Prominent Neoconservative Continues to Live in Political Fantasyland

David Keene,

Hollywood is atwitter at the very thought that Oprah Winfrey might be willing to carry the progressive banner into the 2020 presidential race. Her speech on Sunday at the Golden Globe affair was taken by many as an indication that she might be convinced to throw herself and her considerable fortune into the crusade to rid the nation of Donald Trump. The only person seemingly more excited than actress Meryl Streep at the prospect is The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol. Kristol hasn’t fallen so hard for a potential candidate since he urged conservatives to get behind Colin Powell in 1996 or since he first met Sarah Palin in Alaska. She’s the one, he claims; finally, someone around whom the world’s NeverTrumpsters can rally to drive the hated incumbent from the White House.

This is the same Bill Kristol who tweeted the morning of election day 2016 that he couldn’t have been prouder of his role in organizing the NeverTrump movement and who was breathlessly awaiting the election results so that thinking Americans could be rid of Trump and his anti-globalist coalition and help Bill remake the Republican Party in his own image. By the time the votes were actually counted it was clear that Mr. Kristol was wrong once again as he has been almost every time he ventures forth with a political endorsement or prediction. One can hardly fault The Daily Caller for headlining its report on his adoration of Oprah with the teaser “Oprah won’t be President … this Tweet is the Reason.”

His first tweet came shortly after 11:00 am on Monday with the declaration that “#ImWithHer” which is the way today’s editors and pundits communicate with each other and the world. And then he went on declaring that Oprah had been with Kristol on Iraq while reminding us that she’s more “touchy feely” than Joe Biden, “more pleasant” than Andrew Cuomo, “more charismatic” than Colorado’s John Hickenlooper and, ah yes, younger than the lot of them.

More important, at least from Mr. Kristol’s perspective, was his tweeted assurance that the lady is as neoconservative as he since she supported the invasion of Iraq. It’s not unusual for supporters to invest their candidates with their own beliefs, but convincing oneself that a daytime television entertainer is an ideological soul-mate impresses one as a step too far. Once he started Kristol couldn’t seem to stop, arguing that she would be a better president than Mr. Trump because she “comes from infinitely more challenging circumstances than Trump, is wealthier than Trump, has read more books than Trump, is more stable than Trump, and isn’t under investigation by the Justice Department.”

Bill Kristol is a bright guy and edits an often sprightly magazine, but lives in a political fantasyland and loves to share his fantasies with the rest of us. He’s been in something of a funk since the Iraqi adventure he urged on the Bush Administration went bad and positively beside himself since Mr. Trump moved into the Oval Office. Of Mr. Trump’s many shortcomings is his failure to appreciate the need to risk everything to remake the world in the American image. Mr. Kristol and his neo-conservative sidekicks like New York Times columnist David Brooks spent years promoting their view of “American Greatness” which differs greatly from Mr. Trump’s desire to “Make America Great Again.” Mr. Kristol argues that the greatness of a nation depends on its leadership on the world stage rather than on conditions at home. When the Cold War ended, he vociferously argued for a new “crusade” in which the nation could engage, he got one … in Afghanistan and Iraq and we all know how that’s gone.

Mr. Trump is all about what goes on here at home. He cares more about how Americans earn their livings and raise their families than in turning foreign nations into little Americas. And when he talks about rebuilding infrastructure he’s more likely to be talking about bridges in the Midwest than in Iraq and Afghanistan. That focus on improving the lives of those Mr. Kristol and his friends see more as recruits for the next great foreign adventure than as people may be why Mr. Trump rather than one of their own is sitting in the White House today.

Oprah Winfrey is a bright and successful lady. She may or may not be interested in pushing all her chips to the center of the table on a bet that she can be elected president, but she didn’t get to where she is by being what Mr. Kristol projects her to be.