Kristol: Wrong on Wright. Twice.

New York Times columnist Bill Kristol gets a Palin interview before any of his colleagues on the, you know, news side of the paper. What a scoopmeister!

Towards the end of the column, after Kristol notes that Palin has recently begun to raise the (non)-issue of Bill Ayres comes this exchange:

I pointed out that Obama surely had a closer connection to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright than to Ayers — and so, I asked, if Ayers is a legitimate issue, what about Reverend Wright?

She didn’t hesitate: “To tell you the truth, Bill, I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that—with, I don’t know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn’t get up and leave—to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up.”

I guess so. And I guess we’ll soon know McCain’s call on whether he wants to bring Wright up — perhaps at his debate with Obama Tuesday night.

Kristol’s happy to see this Ayres ‘n Wright slime coming out of the McCain campaign: he closes by quoting Palin as saying that it’s time for the gloves to come off and giving her a pat on the back: “Hockey Mom knows best.”

What Kristol doesn’t do is mention that Obama wasn’t, as Palin seems to suggest, in the pews on the days that Wright gave his now infamous sermons. This is a matter of fact which Kristol should be intimately familiar with, having been forced to run a correction after repeating the same false accusation in March.

In any case, Palin’s standard—that not walking out of a sermon amounts to a “sense of condoning” its contents—is a dangerous one. But, for the sake of argument, let’s grant it. How, then, would Palin explain the time she watched a priest call for Christians to wrest control of the nation’s financial institution from the “Israelites”? (Later in the same service, Palin stood before the priest with her head bowed as he laid her hand upon her and blessed her against “every form of witchcraft.”)

And how would Kristol—who once accused the three million member of being anti-Semitic due to a unsigned comment on the organization’s website—feel about this information?

Kristol knows best.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.