Okay, this is really far too easy to ridicule, but this Bill Kristol line jumped out at me:
Bush stood with Israel when he had no political incentive to do so and received no political benefit from doing so.
There are ways one could qualify this to make it less ridiculous, but as it stands this statement is entirely inaccurate. Bush, like every President for approximately the last forty years, “stood with Israel” for a number of reasons, not least of which were the many political incentives for him to do so and the reasonable expectation of political benefits to be received (and political risks to be avoided). There are many reasons why evangelicals supported Mr. Bush so overwhelmingly in 2004, and the perception that he was firmly “pro-Israel” was an important one.
For that matter, between the influence of groups such as CUFI, as well as more long-established lobbying groups, and the overwhelming, conventional “pro-Israel” views of most Republican voters, it is arguably the case that Republican politicians today have far more incentive to adopt the most uncompromising form of this position than their counterparts on the other side of the aisle. Leaving aside the virtual unanimity of the conservative commentariat and the last GOP primary field when it came to U.S.-Israel relations. There was absolutely no political risk domestically for Bush in “standing with Israel,” and whatever it cost him internationally was obviously irrelevant to him because adopting that position was so politically advantageous here at home. I assume Mr. Bush believed and still believes that it was also “the right thing to do,” but it never hurts a politician when “the right thing to do” also happens to be the most expedient and rewarding thing to do. Had he pursued a more “even-handed” or neutral course, this might have won him compliments from overseas, but it would have been the far more politically risky move where it mattered here at home.