Jon Stewart to Bill Kristol: What Do You Actually Believe?


Is Bill Kristol brave or merely crazy for his continued willingness to appear on The Daily Show? Probably a bit of both. Either way he certainly deserves some credit for having a sense of humor. And truth be told he makes for some good TV watching: Palin, Health Care, Cambridge police, oh my! Also, it’s fairly clear that ideology aside, Jon Stewart loves the foil that Kristol so happily provides.

Kristol was last night’s featured guest and has posted the unedited interview – the one that ran last night was nine minutes, this video runs to eleven — something they have been doing more frequently of late (though not for Jonah Goldberg back in early 2008!). Not surprisingly Steward leads with Kristol’s well-documented support of Sarah Palin, whose extended run in the spotlight, which doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, may in a strange way end up proving that Kristol’s instincts were good when he plucked her from Alaskan obscurity back in early 2008.

Says Kristol about this Palin’s resignation:

I think she’s fine…I’m not sure she should be the nominee [homemaker, perhaps? Talk show host?]. She’s not my first choice, obviously….Anyone who drives the liberal media so crazy has something in her favor. And the Republican establishment doesn’t like her either. So that’s two strikes in her favor.

Kristol also says Palin’s inability to complete her entire term is a measure of her ambition. Says Stewart: “She’s like Doogie Howser she completed a Governorship in only 2 1/2 years!” And then Kristol makes an analogy one suspects we will hear more and more frequently should Palin try to make another run for office:

Barack Obama served 2 years in the senate before basically running for President full time in early 2007. He didn’t quit, he kept the job in case he would lose… Obama, Clinton they just camapaigned while holding their offices.

Get ready, we are going to be hearing that line of thinking a lot more…Palin is more responsible than Obama because she quit!

Palin is followed by a lot of talk about health care. Kristol is against everything that Obama is proposing. He is against it in great detail. At one point Stewart is so impressed by Kristol’s passion on the subject he suggests sending Kristol to Washington: “Bill Kristol for Health Care Reform!”

Also, Governor Palin wouldn’t have insulted the Cambridge police. Or apparently pediatricians. And the American public, in Kristol’s eyes, does not deserve the same level of health care the military gets, which by the way, is provided by the government. This last point, which Stewart continues to go back to, may be the clip that makes it to the cablers today: Kristol admitting the Government can provide the best health care, just that it’s too expensive.

Okay. You’ll just have to watch the rest. One more note: Lot’s of chatter lately about Jon Stewart being the new ‘most trusted man in America.’ Whether or not it’s deserved is another debate, however it’s longish interviews like this, with people like Bill Kristol, that go some ways towards that argument — you very rarely get this sort of lengthy, detailed, good humored (dare we say respectful!) conversation, between opposing sides, on network or cable news.

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