Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Mark Halperin and John Heilemann say that Bill Kristol has found his presidential candidate, and he's someone I'm pretty sure is going to finish fifth, well behind Jill Stein and Gary Johnson:
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.

French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children.
But that doesn't give you a good sense of who French is. Better to read this bio of French and his wife, Nancy, from Patheos.com, where his wife edits the Faith and Family Channel:
... David is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the past president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (where he authored the Foundation’s Guide to Religious Liberty on Campus and co-authored its Guide to Free Speech on Campus), a former Lecturer at Cornell Law School, and a former Senior Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice and for the Alliance Defending Freedom. His legal work defending religious liberty on college campuses helped inspire the hit movie God’s Not Dead....

Nancy French is a four-time New York Times best-selling author.

Her most recent books include a collaboration with Sarah Palin on her new book Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.... Other books include Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War which she co-authored with her husband David French. She also collaborated with Bristol Palin on her book Not Afraid of Life: My Story So Far....
Yup, she's ghosted for both Palins, and Sarah has endorsed Donald Trump. Awkward!

That memoir of David's time in Iraq recounts behavioral restrictions intended to prevent Nancy from straying sexually while he was overseas:
Before David left for Iraq, he and Nancy put together rules, in a painfully honest conversation about human frailty. There would be no drinking during the year of separation. Nancy would not “have phone conversations with men, or meaningful e-mail exchanges about politics or any other subject.” Nor would she be on Facebook, where “the ghosts of boyfriends past” could contact her. When Nancy innocently started e-mailing about faith with a man associated with a radio show she was on, she told David about it, and he asked her to end the relationship. David knew, with his “stomach clenching,” that “the most intimate conversations a person has are about life and faith” -- and that “spiritual and emotional intimacy frequently leads to physical intimacy.”
There's a lot of sex panic in the Frenches' writing (as Roy Edroso notes, he's still angry that the Supreme Court's Griswold v. Connecticut ruling struck down Connecticut's contraception ban half a century ago). David French denounced Prince as "ultimately just another talented and decadent voice in a hedonistic culture ... notable mainly because he was particularly effective at communicating that decadence to an eager and willing audience," while his wife exulted in reports that Prince proselytized for the Jehovah's Witnesses and opposed gay marriage.

Both are obsessed with current battles over sexual orientation and gender: For National Review, David writes posts with titles such as "Transgender Extremism -- Two Videos Show How Quickly the Absurd Became Accepted, Then Mandatory" while his wife defends Curt Schilling's trans-bashing ("ESPN Fired Conservative Curt Schilling, but Hires Female LGBT Activist") and reacts to an ad featuring two gay dads with a post titled "Nabisco, Spreading Liberal Propaganda on Your Honey Maid Graham Crackers."

This is the candidate I might have expected if Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum were the top #NeverTrump recruiter. But Bill Kristol? Really?

What's going to be hilarious is French's failure to make inroads even with Evangelical voters. They want someone they think kicks ass; Trump postures as the alpha ass-kicker, and so far that's all the fundamentalists have wanted to know. French won't even be able to challenge Trump on French's home turf. What an embarrassment.


Yastreblyansky said...

DAVID FRENCH is Kristol's tough guy? Hahahahahaha. Check out how he presents himself on video.

Yastreblyansky said...

Or trying to show that he's EVEN MORE OF A MAN THAN PAMELA GELLER, with a beard.

Ken_L said...

Given Halperin is the hack boosting this nonsense, and his purported sources are "two Republicans" (who declined to be identified, natch), I'd take it with several grains of salt. Maybe Halperin can give us an update on French's body language.

Hamilton said...

He's a frequent topic of conversation/derision over at ALICUBLOG...good times. LULZ

Yastreblyansky said...

He constantly fabricates self-aggrandizing stories that are easy to falsify with a little light Googling. Not much of "Home and Away" is visible on GoogleBooks, but there's a story about him coming near getting blown up that seems extremely unlikely to hold up under examination (middle-aged JAG is taken by the major on a tour of partially unsecured, booby-trapped territory?). I'll bet Nancy ghosted it, too, he has no legs as a writer.

