Bill Krisol, editor of the Weekly Standard, promised, “There will be an independent candidate–an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance,” on May 29th. That led to a lot of speculation. Could Kristol really have talked Mitt Romney into running as a Republican “third wheel” to Trump and Hillary? Who else would be, “impressive,” have a “strong team,” and a “real chance?”
We waited for the other shoe to drop. Silence. Kristol had introduced his tweet with, “Just a heads up over this holiday weekend.” Did that mean his announcement would be that weekend, or that he was just announcing a future event on that weekend? Then, two days later, as the weekend ended, Bloomberg (Bloomberg??) ran an article identifying Kristol’s candidate as. . .”David French”(?)
Or as Bloomberg put it,
Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French—whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.
Really?? Kristol was offering “the guy down the hall” as the “impressive” candidate, with a “strong team,” and a “real chance”?? A flurry of articles from both sides of the aisle mostly praised French. But as a candidate? For the presidency?
Most people probably didn’t notice the third paragraph:
Reached in Israel late Tuesday afternoon, Kristol declined to comment on his efforts to induce French to run. The two Republicans confirmed that French is open to launching a bid but that he has not made a final decision. One of the Republicans added that French has not lined up a running mate or significant financial support.
And now, we hear from French. Writing in National Review, this time:
Here is a sentence I never thought I’d type: After days of prayer, reflection, and serious study of the possibilities, I am not going to run as an independent candidate for president of the United States. . .
But given the timing, the best chance for success goes to a person who either is extraordinarily wealthy (or has immediate access to extraordinary wealth) or is a transformational political talent. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my country, and I thank God for the successes I’ve had as a lawyer and a writer, but it is plain to me that I’m not the right person for this effort.
Yeah, right, and I’ve decided not to try to be the next Pope.
But maybe the case is not closed. After all, we never did hear from Kristol. He never actually said French was the savior he’d been talking about. Is Kristol still waiting to spring it on us, after the furor dies down?
Instead of the darkest of dark horses, French, one newspaper has endorsed a candidate everyone has been talking about.
This editorial board is torn about advising our Republican readers. We can’t endorse Trump for reasons we’ve documented repeatedly: belligerence, casual cruelty, incoherence on policy issues. We can’t recommend voters don’t vote at all because that’s a waste, and we can’t suggest voting for another candidate because it accomplishes nothing.
So what do Republicans who don’t accept Trump’s style or substance — including all three Bushes, Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, George Will and Charles Krauthammer — do? Certainly, the Republican Party has an argument for the presidency. Today, the principles of the party of Ronald Reagan are as relevant as ever: a stable border, a strong military and economic policy focused on low taxes, less bureaucracy and limited regulation. . .
If you are voting in the GOP primary Tuesday, write in Ronald Reagan for president.
It might be a little extreme, even for small-government proponents to suggest the movie, “Weekend at Bernie’s,” as a solution to executive overreach. But the San Diego Union Tribune has a point. Maybe all the disaffected should write in “none of the above,” or Reagan, JFK, FDR, or Honest Abe.
But back to Bill Kristol. As I say, he never said David French was his wonder-candidate. Could it be that the follower with what French calls, “extraordinary wealth,” still be Mitt Romney? Did Kristol whip up this melodrama just to show that Mitt might have a chance—because even Kristol’s golfing buddy could raise some interest?
Tell us, Bill. Who’s you superstar??