The Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol gets a disturbing amount of predictions wrong.
Despite being unironically dubbed “Kristol Ball” by smarmy talkers on Morning Joe, the neoconservative thought leader has a long history of arrogantly and consistently predicting the exact opposite of what happens: from how Barack Obama wouldn’t beat Hillary Clinton in a single 2008 primary; to how the gay rights movement would end in 1993; to how his beloved Iraq War would effectively “isolate” Iran, “cow” Syria, and push Palestine into a negotiating mood.
The list is so endless that it’s now cliché in political journalism to joke how a Kristol forecast means a dire outcome for its subject.
But this week—gasp—he finally got one right.
With Wednesday morning’s departure of Rand Paul from the Republican presidential race, Kristol has been proven correct on his December 2014 prediction that the feisty Kentucky senator would receive fewer primary votes in 2016 than his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, did in 2012.
“I think Rand Paul is totally overrated as a 2016 possibility,” the professional prognosticator told ABC’s This Week five months before the senator announced his candidacy. “The media loves him because he takes a couple of liberal views, publicizes them in an incoherent way, but I predict Rand Paul will get fewer votes than his father got in 2012.”
At the time, that seemed an outlandish prophecy. Rand was at the height of his popularity, having just come off his anti-drone and NSA filibusters, his outreach visits to Ferguson and other minority communities, and a year of leading in preliminary polls. It seemed entirely plausible that the libertarian-leaning senator would garner at least 2,095,796 votes—one more than his more radical father received in his bid four years prior.
But here we are in February 2016, and the younger Paul’s presidential bid ends with a mere 8,481 total votes.
Credit where credit is due: Kristol’s prediction was right.
Of course, that seems less impressive once you notice Kristol also predicted Trump’s polling numbers would “peak” 12 separate times; that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t run; and that Joe Biden and Joe Scarborough would.