T-Mac Endorsed by Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol is just like all the other disaffected Virginia Republicans whom gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin needs to win over, only famous.” – Laura Vozzella, Washington Post

I leave it to others to determine how much work “just like” does in the above sentence, but Kristol’s decisions to endorse and to vote for Terry McAuliffe for Governor carry much more weight than it usually would.

Indeed, the fact that I lead with his name rather than the two Bearing Drift contributors who also made the list (yours truly and Matt Walton) highlights the uniqueness of the moment. Normally, the literal heir to neoconservatism wouldn’t have an impact in a Virginia state election, outside of his own vote. These are not normal times.

As I noted yesterday, national political events have had a large impact in Virginia gubernatorial elections. Until last week, that would have helped the Democrats. It’s more uncertain now. As it happens, though, the voters most likely to be affected by the national zeitgeist are folks who paid particularly close attention to Afghanistan – a group that is seriously overrepresented both among Virginians as a whole and among Virginians who are swing voters in particular. These voters are either “just like” Bill Kristol or fairly close to it.

Kristol has been a voice for those of us criticizing Biden’s withdrawal – especially the decision to adhere to Trump’s deal and make the withdrawal in the first place. For him to reach down into Virginia’s election and declare for McAuliffe is a near-perfect salve for the voters most likely to be alienated by the withdrawal.

Kristol isn’t a longtime Democratic partisan going negative, or a left-winger trying to shame everyone into voting their way. This is, for lack of a better term, “one of us.”

Moreover, Kristol isn’t just slamming Youngkin; he is giving reasons to vote for T-Mac (Vozzella).

“He’s a moderate Democrat, and he’s not going to shut down Virginia’s business success, economic success and so forth. He’s the kind of Democrat I’m comfortable supporting,” Kristol said in an interview Monday, when he criticized Youngkin’s “reckless” public health and tax policies as much as his embrace of Trump.

Kristol also said he preferred McAuliffe’s positions related to masks and vaccinations to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

I freely admit that nationwide, there aren’t a lot of “us.” In Virginia, however, Biden Republicans and ex-Republicans who still lean rightward on foreign policy are large enough to make a difference. One of the most “famous” among them just happens to be a Virginia voter – and he’s making it clear he doesn’t see returning to the GOP fold as an option in 2021.

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