Hillary ClintonJohn Gress/Reuters

Hillary Clinton, Neocon? The blogosphere is atwitter today with the quote in the Washington Post from Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, that “Hillary Clinton is becoming the responsible Democrat who could become commander in chief in a post-9/11 world.”

Bruce Bartlett, filling in for Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic Online, weighs in: “Now, I think Bill is completely wrong about the war — I’d pull out of Iraq today if it were possible — but he’s a pretty smart political handicapper,” he writes. “So if he’s saying nice things about Hillary it is because he has come to the same conclusion I have about the inevitability of a Democratic victory.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner suspects something more Machiavellian: “He obviously figures his endorsement will kill Hillary 2008, making way for a weaker candidate for the Dems, giving the election to any Republican who just doesn’t screw it all up.”

Back in the real world, Bartlett’s compatriot Matthew Iglesias, sees this as being less about political gamesmanship than ideology: “One can try to speculate that Kristol is playing some odd angles here, but I think the record indicates that he’s genuinely more committed to war — criticized Republican critics of the Kosovo War, criticized Bill Clinton for not killing enough people during the Kosovo War, backed John McCain in the 2000 primaries — and based on the evidence thinks Clinton will be more sympathetic to his agenda than the alternatives.”

Further to the left, however, the approval of the Weekly Standard isn’t considered a mark of distinction. Arthur Silber at Once Upon a Time feels a Democrat will be considered “responsible” only “if you think the United States should still have troops in Iraq at the end of your second term as president, which is to say, at least through the end of 2016 — which is, of course, the view of the entrenched foreign policy establishment that believes in a foreign policy of aggressive, neverending global interventionism maintained by an empire of military bases around the world, all to guarantee American hegemony.”

Those on the center-right might laugh at the rhetoric, but it remains to be seen whether scary tales of a thirst for global domination will get serious attention in the Democratic primaries. Let’s just say that we shouldn’t expect to see Kristol’s endorsement prominently displayed on Hillary’s Web site any time soon.