I thought Fred Barnes

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I thought Fred Barnes had left behind the paraphernalia of sixties-ism back in his early days at The New Republic. So just what has he been smoking? Did he pick up a good stash when he was in Prague trying to track down those dubious claims about Mohammad Atta? How else to explain his ridiculous column this morning (“The Complainers“) in the Weekly Standard Online (good site, by the way) on how the Clintonites are the first administration ever to publicly criticize their successors.

His big beef seems to be with Messrs. Berger and Sperling. “[S]o far as I know,” Barnes opines, “officials of the Clinton administration are the first to attack the policies of the next administration in a systematic way that includes public criticism, leaks, and dubious statements.”

Oh please.

Try doing a Nexis search on the name Michael J. Boskin, Bush Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers circa 1993-94. Or perhaps Dan Quayle or Dick Cheney or a dozen other names whacking White House foreign and domestic policy in the early Clinton years. Or many more flacking Whitewater.

But why go so far afield? Fred’s current boss, William Kristol, was the key player and Republican strategist, publicly and privately, involved in undermining and turning back the Clinton health care initiative. And of course Kristol had been Vice-President Dan Quayle’s Chief of Staff. Nothing wrong with that of course. That’s politics. And Kristol’s a master at it. But why the faulty memory?

Fred, this one doesn’t pass the laugh test. Next time Karl pitches you on a story idea, take a deep breath and count to ten. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.

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