WASHINGTON, DC — Neoconservative Bill Kristol and the pundits and commentators in his orbit officially became a joke Tuesday when it was revealed that Kristol’s “White Knight” independent presidential candidate is largely unknown National Review writer David French.
Kristol taunted Donald Trump for many weeks with his efforts to field a third-party challenger to run on his “Latter-Day Republicans” ticket and split the GOP vote, prompting the Republican National Committee to condemn his plot. Kristol tried to get retired Marine Corps general James Mattis to run, but Mattis turned him down.
Kristol floated names including Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio to run on potential tickets. Recent speculation in Washington fingered Colin Powell or Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger as Kristol’s potential candidate.
But on Tuesday, Mark Halperin revealed that David French is the candidate that Kristol is “considering.”
— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) May 31, 2016
The leaked news sparked some uninspired pro-French sentiment among Kristol supporters.
Voting for David French, and going to feel damn good about it.
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) May 31, 2016
French’s candidacy already recalls the perennial joke campaigns of Smothers Brothers regular Pat Paulsen.
It is not clear that French would even be able to unify the small faction of #NeverTrump pundits on Twitter, and it seems unlikely that he would be able to compete for votes on the same level as Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
Bill Kristol, son of Irving, once held considerable foreign policy influence in Washington and in the Bush administration, serving as one of the intellectual architects of Cheney-Bush’s failed Iraq War. But the Weekly Standard editor and onetime Dan Quayle chief-of-staff overplayed his hand on this third-party plot. When his attempts to get a serious candidate failed, he decided not to stop, but rather to keep going until the threat became a punchline.
Kristol may well simply be “trolling” at this point in a manner intended to put smirks on the faces of his Standard staff and the #NeverTrump pundits who have formed an increasingly irrelevant cult on Twitter. But on the same day that veterans — and their poor treatment after coming home from war — dominated the news cycle, this latest zinger falls on many deaf ears.
Bill Kristol was no joke in 2002 as the world watched Cheney and Bush march blindly into the worst military quagmire in our nation’s history. The things that Kristol said, and the failed predictions he made, contributed to unspeakable horror in the Middle East and political disaster for the Republican Party.
To paraphrase the old saying, the first time Kristol sank the party it was a tragedy. The second time he tried to do it, it was merely a farce.
David French will not become president of the United States. How’s that for a prediction?