election hair of the dog

William Kristol Eyeing Role As Palin PNAC Puppetmaster?

It’s not going to all be like this for the first 100 days. There’ll be a lot of this, sure. But it won’t be everything.

Last week we saw evidence that things weren’t going so well between columnist William Kristol and his employers at the New York Times. The paper seemed to reveal the name of one of Kristol’s sources in the McCain camp, which seemed a little unorthodox, if not simply aggressive. This, of course, led critics of Kristol to speculate that Kristol was going to get fired, which is what they’ve all been dying to have happen since the moment he was brought onboard in the beginning of this year. Since that time, he’s drawn fire for columns that seemed to simply parrot McCain campaign talking points — or, as has been the cast particularly in recent weeks, defend running mate Sarah Palin. While the McCain campaign denied that Kristol pal Randy Scheunemann was fired for leaking info to the columnist, it admitted that his BlackBerry had been confiscated.

Despite the fact that the paper’s liberal-leaning opinion editors must loathe Kristol, and the fact that he has good reason to feel the same way about the paper’s news desk, and the fact that, with no one to feed him McCain/Palin sound bites, he may just have to reinvent the column — there’s no hard evidence that an exit is imminent. Except this tiny thing: Kristol has rewoken the Website of his Project for the New American Century.

Founded in 1997 by Kristol and former Reagan adviser Gary Schmitt, the PNAC also notably has Randy Scheunemann as a director. It’s basically a gaggle of neocons who were obsessed with American hegemony and the invasion of Iraq and disbanded in 2006 because, well, you figure it out. It had strong allies in Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Scooter Libby, all of whose influence is winking out (if it hasn’t, notably, already). So why has this Website suddenly been resurrected? Well, we don’t know. But it stands to reason that if the think tank resumes its work, it would be in an effort to bring back the influence of neoconservative policy at a time when the Democrats in control of Washington are struggling to conquer some nearly insurmountable economic and international obstacles. And everyone knows that William Kristol has thought Sarah Palin is the bright shining hope for the Republican Party ever since he stepped off a cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska, in 2007. So will his interests be aligned? Will the PNAC one day morph into the PAP — Pals of Palin 2012?

PNAC: Palin’s Pentagon in Waiting? [Wonk Room/Think Progress via HuffPo]
Earlier: Attacks Heighten on Sarah Palin From Inside McCain Campaign

William Kristol Eyeing Role As Palin PNAC Puppetmaster?