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Kristol v. Kuttner

6:22 PM, May 3, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The Campaign for America's Furture hosted a debate today between the editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, William Kristol, and Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect--part of a day-long event at the National Press Club called "Failure of Conservatism: The Big Con."

The day's events can be seen here, and included panels such as "How Conservatives Get the World Wrong," "How Conservatives Get Government Wrong," "How Conservatives Fail Economics," etc., etc. There's even a panel this afternoon that asks "Is the Conservative Era Over?"

So anyway, not really much to report. Kristol went into the lion's den and tried to be reasonable, at one point conceding that "the Bush administration isn't the most competent of administrations." Otherwise, I thought he made a pretty persuasive case on the merits.

His opponent wouldn't yield an inch: conservatism has failed horribly, "progressivism" is the only option. The only thing that really made my ears perk up, Kuttner said:

one of the things Bush managed to slither out of was responsibility for 9/11...if he'd been paying attention the plot would have been foiled...instead it became a pretext for permanent emergency.

This brave statement earned Kuttner a nice round of applause. I just wonder, if Clinton had been paying attention, would the USS Cole not have been bombed, or the embassies in Africa, or the first attack on the World Trade Center? Maybe if FDR was paying attention, he might have foiled the attack on Pearl Harbor. The fact that such a lunatic statement was embraced by what I suppose is a mainstream progressive audience...pretty frightening.

You can watch the debate C-SPAN.