I opened my Twitter feed on Tuesday night to find liberals ridiculing Bill Kristol. Nothing unusual there. But this time, they had fresh ammunition: The news that Kristol’s much-hyped third-party presidential candidate will be little-known National Review contributor David French. By Thursday morning, the mockery had migrated to television. On Morning Joe, the mere mention of Kristol’s name evoked laughter. “Bill needs to take a vacation. Like a long one,” declared cohost Mika Brzezinski. Later she added, “He’s been wrong. Sorry. He’s been wrong about Trump, and if you’re going to get behind someone who can really rival Trump, you need to get behind somebody who can really rival Trump.”
No, actually, you don’t. In general, I’m not a Kristol fan. His foreign-policy views have not changed in the last 15 years, which is dumbfounding given that the views he held 15 years ago have caused such epic misery. By refusing to admit that the Iraq War was a catastrophic error, Kristol and other GOP foreign-policy elites helped create the vacuum that Donald Trump now fills.
But in his search for a third-party alternative to Trump, Kristol doesn’t deserve derision. He deserves praise. All around him, GOP commentators, operatives, and politicians are coalescing behind a man who daily screams his unfitness to be president. (Yesterday’s highlights: The Donald’s threats against the judge overseeing the Trump University case and his unfamiliarity with the term “Brexit.”) Kristol could have joined the herd, as have allies like Sheldon Adelson and Marco Rubio. Instead, he has hunted for an alternative. Given that most conservatives won’t support Hillary Clinton, he’s taking tangible steps to prevent the complete collapse of #NeverTrump.