Jason Zengerle has a brief history of Bill Kristol’s pseudo-intellectual service to the Republican party:
As the son of one of modern conservatism’s most prominent intellectuals, Irving Kristol, it’s possible he felt a career as a straight political operative—coordinating media buys, instructing field directors, and subsisting on a diet of jelly donuts in a campaign war room—was beneath him. Thanks to his think tankery, plus his editorship of The Weekly Standard—a conservative magazine that, unlike its counterpart National Review, is more partisan than ideological—Bill Kristol has been able to cultivate a professorial air. This has helped him secure platforms not just on Fox News, where he’s a paid contributor, but in more rarefied settings, too: Kristol is one of the few political hacks who’s been invited to serve as a lecturer in public policy at Harvard and to pen a column for The New York Times. His intellectual pretenses have served him well.
Zengerle, however, omits one of the latest of these partisan idiocies: the Emergency Committee for Israel. or the ECI. The ECI has shown itself to be partisan rather than ideological in supporting Republicans over demonstrated friends of Israel. The ECI was invented for the sole reason of using Israel as a level from which Democrats could be ejected from Congress. Did it work? Hard to say until Nate Silver finds the time to sort out the data. For example, the ECI obsessed over Toomey v. Sestak in PA. Toomey did beat Sestak, but voters there bought Toomey’s line about the economy. You don’t hear the average voter expressing worry over Sestak’s support and rejection of support from J-Street, the ECI’s enemy.
Then again, call me in 7 years and let’s see if anyone can even remember the existence of the ECI, or any of these ephemeral “think”-tanks from the pen of Bill Kristol.