I think a few people misread my point in this piece about Phil Anschutz as me being hostile to Bill Kristol. It was not my intention to bag on Bill, though we disagree at times on the Trump Administration. The point was that press reports seem to be consistent that Anschutz has issues with Kristol and I think it might have been advisable to more fully separate Kristol from the Standard so Anschutz didn't take out his frustrations with him on the Standard.
All that said, I do see a number of people, including friends of mine, ready to dance on Bill Kristol's grave and, with my apologies and no disrespect intended to my friends, I think tremendously of Bill Kristol even though we might at times disagree and occasionally disagree sharply. Bill and I have often not seen eye to eye on the Trump Administration, even if we often largely agree about the man himself.
Bill Kristol has been vastly more influential in shaping public policy in America than pretty much anyone rooting against him. The fact that Kristol lives rent free in so many people's heads, causing them fits and convulsions, is also to his credit. There are few people able to get under other people's skin as deeply as Kristol has. He has done so through force of word and idea. He has also done so while being a far kinder and generous person than many of those who assail him and has far better character than the man they all cheer.
I don't want this to sound like an obituary and continue to believe Phil Anschutz would be making a ridiculous mistake in shuttering the Standard, but I want to make sure the record is clear here. I'm rooting for both Bill Kristol and the Standard. They have been and deserve to remain influential intellectual voices in the United States. The grievances that others nurse against them speak vastly more about the character of those who would assail them and the inability to ignore Kristol and the Standard but instead feel the need to cheer on their demise is a reminder how lacking in grace some are.
If Phil Anschutz intends to be the grim reaper for one of the most important intellectual publications on the right, I hope and pray the team that made the Weekly Standard is able to land elsewhere and pick back up the banner quickly. It is not the name of the publication that matters, but the ideas and individuals who steered that ship.
As for Anschutz himself, I have never met the man, but he has unquestionably been a force for good. And that is what would make carving up the Standard for parts and mailing lists such a sad part of his biography. He has something very valuable in this publication and, just given what we've seen this past week from the Mueller investigation, you'd think he would want to preserve and promote the publication steering clear of the icebergs and maintaining intellectual integrity through these somewhat uncharted waters. I am excited for his new publication. I think there is room for another. I think the magazines will compliment each other. But the rise of the one need not mean the demise of the other. I hope he reconsiders.