Bill Kristol, Oddsmaker

Bill Kristol concludes a longish op-ed explaining why the Bush presidency hasn’t been as bad as you think,

If Petraeus succeeds in Iraq, and a Republican wins in 2008, Bush will be viewed as a successful president.

I like the odds.

Now, I hope both those things happen. But how on earth could a serious observer “like the odds” of them both happening?

Any of the top three Democrats beat any of the top four Republicans in current head-to-head polls. The smart money is on 2008 being yet another close one and it’s quite conceivable that a Republican will in fact win. Only a sucker would take even money on that right now, though.

And the war? Even if we take the rosiest scenarios about how well the Surge is working, there’s a long row to hoe. Petreaeus himself thinks it’ll take years. Even Kristol has to know the public doesn’t have years worth of support left in them. So, at best, we’re likely to wind up with something that we’ll be able to call “success” that falls far short of the goals we set forth going in. That’s hardly likely to result in Huzzahs for Bush.

via Rob Bluey, who appreciates Kristol giving it the old college try.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Iraq War, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Andy says:

    KRiS-One is just nutbags crazy. I mean more crazy than he used to be, perhaps driven to extreme insanity by his hopes and dreams collapsing around him.

    In particular:
    “If Petraeus succeeds in Iraq”

    Pony pony pony.

  2. DC Loser says:

    Why doesn’t Kristol put his money where his mouth is?

  3. Bithead says:

    Look, the press and the left… (a redundancy, there) …have made a career out of underestimating the political abilities of the man, for the last eight years.

    I think the biggest fear that the democrats have right now, his success in Iraq before the election, lest a republican make it to the White House on the heels of that success. I also think that most of the doom and gloom we see coming out of the mainstream media these days, as a manifestation of that fear.

    The idea that the entire flock of democratic candidates is just plain awful, doesn’t hurt Kristol’s prediction, either.

    My friends, lots can happen in the year and a half between now and then.

  4. Bithead,

    I agree that a year and half is a long time and a lot can happen, but there are probabilities that can be applied, and the odds aren’t in Bush’s favor.

    In regards to underestimating Bush–I think you have point anywhere from 1994 to late 2004. Since early 2005, however, I don’t think that that is the case.

    Aside from Roberts and Alito, what exactly has Bush accomplished since he was re-elected? More to the point: where did the left/the press/whomever underestimate him in that period and he overcome the dire predictions?

  5. Anjin-San says:

    Kristol has people talking about him. He has raised his profile. Mission accomplished.

  6. Triumph says:

    But how on earth could a serious observer “like the odds” of them both happening?

    Wait, I thought you were talking about Bill Kristol?!?! He is the furthest thing from a “serious observer” that you can get.

    Choice Kristol nuggets on Iraq:

    9/15/02: “No one believes the inspections can work.”

    9/18/02: An Iraq invasion “could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East.”

    9/19/02: Billy’s analysis of Saddam’s development of nuclear weapons: “He’s past that finish line. He’s past the finish line.”

    11/21/02: “We can remove Saddam because that could start a chain reaction in the Arab world that would be very healthy.”

    2/2/03: Billy predicting the content of Powells’ UN speech on WMDs in Iraq: Powell will “show that there are loaded guns throughout Iraq”

    3/1/03: Billy’s penetrating analysis of domestic Iraqi politics: “We talk here about Shiites and Sunnis as if they’ve never lived together. Most Arab countries have Shiites and Sunnis, and a lot of them live perfectly well together.”

    3/1/03: This one speaks for itself: “Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president.”

    3/5/03: “I think we’ll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq.”

    3/17/03: “But the war itself will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam’s regime.”

    I’d rather go to Atlantic City with Bill Bennett than the great prognosticator, Billy Kristol!

  7. Anderson says:

    Powell will “show that there are loaded guns throughout Iraq”

    Well, that prediction turned out true, once it’s taken literally.

  8. floyd says:

    “”But how on earth could a serious observer “like the odds” of them both happening?””

    How about a “serious” democrat observer??[lol]