I like Bill Kristol, always have. I find him smart and reasonable even when I disagree with some of his views. I haven't met him, but formed my opinion by reading his writing and watching his commentary on "This Week" on ABC News years ago. But yesterday's Kristol piece entitled "Why Bush Will Be A Winner," published in The Washington Post's Outlook section, made me wonder if we haven't lost Kristol for good.

Years of defending the Iraq war will wear you down — just ask most Republicans and many, many Democrats. But Kristol has chosen this moment to assert that "despite some confusion engendered by an almost meaningless 'benchmark' report last week — we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome" and that "the odds are finally better than 50-50 that we will prevail." Did you get that? "Confusion" over "almost meaningless" benchmarks set by Bush just months ago that were the very reason for the surge in troops? Now as the Republican wisemen in the Senate begin to doubt that Bush is listening and are hatching Iraq course-changing bills like chickens, now that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has announced his government can take over security and the U.S. can leave, how is Kristol's dismissive tone going to convince wavering Republicans to shore up remaining support for the war?

Kristol is right that we have not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001, and that the economy recovered after the attacks and has thrived ever since. He is also right that there have been a few foreign policy achievements, and as of today it has been certified that North Korea has shut down its nuclear reactor, a significant development indeed. But Kristol claims that Bush's failed domestic initiatives — the reform of our immigration laws and Social Security system — will rise again soon. "I suspect that something similar to what Bush proposed will end up as law over the next several years." Fat chance, Bill, the Democrats are in charge now.

Finally, Kristol also suggests that Bush will capture Osama bin Laden, who is known to be hiding in Waziristan. "These Waziristan havens may well have to be dealt with in the near future. I assume Bush will deal with them, using some combination of air strikes and special operations." Really? Then why hasn't he yet?

Kristol thinks the Bush presidency, already deemed by historians as one of the most troubled ever, "will probably be a successful one." We all hope we prevail in Iraq and capture bin Laden and the Bush presidency succeeds in its final hour. But Bill, these outcomes are not likely, so the correct word is "hopefully," not "probably."


ASK A.B. — Thanks again to David and Gary for sending questions to the first segment of Ask A.B.! Please join me for my weekly Q & A video posts by sending useful, interesting and entertaining questions to askab@thehill.com. We want to talk politics and have a few laughs. Spare us the offensive, unGoogleable, unthinkable or otherwise useless. I look forward to hearing from all of you, often.