasion criticized Bush for not being conservative enough. In 2004, he wrote an op-ed strongly criticizing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He was also the first of many conservatives to publicly oppose Bush's second U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers. He said of Miers: "I'm disappointed, depressed, and demoralized. [...] It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy. Miers is undoubtedly a decent and competent person. But her selection will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president."
Media and Academia
He is currently a visiting professor at Harvard University where he teaches at the Kennedy School of Government. In addition to his role as a political contributor on FOX News, Kristol was for a time a semi-regular guest on the now cancelled World News Tonight on Sky News, appearing live from the US.
Stem cell research
In November 2002, Kristol, as Chairman of the Bioethics Project of the New Citizenship Project, attended the Third Annual Siebel Scholars Conference which addressed stem cell research at Stanford University/Stanford Engineering at Palo Alto, CA. Kristol has written against the form of stem cell research that involves human embryos.
Controversy and criticism
In 2005 Kristol caused controversy by praising President George W. Bush's second inaugural address without disclosing his role as a consultant to the writing of the speech. Kristol praised the speech highly in his role as a regular political contributor during FOX's coverage of the address, as well as in a Weekly Standard article, without disclosing his involvement in the speech either time.
On 2 January 2, 2007, David Corn of The Nation posted a list of Mr. Kristol's pre-Iraq war statements "about the justification for the war, the costs of the war, the planning for the war, and the consequences of the war." All the statements listed have since been shown to be wrong, leading Mr. Corn to conclude that "Kristol displayed little judgment or expertise...In an effectively functioning market of opinion-trading, Kristol's views would be relegated to the bargain basement."
New York Times pundit
On 29 December 2007, the New York Times announced that Kristol would write a regular column fot the NYT Op-ed pages. Howard Friel had this to say about the appointment:
- Just in time for election year, the New York Times announced on December 29 that it had hired William Kristol as an op-ed page columnist, with the first column scheduled to appear on January 7, 2008. The Times’ editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, responding to early critics of the move, said that the Times “is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual—and somehow that’s a bad thing. How intolerant is that?” Since Kristol already has his own magazine (Weekly Standard) and a regular seat among the talking heads on TV (Fox News), it’s hard to identify any public interest served by “giving voice” to him in the Times, and thus rehabilitate a serial advocate of lawless global conduct by the United States.
Given this context, if Andrew Rosenthal were in fact motivated by hiring an unrepresented point of view at the Times, he could have hired someone who opposed the invasion of Iraq—before the invasion was launched—on grounds that it violated the UN Charter and other major sources of international law. At least two officially retired but still-active professors come to mind—Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk. But since it’s the Times that has a “fear of opposing views”—including an apparent fear of the UN Charter—Rosenthal hired Kristol instead, probably to offset the editorial page’s now more aggressive criticism of the Bush administration.
So what is the difference between the Times and William Kristol, who still supports the Iraq invasion? The difference is that the Times “was for it before it was against it.” That’s not much of a difference, given that, once you’re for it, and it happens, it’s too late to be against it.
Jim Lobe commented on the appointment:
- The New York Times’ decision to add Bill Kristol to its stable of weekly columnists seems pretty shocking to me and not only because Kristol, as pointed out by Josh Marshall, has virtually charged the Times with treason. As the main foreign policy muse of David Brooks — call him Kristol-Lite — Kristol was already communicating his views on the Times op-ed page quite effectively, I thought.
Affiliations and connections
- Emergency Committee for Israel
- Foundation for the Defense of Democracies - Member, Board of Advisers
- Henry Jackson Society Project for Democratic Geopolitics
- Project for the New American Century - co-founder
- Weekly Standard - editor
- Foundation for Community and Faith Centered Enterprise - Former Member, Board of Trustees
- John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, Ashland University - Member, Board of Advisers
- American Enterprise Institute- International Advisory Board of the New Atlantic Initiative
- George Mason University - Board of Visitors
- Manhattan Institute - Board of Trustees
- Middle East Forum
- Shalem Foundation - Board of Trustees
- Committee for the Liberation of Iraq - Former Member, Advisory Board
- Ethics and Public Policy Center - Member, Policy Advisory Board
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation - Director of Project on the '90s, 1993-1994
- Project for the Republican Future - Chairman and Founder, 1990-1993
- Madison Center for Educational Affairs - Fellow
- Federalist Society - Contributor to the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy
- American Committee for Peace in Chechnya - Member
External articles / interviews by Bill Kristol
- Articles on Iraq/Middle East, Project for the New American Century.
