Martha Raddatz

Bill Kristol, Failing to Make Sense

ABC News Contributor and Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, ABC News Contributor and The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, ABC News' Cokie Roberts, and The Wall Street Journal Columnist Bret Stephens on 'This Week', 30 November 2014. (ABC News)

Does one ever wonder what, exactly, Bill Kristol gets paid for?

Alana Horowitz of Huffington Post sums up the sound bite:

Conservative pundit Bill Kristol said that Paul is “totally overrated” as a potential 2016 candidate.

“I predict Rand Paul will get fewer votes than his father got in 2012,” he said. “He’s more dovish than President Obama on foreign policy. Republican voters aren’t.”

To the one, here we have a pundit known for some sort of incisive something or other, yet he starts from a pretense of making the most obvious point possible and ends with something entirely irrelevant.

RADDATZ: OK. Rand Paul is targeting younger voters as well. Let’s take a look at our Facebook senti-meter. He is among the most talked about potential GOP candidate in the 18-34 year-old range, second only to Ted Cruz. And take a look at how they view him.

Perry, 61 percent positive; Rand Paul, 57 percent positive; Ted Cruz, 37 percent positive.

What do you think there, Bill Kristol?

KRISTOL: I think Rand Paul is totally overrated as a 2016 possibility. The media loves him. The media loves him because he takes a couple of liberal views, publicizes them in an incoherent way. I predict Rand Paul will get fewer votes than his father got in 2012. He’s as — he’s more dovish than President Obama on foreign policy. Republican voters aren’t.

And on law and order, yes, Republican voters — and I think most Americans — and I think an awful lot of African Americans think whatever injustice might happen in any individual case — and God knows there are cops who make mistakes and do things that they shouldn’t do — maybe not enough to get indicted.

Nonetheless, there’s no excuse for rioting and there’s no excuse for people apologizing for the destruction of property and the endangering of life. Law and order’s not just a political (INAUDIBLE). It really is part of a decent society.

(ABC News)

No, really, just try to follow that wreck. In truth, there is more leading up to the moment than the bite suggests, but nonetheless it is a hopeless pile of words trying to cover way too many things and, ultimately, represents Mr. Kristol at what passes for his usual self, starting with perfectly obvious considerations and descending immediately into incoherence. After all, one would think incompetence would be enough to forestall the Kentucky junior’s pres―

Oh.

Still, though, talk about opportunism. Any opportunity to complain about rioting. Trust us, it reads even worse in its own context.

____________________

Horowitz, Alana. “Bill Kristol: Rand Paul ‘Is Totally Overrated’ For 2016”. The Huffington Post. 30 November 2014.

ABC News. This Week with George Stephanopolous. Transcript. 30 November 2014.

Ptomaine Word Salad

"It'd be a permanent downward economic spiral — like Gaza, basically," Kirk Sowell, a risk analyst and Iraq expert, says. An ISIS mini-state is just not sustainable. (Zack Beauchamp/Vox)

One would expect, then, to die when Daa’ish, (a.k.a. Daesh, ISIS, ISIL, and IS, at the very least) secretly invades the United States across the Mexican border in order to pose as migrant workers and infect our lettuce with ebola.

Oh, right. Reality. Er … ah … sorry.

So, you might have heard some murmuring of late about those bad guys from Iraq and Syria getting caught while crossing the border. It’s … something of a campfire election-season scary story.

Dylan Matthews and Dara Lind call horsepucky for Vox:

One might think that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is primarily of concern for people in and around Iraq and Syria, but some politicians beg to differ. Over the past couple months, a number of House members (and a Senator and governor here or there) have made increasingly specific statements about the perceived danger of ISIS members coming to the US, particularly by way of the Mexican border.

On one end of the spectrum, there are vague hypotheticals like the ones Texas governor and likely 2016 GOP contender Rick Perry has been posing. While noting he had “no clear evidence” this was happening, he expressed an “obvious, great concern that — because of the condition of the border from the standpoint of it not being secure and us not knowing who is penetrating across — that individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be.” Or fellow 2016 possibility Sen. Mario Rubio (R-FL), who when asked by Fox News’ Sean Hannity if ISIS could cross the border, answered, “Sure, potentially.”

Statements like these are basically un-factcheckable, since it’s obviously conceptually possible that people with terrorist affiliations could, at some point, sneak across the border. Some tweets from people claiming to be affiliated with ISIS have threatened attacks within the US, but there’s no indication that the group’s actual leadership is at all interested in that. Perry and Rubio’s statements aren’t outright wrong so much as they give excessive credence to a possibility for which there’s little real evidence.

But others have made statements that are more falsifiable. For those cases, we reached out to the relevant Congressional offices in search of supporting evidence. In most cases, we came up short.

Don’t let that idea of “most cases” scare you. The short answer is no, Daa’ish is not invading the United States, nor crossing the border and getting arrested in twos and fours. Yet within any myth is a grain of truth.

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