In Praise of Two Pundits

Lots of commentators have done excellent work during this election cycle, but I want to single out two for special praise. The first is Bill Kristol. Punditry is notoriously a business in which being wrong carries few penalties, but Kristol deserves recognition for being right on some very big issues. He was one of the first to support John McCain as a “national greatness” conservative. Long after just about everyone else gave McCain up for dead, he is now the front-runner for the Presidency. Kristol was also among the first to champion Governor Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential nominee, as in this interview:

Finally, I was part of a small group who had dinner with Kristol last fall, at a time when just about everyone thought Hillary Clinton had the Democratic nomination sewn up, and Barack Obama was just angling for the VP slot. Kristol said: hold on, Obama is in this race to win, and he has a legitimate shot and could well be the Democrats’ nominee. So: Let’s give credit to Bill Kristol for being right, repeatedly, when just about everyone else was wrong.

Next, Juan Williams of Fox News. Juan is a Democrat and a liberal, although there are many areas where we would find common ground. More important, by all accounts he is a good guy. My wife ran into him on the beach in Florida a couple of years ago and confirmed this impression. (If you haven’t noticed, personal qualities go a long way with me. As I’ve said before, the personal is not political.) Williams has participated in Fox News’s coverage of the rise of Barack Obama, and he has been open about how much Obama’s candidacy means to him as an African American. At the same time, he has made a sincere effort to put his own feelings to the side and comment fairly and objectively on the Presidential campaign. He has, at times, been sharp in his criticism of Obama and his campaign. I’ve never seen a better example of a journalist who acknowledges his own perspective while at the same time, trying his hardest to give viewers a fair and objective commentary. I tip my hat to him.

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