- With Robert Kagan, "Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy," Foreign Affairs/Council on Foreign Relations, July/August 1996; Reprint by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
- Transcript: "Paradigm Shift," PBS Online NewsHour, 1 August 1996. re welfare entitlements
- With Robert Kagan, "Bombing Iraq Isn't Enough," New York Times (GulfInvestigations.net), 30 January 1998.
- With Robert Kagan, "A 'Great Victory' For Iraq," Washington Post (GulfInvestigations.net), 26 February 1998.
- Major Issues Lecture: William Kristol, Editor and Publisher, The Weekly Standard, Topic: "The Conservative Future," November 10, 1998.
- Transcript: "William Kristol Discusses Missile Defense, Potential VPs and the Turning Tide of the New York Senate Race," CNN's Capitol Gang, 8 July 2000.
- Book Review: "In His Heart, He Knew He Was Right. Barry Goldwater's overwhelming defeat set the stage for the rise of conservatism," New York Times, April 1, 2001.
- "Closing In. A conversation with Lawrence Kaplan and Bill Kristol on Iraq," National Review Online, February 24, 2003. Interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez.
- "William Kristol's Crystal Ball: Smooth, Transparent and Distorting. Terry Gross Interviews William Kristol," StalkingElk.com, April 1, 2003.
- With Robert Kagan, "Do What It Takes in Iraq. The United States must be serious about its 'generational commitment'," The Weekly Standard, 1 September 2003.
- With Robert Kagan, "Iraq One Year Later," The Weekly Standard (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), 22 March 2004.
- "Democracy Now! Interviews Right-Wing Journalists Bill Kristol and John McLaughlin at the DNC," Democracy Now!, 27 July 2004.
- "Kerry vs. Kerry. What does 'the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time' mean?" The Weekly Standard, 2 September 2004.
- With Eric Cohen, Editorial: "Frist's Stem Cell Capitulation," The Weekly Standard, August 8, 2005.
- "Why Bush should go to Tel Aviv - and confront Iran," Financial Times, July 16, 2006.
- "Anti-war, Anti-Israel, Anti-Joe. The New Democrats," The Weekly Standard, August 14, 2006.
- With Rich Lowry, "Reinforce Baghdad," Washington Post, 12 September 2006.
- "Who's Really in Denial? It's not President Bush," The Weekly Standard, October 9, 2006.
- With Robert Kagan, "Bush must call for reinforcements in Iraq," Financial Times, November 12, 2006.
- With Robert Kagan, "A Perfect Failure," The Weekly Standard (FrontPageMag.com), December 4, 2006. re Iraq Study Group
- "There Is a Way Forward in Iraq," TIME Magazine, January 4, 2007.
- "Why Republicans Are Smiling," TIME Magazine, March 2, 2007.
- "Wrong on Timetables. The Democratic Congress doesn't understand what is going on in Iraq," The Weekly Standard, April 2, 2007.
- "The 2008 Formula," TIME Magazine, May 3, 2007.
- "Why Americans Should Feel Happy," TIME Magazine, July 6, 2007.
- "Why Bush Will Be A Winner," Washington Post, July 15, 2007.
- Opinion: "Bush knows his presidency is likely to be a success," Dallas Morning News, July 18, 2007.
- "Keep on Surgin'. Bush is beating them back," The Weekly Standard, July 23, 2007.
- "Bush the Winner," New York Post (FrontPageMag.com), July 26, 2007.
