A lot of right-leaning Democrats LURVE Bill Kristol. Whenever they're asked to name some fundamentally freaked-out right-wing nut sandwich that they agree with (agreeing with a few fundamentally freaked-out right-wing nut sandwiches is how right-leaning Democrats maintain "credibility" with their corporate constituencies) most Blue Dogs will come up with Bill Kristol.
Let me say at the outset that I am not in this group. I don't like Bill Kristol on any kind of human level. However, I have to say, the man is a brilliant political tactician and media man. He has an image that the left desperately needs someone to cultivate - radical policy positions, moderate image. What we get on the left is the opposite: guys like Howard Dean (whom I like), who has moderate polcy positions and a radical image.
In any case, I have to give Kristol tactical credit for being the only right-winger I've seen so far try out The Ape Man Defense on the domestic spying issue. Think Progress brings us the story of Kristol on Fox saying how we should all be thankful that President Bush had the moxie to authorize a domestic spying program.
This is a great defense. Not because it makes sense; in fact precisely because it doesn't. Since this is such a black-and-white issue (the president broke the law, full stop) the best hope for the right wing is to use their considerable media empire to advance the argument that Bush broke the law because he had to do so in order to save Americans. Of course this is idiotic - the President controlled both houses of Congress and could have easily had the law changed. It's the political equivalent of pushing all-in with a pair of fours. But the White House has lived for the last five years on the principle that if it pushes all the chips into the middle at the right moment, the Democrats will fold, no matter what hand either side holds.
The Republicans have made the decision to stand and fight on an issue that is, on the merits, a total loser, to the point of threatening to undermine the legitimacy and political solvency of the entire Republican party.
If recent history holds, the Democrats will back down. If that happens, I think I speak for a lot of the party's hated "activists" when I say that will be the final straw. I am as committed to major-party politics as any political radical can possibly be, and I will say unequivocally that if the Democrats allow the GOP to get away with illegal, warrantless NSA investigations of American citizens, I will never vote for another Democrat as long as I draw breath.