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The GOP Primary Fantasy World—And RFK Jr.
Plus: There Are Two GOP Primaries Happening and Only One Is Real
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CATHY YOUNG: How the Right Learned to Love RFK Jr.
OF ALL THE FIGURES on the left who could be adopted as honorary good guys by the right, you’d think that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. would be pretty far down the list. This isn’t just because of his pedigree as the scion of a family uniquely linked to the Democratic party—liberal Democratic royalty of sorts—but because of his longstanding reputation for far-left extremism and strident hostility to conservatives and conservative politics.
Thus, after news reports in 2008 that the Obama administration was considering Kennedy for the post of Environmental Protection Agency chief, Forbes ran a scathing piece by Walter F. Olson (then of the Manhattan Institute, now of the Cato Institute) with a title that speaks for itself: “Dangerous Kook at the EPA?” Olson listed some of the evidence of RFK Jr.’s unfitness for the job: his peddling of the vaccines-cause-autism conspiracy theory and lesser-known bogus science (e.g., that pollution causes Down syndrome); his embrace of equally conspiratorial claims about George W. Bush stealing the 2004 election; his penchant for extreme rhetoric treating fellow Americans across the political divide as a demonic enemy (e.g. comparing George W. Bush to Hitler and Mussolini); singing the praises of Venezuela’s Communist-adjacent dictator Hugo Chavez; and asserting, just a few months after September 11, 2001, that hog farmers were a greater menace to America than al Qaeda terrorists.
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THERE’S ANOTHER WORLD out there—one that’s better than ours. In this world there are two healthy political parties waging vigorous primary campaigns with vibrant debates between factions and these factions have genuine disagreements over what policies will best serve our fellow Americans. I don’t begrudge anyone aspiring to build such a world. I don’t even begrudge those who have chosen to live in a blissful state of disreality and disconnect from politics entirely, rather than face the Super Not Great world we do live in.
But I would expect professional political commentators, and donors shelling out millions in campaign cash, and the political strategists receiving that cash, to live in the real world.
Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend. Mine was filled with poolside fun.
Twitter’s transition seems to be going poorly… Elon, obsessed with the letter “X” since he was at PayPal, is in the process of transitioning Twitter to X. It’s already called X Corp. At the HQ, where he hasn’t been paying rent, the sign transition ended up with the cops being called.
“I didn’t do it.” In the slow-imploding campaign of Ron DeSantis, the state’s new teaching standards have become a sticking point. One DeSantis is seemingly running away from. (Narrator: Does this count as backing down?) Gone are the days of the “Make America Florida” campaign, it seems. And meanwhile, the state is now the first in the nation to approve Dennis Prager’s “PragerU” curriculum. All the while, the New College of Florida, where DeSantis handed the keys over to far-right activists, just lost one third of its faculty. Not sure “I didn’t do it” is gonna work for anyone: the critics or his few remaining fans who somehow believed the line that he never backs down.
Joe Manchin’s faulty J6 comparison… Doesn’t make any sense. When he writes: “They attack our institutions, whether it is our Capitol, our elected leaders or our justice system, without caring about the lasting damage it does.” Is criticizing the high court the same as a failed insurrection? Come on.
Florida chair tossing J6 couple… Pleads guilty.
Taco Tuesday belongs to everyone… A strange corporate trademark fight between Taco John’s and Taco Bell liberated the oft-used, but trademarked, phrase.
Will the defense bill pass before recess? Or will the culture war claim another victim?
A blatant partisan substitution… In Pittsylvania County, a longtime public voter registrar was replaced without warning by a partisan lackey.
Bernie Kerik hands over docs… As Jack Smith moves closer to yet another indictment. He’s also seeking info about a 2020 meeting where Trump praised U.S. election security.
“Responding to poison with more poison…” At National Review, Kathryn Jean Lopez writes: “Jason Aldean Isn’t Helping” noting that “there’s something remarkably and alarmingly cynical” about his controversial song. Comedian Trae Crowder had these funny observations about Aldean’s new song.
Rebooting Ron DeSantis… Still leaves you with Ron DeSantis, our pal Molly Jong-Fast writes.
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