Is there anyone on the planet more obnoxiously smug than neoconservative political pundit Bill Kristol? I’m not normally one to put much emphasis on personal appearance, but just a passing glance at that high forehead and pompous, arrogant grin should tell you the man thinks he knows way more than you do about, well, pretty much everything.
And he’s not shy about telling you what he thinks, especially on all things Trump, and looking down on you disapprovingly if you dare to disagree. Truly, does anybody alive think Kristol wouldn’t be chortling along with the rest had he been included in that now-infamous Don Lemon CNN panel mocking Trump supporters as ignorant, backwoods hillbillies? (You know, the one the Trump-reelection campaign plans to ride like a rented mule until November’s landslide victory?)
Long a man with a penchant for attention, the #NeverTrump icon had considered his own presidential run as late as mid-2018. Instead, last year he backed the GOP primary challenge of former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh. Ironically, his Twitter feed is still littered with Walsh retweets, even though the former Trump-supporting one-term lawmaker once mocked him as an “irrelevant” and “out of touch establishment twit” before he decided to turn on Trump for the Twitter mentions.
A founding father of so-called neoconservatism, the former editor of the now defunct Weekly Standard became irrelevant somewhere around 2006, when America realized en masse that sending thousands of U.S. troops to die in Iraq and Afghanistan was utterly pointless, unless of course you’re one of the few making millions from Eisenhower’s aptly named “military industrial complex.” That was long before Donald Trump came down that New York City escalator in 2015, yet Kristol apparently took the future president’s noninterventionist foreign policy positions as a personal affront, like Trump literally swiped his G.I. Joe toys away just as he and John Bolton were about to reenact the invasion of Tehran.
But Kristol didn’t just get mad, he tried to get even, apparently deciding that grifting on the #NeverTrump “right” was a way to at least maintain a Twitter presence, maybe even get his name into the occasional Twitchy headline. Hey, hate clicks are still clicks, right? Indeed they are, as The Bulwark editor found out the hard way on Saturday after coming out as something literally every Trump supporter at least semi-aware of his existence had suspected from day one ... a Democrat.
“Not presumably forever; not perhaps for a day after Nov. 3, 2020; not on every issue or in every way until then,” Kristol wrote in a Saturday tweet that had over 12,000 retweets and 50,000 likes at the time of this writing. “But for the time being one has to say: We are all Democrats now.”
Kristol’s tweet was likely a hyper-emotional reaction to the Senate’s 51-49 vote to disallow witnesses in the president’s soon-to-be completed impeachment trial. Democrats had hoped to bring former national security advisor John Bolton to the witness stand to tell us what we all already know and few of us actually care about. Truly, from my perspective and that of probably millions of others, a Trump success in using foreign aid to obtain an investigation into the Bidens’ likely corrupt activities in Ukraine would have been the best ROI on foreign aid in U.S. history. At any rate, Democrats’ plans were foiled by a united GOP Senate, minus squishes Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, thus leading to Kristol’s decision to take his ball and join the other team, as if he really ever played for this one.
“This is like your most flamboyant friend who attended 200+ Britney Spears concerts before achieving his lifelong dream of becoming a backup dancer for her FINALLY coming out to you as gay,” wrote conservative comedian Tim Young. “Yeah, buddy... we ALL knew.” Former Fox News columnist Todd Starnes joked that Kristol finally “came out of the political closet.”
Responding to my weekend Daily Caller piece on the topic, conservative actor Nick Searcy wrote, “This isn’t news.” Others, like National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis and even Kristol’s own Bulwark anti-Trump cohort Charlie Sykes, felt that going full-on-blue was a bridge too far.
Bill Kristol and other so-called “Never Trump” figures will tell you their position is based on principles, morals even. Donald Trump is a bad man, they will say, and consequently undeserving of your support. Until Kristol’s “coming out” party, however, he would have told you to vote for someone with similar policies (minus foreign policy, of course) but a better temperament. Nevermind the whole “winning” thing - at least you’re voting your conscience. But now, the Never Trump mania has reached a whole other level. Never mind voting your conscience, it’s “remove Trump at all costs,” even if that cost is voting for a Democrat whose policies will destroy America as we know it.
This is peak-level insanity, yet entirely predictable given the deluded, mixed-up paradigm that is #NeverTrump. Socialism, unlimited immigration, the slaughter of millions of babies, the abolition of free speech and the right to bear arms, even the end of capitalism itself are all preferable to electing a man we despise.
But then, Bill Kristol and his ilk often talk about “character.” Maybe he’s just finally being true to his.