Remembering 2007: the Day I Didn’t Punch Bill Kristol in the Throat

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by shep

I am not a violent man.

Yes, I’ve fought for sport - light contact only (sort of). And I like football (the American kind) as long as no one is seriously hurt.

And I think that strictly measured violence is sometimes justified if necessary to protect the weak or defenseless. For example, I thought that the Clinton Administration’s campaign to stop the Serbs’ genocide was justified even though possible war crimes were committed.

But violence out of any base emotion (greed, pride, anger, envy, etc.), with the possible exception of pure fear, disgusts me and demonstrates a throwback mentality in any post-19th Century human being. So my wife was quite surprised when I told her that I had started having these invading thoughts about accidentally running into Bill Kristol and, without hesitation, punching his lights out.

Now most people haven’t much of a clue the role Kristol has played as an agitator and cheerleader for the most reckless and traitorous policies of the Bush Administration, they just know him as the smug, arrogant and consistently wrong bloviator employed by “news organizations” such as Fox and Time Magazine and now, The New York Times. As smintheus put it:

” You would be hard pressed to find another private citizen who has had a more pernicious influence on American foreign policy than William Kristol.”

So that’s how I justified these uncharacteristic flights of violent fantasy, as a sense of implementing some rough justice. The plot thickened when I read Digby’s suggestion to attend this at just about the time my wife was going to be in DC on business. I was honestly curious to see the-nothing-conservative-about-him Kristol defend the conservative movement he had just helped manage to destroy.

So I signed up, got to town, went down to the Press Club, got my pass, staked out my seat and stepped up to the buffet table. Where, what to my wondering eyes appeared right in front of me on the other side of the ham salad but Mr. Bill Kristol. As he stood there, engaging in obviously uncomfortable small talk with the guy next to me, our eyes met and for one second I thought of reaching for the knot of his necktie and clearing the table with his smarmy, pasty face.

Just as quickly, I felt a wave of disgust and pity wash over me and it was over. I got my lunch, wrote my question (something like” “if the conservative movement was valid enough to win in the marketplace of ideas, why did it have to create conservative-only, billionaire funded think tanks and alternative “news” outlets to sell its case?”) and watched Robert Kuttner make mincemeat out of Bill Kristol. As it turned out, that and the crowd reactions were more than satisfying (and since it was free, a lot less expensive that a battery charge and civil suit).

Postscript: on my way out we held the elevator as (debate moderator) Karen Tumulty jogged in and joked that she was just happy that no one had thrown any food. I pointed out that ham salad makes a lousy projectile and we all chuckled a bit at the imagery.

Here’s to a (more) peaceful New Year.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]


Ara Rubyan Author Profile Page said:

Great story. What was it that Kuttner said...?

P.S. Happy New Year to you too. And thanks for your contributions, old friend.

shep Author Profile Page said:

Kuttner defended the proposition that conservatism had been proved a failure (Iraq and deteriorating international relations, corporatism and the byproducts of deregulation, American economic decline, etc.) as a governing philosophy. Kristol had to argue that it hadn't. He never had a chance.

Not at all. Thanks for the soapbox.

shep Author Profile Page said:

BTW, in answer to my original curiosity with Kristol defending “conservatism,” he didn’t. He defended neoconservatism, corporatism, religion in government, etc. (mostly citing the 20-year-old Reagan Administration while Kuttner hung Bush II around his neck). In other words, he defended the totally non-conservative, multi-headed Republican movement monster he helped create. Limited-government, Ron Paul style conservatism is now the beast that shall not be named, proving once and for all that Republicans stand for nothing at all except Republicanism.

Ara Rubyan Author Profile Page said:

In a two party system, that's enough to sink em all ... if Dems would just say it once in a while. In other words, forget neoconservatism, forget conservatism, forget compassionate conservatism, forget it all -- it's just Republican nonsense. And when it comes time to vote, if they have an R after their name, I say vote for the other guy.

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