Steve M. said...

I like where you're going with this research. Don't stop!

Feud Turgidson said...

My surmise is this is just slightly more serious than spit-balling. I have reasons:

1) It's being outed by the H&H gossip-bangers of hack. This being a con leak, it's Halperin; if it were an attack on HRC, or Dems in Disarray, it'd be Heilemann. They team up to provide each with illusions he can't sustain on his own - mainly a mask comprised of important journanimalistic concepts like access, balance, branding, deniability, prurience, salaciousness, sufficient sourcing ("WE have learned in OUR reporting" givens off the impression of more than source, when in reality it's one source telling one of Team Hack & Heinie, then that H telling the one being used by the source, and them working from that point to explore cover. Hacky in particular is so shameless about their griftojournalims that from time to time he gives the game away by speaking or writing of "MULTIPLE sources" [emphasis Hack's].

2. Novak's death and the increasingly cranky unreliability of BillO in particular but more the rest of the shock talkers going into all out nuttiness flame wars with Beck and Breitbart means there are limited plots in which Kristol could show off this cutting. Obviously, NRO was right out, and Ailes can't be played this way. That leaves POLITICO and Hack & Heinie, but POLITICO took on a lot of water with the selling of article space and also there's something going on there concerning editorial direction, so I can see Hack & Heinie winning the Who "Leaks" It battle.

3. Several pieces have indicated French is "considering" or "pondering". That sounds to me like Kristol's got one or more moneybags sources lined up but they want to see something more compelling, yet Kristol's just getting nibbles from potential front men and at least French okay'd the idea of his name being thrown out there (and "The French Revolution", as French and Nancy call themselves, certainly could use the free pub.

My first reaction to this was, Great! Kristol's found a way to force the neocon vote and a few other "GOP minority" segments away from Trump. Now I think: Sheesh, if the best Kristol could find for this role (the role of tightly tethered trial balloon, that is) is David French, Kristol really IS long away from Donald and the Trumpsters.

Now I think the REAL purpose here is to somehow find leverage to get closer to Trump and then take over some functions, like who the GOP Veep might be or a go-between for "the military industrial complex". He didn't have ALL that much purchase with the Dubya admin, but at least McCain gave him the veep thing.

My last guess is on how well the balloon is holding up: not.

Belvoir said...

Who the hell is idiot Bill Kristol to be appointing and anointing anyone to run? Who cares what he thinks?

French is a vicious homophobe. Kristol is a war-mongering Israel-first failure. Halperin and Heilemann are unbelievably craven right-wing goons. Everyone involved and mentioned in this story is horrible.

El Rondo said...

Watch Trump Praise Hillary

Proof Trump Is Stealth Democrat

Frank McCormick said...

Have you checked out his entry in Wikipedia?

Philo Vaihinger said...

French's "home turf" is his office at The National Review.

He appears to be the same sort of conservative as Rod Dreher, a conservative who wants to repeal the entire sexual revolution.

This is a kind of conservatism Trump does not display in his personal life, but that would not stop him supporting it from the White House and that will do just fine for the Evangelicals.

I would not have guessed Kristol was or would much care to support that kind of conservative.

Teri Pettit said...

Philo, re: "I would not have guessed Kristol was or would much care to support that kind of conservative."

The incongruity fades when you consider that whoever the candidate, Kristol has no illusions that said candidate has the remotest chance of winning. He is intentionally recruiting a spoiler, on the theory that long-term, the GOP will be better positioned for gains in 2018 and 2020 by being the opposition party to Clinton for four years, then it will be by being blamed for a disastrous Trump presidency and going down in flames in the midterms. For a spoiler, you don't need a candidate you agree with on any points, you just need a candidate who will pull away enough votes from Trump in a couple of swing states to make sure they go blue.

I'm more surprised that French would agree to taking on the spoiler role. I expected it to be someone less far right, since most religious far righties have a mortal fear of Democratic Supreme Court nominations.