External articles about Bill Kristol
- Know Your Right-Wing Speakers: "William Kristol," CampusProgress.org, January 4, 2007.
- Profile: Bill Kristol, NNDB.com.
- Filmography: William Kristol, IMDb.com.
- Profile: William Kristol and Project for the New American Century, RightWeb.
- Profile: William Kristol, Media Transparency.
- William Kristol, Political Friendster.
- William Kristol in the dKosopedia.
- "William Kristol," BBC News (UK).
- About Us: William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard.
- Profile: William Kristol, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
- Board of Visitors: William Kristol, George Washington University.
- Bio: William Kristol, Goethe-Institut Boston.
- "2007 Fall Briefing with William Kristol," Center of the American Experiment, October 23, 2007.
- William Kristol in the Wikipedia.
Letters by Bill Kristol
- "Letters: William Kristol on Bush's legacy," Dallas Morning News, July 22, 2007.
Statements and testimony by Bill Kristol
- Statement of William Kristol, Chairman, The Bioethics Project of The New Citizenship Project, Washington, D.C., To the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, May 2, 2001.
- Testimony of William Kristol Chairman, Project for the New American Century, on "September 11, 2001 : Attack on America," To the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, February 7, 2002.
- Testimony of William Kristol, Chairman, Project for the New American Century, Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 8, 2003.
- Testimony of William Kristol, Chairman, Project for the New American Century on "The Taiwan Relations Act: The Next Twenty-Five Years," Before the House Committee on International Relations, April 21, 2004.
- "PNAC ring leader William Kristol confronted on 9/11" at University of Texas in Austin "about the current political climate and the 'new order' or 'new world' that emerged after 9/11," YouTube, October 4, 2006.
- "Kristol: Obama Would Have Opposed Lincoln" (on Fox News Sunday), YouTube, July 11, 2007.
- Muriel Kane, "YouTube video: 'Bill Kristol: Pundit. Chickenhawk. Nose-picker'," The Raw Story, August 2, 2007.
- Jim Lobe, "Netanyahu Pounds War Drums", IPS, 8 November 2010
- Dana Milbank, Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes that Run Our Government, Doubleday, 2007, p. 254
- Kristol, William, "It's Our War, Bush should go to Jerusalem -- and the U.S. should confront Iran", Weekly Standard, Volume 011, Issue 42, 24 July 2006, accessed March 17 2009
- "Bill Kristol’s 1993 Memo Calling For GOP To Block Health Care Reform", The Plum Line: Greg Sargent's Blog, accessed March 17 2009
- Weekly Standard, Rightweb profile, accessed 26 May 2009.
- Letter to President William Jefferson Clinton from PNAC, January 26, 1998.
- "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century," Project for the New American Century, September 2000.
- "William Kristol," NPR, 1 April 2003.
- Letter to President George W. Bush from PNAC, 20 September 2001.
- Interview: William Kristol, PBS Frontline, 14 January 2003.
- It's Our War, Bush should go to Jerusalem--and the U.S. should confront Iran Weekly Standard 24 July 2006 WilliamKristol accessdate 2006-12-14
- William Kristol The Defense Secretary We Have Washington Post, Wednesday, December 15, 2004; Page A33, accessed 17 march 2009
- Third Annual Siebel Scholars Conference Addresses Stem Cell Research, Role of State in Regulating Economy, news release, Stanford Engineering, accessed in web archive March 17 2009
- Eric Cohen & William Kristol, "Frist's Stem Cell Capitulation", The Weekly Standard, Volume 010, Issue 44, August 8, 2005, accessed March 17 2009
- Kristol, Krauthammer lauded Bush inauguration speech without disclosing their role as consultants Media Matters for America January 24, 2005 accessdate 2006-12-14
- Kristol Clear at Time The Nation January 1, 2007 accessdate 2007-07-19
- Howard Friel, The New York Times Hires William Kristol, Znet, 4 January 2008.
- Jim Lobe, Kristol Expands His Audience Thanks to New York Times, IPS, 1 January 2008.