Top Quotes from Bill Kristol

The rule of law is crucial to a civilized society – so we should go out of our way to uphold and strengthen it to the extent possible.

Bill Kristol

Since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, conservatives of various sorts, and conservatisms of various stripes, have generally been in the ascendancy. And a good thing, too! Conservatives have been right more often than not – and more often than liberals – about most of the important issues of the day.

Bill Kristol

In any case, decisions on troop levels in the American system of government are not made by any general or set of generals but by the civilian leadership of the war effort.

Bill Kristol

First impressions matter. Most people don’t change their political views radically from the ones they first hold.

Bill Kristol

In many cases, it’s a choice. There are many, many human beings through history – millions and millions and millions – who have been both homosexual at times in their lives and then heterosexual, or vice-versa, or bisexual. How can it be a biological imperative if people can change?

Bill Kristol

Power tends to corrupt – so we should, in both the public and the private spheres, be on guard against, and erect sturdy guardrails against, the corruptions of power.

Bill Kristol

Patriotism is an indispensable weapon in the defense of civilization against barbarism.

Bill Kristol

I’m absolutist on Trump. He shouldn’t be president. We should limit the damage he can do as president. And we should try as hard as we can to prevent him from being renominated or reelected.

Bill Kristol

Immigration policy is a complicated issue. Or perhaps one should say immigration policies are complicated, since we have many different immigration laws and practices which interact in complex ways.

Bill Kristol

I had a great ten years at Fox, but it’s also been fun being a free agent.

Bill Kristol

Bush is no conservative.

Bill Kristol

While a defeat for Obamacare in the Court would be nice, the defeat of President Obama at the polls on November 6 is crucial. If electoral victory is achieved, Obamacare can and will be repealed – and more judges of a constitutionalist persuasion will be appointed by the next president.

Bill Kristol

All defense secretaries in wartime have, needless to say, made misjudgments.

Bill Kristol

Shouldn’t Democrats insist that Sen. Durbin step down as their whip, the number two man in their leadership?

Bill Kristol

I personally – if I were designing the tax code – would have a tax code in which Mitt Romney paid more than 13 percent, given what I know about the kind of investments he made money from.

Bill Kristol

Conservative policies have on the whole worked – insofar as any set of policies can be said to ‘work’ in the real world. Conservatives of the Reagan-Bush-Gingrich-Bush years have a fair amount to be proud of.

Bill Kristol

Lest conservatives be too proud, it’s worth recalling that conservatism’s rise was decisively enabled by liberalism’s weakness.

Bill Kristol

There will be trying times during Obama’s presidency, and liberty will need staunch defenders. Can Obama reshape liberalism to be, as it was under F.D.R., a fighting faith, unapologetically patriotic and strong in the defense of liberty? That would be a service to our country.

Bill Kristol

A woman, like a man, should be treated with human decency, according to the rule of law, and free of the abusive, unjust exercise of power. And you don’t need to have plumbed the depths of the female or male psyche to live in accord with these principles of civilized life and the maxims of a free society.

Bill Kristol

If terror groups are to be defeated, it is national governments that will have to do so. In nations like India, governments will have to call on the patriotism of citizens to fight the terrorists. In a nation like Pakistan, the government will have to be persuaded to deal with those in their midst who are complicit.

Bill Kristol

The average GOP presidential vote in these last five elections was 44.5 percent. In the last three, it was 48.1 percent. Give Romney an extra point for voter disillusionment with Obama, and a half-point for being better financed than his predecessors. It still strikes me as a path to narrow defeat.

Bill Kristol

If cleverness has often been a sign of decadence throughout history, the attempt to be too clever by half is an even more reliable marker of cultural decline.

Bill Kristol

Surely our inaction with respect to Syria is a poor precedent if we’re fighting a war on terror.

Bill Kristol

If the American people really come to a settled belief that Bush lied us into war, his presidency will be over.

Bill Kristol

Many of Bush’s defenders have praised him for keeping the country safe since Sept. 11, 2001. He deserves that praise, and I’m perfectly happy to defend most of his surveillance, interrogation and counterterrorism policies against his critics.

Bill Kristol

Conservatives shouldn’t count on the Supreme Court to do our work for us on Obamacare. The Court may rule as it should, and strike down the mandate. But it may not. And even if it does, the future of health care in America – and for that matter, the future of limited government – depends ultimately on the verdict of the American people.

Bill Kristol

Romney has to convince the American public that they need to do something they’re not usually inclined to do – replace a sitting president with a challenger. And unlike in 1980 and 1992, when the public was persuaded to do just that, the incumbent president has not been weakened by a primary opponent.

Bill Kristol

If Romney explains why where we are with Obama is unacceptable, why whither we are tending is even worse – and why his own alternative path forward is superior – then we trust the American people to make the right choice in November.

Bill Kristol

Republican government presupposes decent and admirable qualities among its citizens – so we should be serious about strengthening character and inculcating virtue.

Bill Kristol

No one can change the definition of what behavior is presidential because that definition fundamentally depends on what our form of government requires, not on what one individual prefers.

Bill Kristol

Self-government is an experiment. It could still fail.

Bill Kristol

I’m choosing not to accept the Trumpification of the GOP as an irreversible fact.

Bill Kristol

Here’s one measure of the man and the scope of his achievement: No serious historian will be able to write about 20th-century America without discussing Bill Buckley. Before Buckley, there was no conservative movement. After Buckley, there was Ronald Reagan.

Bill Kristol

Reagan was the most important American political figure of the latter half of the 20th century. No one was more central to his emergence and success than Bill Buckley.

Bill Kristol

The Republican ticket in 2012 was Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Whatever again you think of them, that’s not a dumbed-down ticket.

Bill Kristol

I don’t think Palin really led to Trump. Was this somehow a bit of a precursor or something? I’m willing to say, ‘Maybe so.’

Bill Kristol

The idea that democracies could be vulnerable to demagogues is not a new notion.

Bill Kristol

American history has always had elements of what we now think of as Trumpism – Joe McCarthy, George Wallace, Father Coughlin. It’s not as if these things haven’t always existed, and they were powerful. The big difference is Trump is president.

Bill Kristol

I think the failures of Republican governance led to a distrust of Republican elites, which is fair enough.

Bill Kristol

I’m trying to uphold what was true about conservatism. I consider myself a Reagan conservative.

Bill Kristol

In terms of the conservative movement, I do think it would be foolish to deny that Trump has exposed certain aspects of that movement as less healthy than I thought or hoped.

Bill Kristol

To the credit of the Republican Party and the conservative movement, people have been expelled or marginalized. Pat Buchanan in the ’90s. Ron Paul, Rand Paul in the first decade of this century. Bill Buckley famously expelled the Birchers in 1964. It’s been a movement that’s tried to maintain its boundaries.

Bill Kristol

I was involved in the ‘reformicon’ effort in 2013-2014, which was explicitly, ‘We can’t just Xerox Reagan.’ In the spirit of Reagan, actually, we could rethink things – maybe we need to think more about job-training programs, earned income tax credit, adjust the tax code.

Bill Kristol

Some discrimination is perfectly reasonable. The discrimination between trying to teach our kids what most of human history has thought was a desirable lifestyle that will contribute to their happiness, and trying to deter them – not to prohibit, and not to punish – but trying to steer them in a direction that will contribute to their happiness.

Bill Kristol