Bill Kristol: A Timeline of Faulty Predictions

Bill Kristol says Giuliani will run for president; he also said Hillary would win

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Just after coffee hour on Wednesday afternoon, Bill Kristol said flatly, "Rudy's Running." According to two of Kristol's "reliable sources" the former New York City mayor, ever the wild card in the 2012 GOP primary poker game, will soon announce a run for president. Supplementary predictions included: Giuliani's plan to go all in in New Hampshire, Giuliani's ability to handle America in 2012 like he handled New York City in 1993 and Giuliani actually winning the nomination: "It seems implausible that Rudy Giuliani could win the nomination. But it's an implausible year." As Dan Amira points out on Daily Intel, the general odds of Kristol being right on his predictions is actually fairly slim because Kristol has put together a track record of being terrible at making predictions. Here's an abbreviated timeline:

December 17, 2006 - Bill Kristol predicted that Hillary Clinton would prevail in the Democratic primaries and Barack Obama didn't have a chance. As he said on Fox News:

If [Hillary Clinton] gets a race against John Edwards and Barack Obama, she’s going to be the nominee. Gore is the only threat to her, then. … Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary. I’ll predict that right now.

July 15, 2007 - Kristol penned an op-ed for the Washington Post with the risky headline, "Why Bush Will Be a Winner." There are a number of bad predictions therein, but his skewed vision of the Bush tax cuts and the future of the American economy resonate today:

Bush pushed through the tax cuts of 2001 and especially 2003 by arguing that they would produce growth. His opponents predicted dire consequences. But the president was overwhelmingly right. Even the budget deficit, the most universally criticized consequence of the tax cuts, is coming down and is lower than it was when the 2003 supply-side tax cuts were passed.

Today, there's ample evidence that the tax cuts sent the deficit sky-rocketing. Ezra Klein points to a graph that shows how the cuts will add an amount of debt equal to the entire GDP by 2050 if the cuts go untouched. Another iffy nugget from the column: "The war in Afghanistan has gone reasonably well."

July 15, 2007 - This was a big day for bad Bill Kristol predictions, this time on the situation in Iraq. And a weird twist on Bill Kristol being wrong: he had started off with something that was correct, but then said that he was totally wrong, and now evidence says he was wrong about it being wrong. Kristol told Charlie Rose in 2006, "It is true that we are at risk of a sectarian civil war there, and I’m extremely worried about that. I don’t quarrel about that." But then in 2007, Kristol said on Fox News:

We’re not in a civil war. This is just not true. American troops are attacking al Qaeda. They’re attacking some elements of the Shi’a militias. They’re doing other things, helping with reconciliation. They are not in the middle of a civil war. It’s not true.

November 18, 2008 - Mark Begich defeated Ted Stevens in Alaska's Senate Race. Bill Kirston never thought it could happen. He said on election night:

Ted Stevens, the 40-year incumbent in Alaska, recently convicted of seven counts of something-or-other, hangs on in Alaska. The voters of Alaska are loyal to their man. They don’t believe some D.C. grand jury. (Laughter.) Stevens hangs on, which helps Republicans keep the Democratic margin in the Senate reasonable.

May 26, 2009 - The day that Barack Obama named Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee, Bill Kristol lost another bet. This is what he said a week prior about Obama's decision-making process on Fox News:

I think he has made up his mind, and I think it’s going to be Jennifer Granholm, the governor of Michigan… I think [Obama] wants to say, I’m putting on someone who went to Harvard Law School, clerked at an appellate level, was attorney general of Michigan, has good quotes from Republicans and Democrats about their conduct of that legal office, but who really understands the effect on real-world decisions.

But back to Giuliani. Kristol is not the only one who's speculated that Giuliani will run and certainly won't be the last. Giuliani himself has said that he would be "more likely" to run if Sarah Palin does. He might also be more likely to run if his poll numbers continue to rise. A May 27 poll from CNN put Giuliani ahead of Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and actually the entire GOP field. Time seems like it's running out, but Giuliani doesn't seem to be in any hurry. “I don’t have a timeline. When somebody tells me this is the last day to decide, that will be the timeline,” Giuliani told The Daily Beast. “If the first primary is in February, I know I have to do it by the end of the year. That I know. Will I decide before that? Maybe, maybe. I don’t know yet, really.”

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.