Home 2023 Elections Norm Ornstein’s Superb Article on Glenn Youngkin (“Fleece vests and smiles should...

Norm Ornstein’s Superb Article on Glenn Youngkin (“Fleece vests and smiles should not disguise that [Trumpist/hard-right] reality”) Puts the WaPo’s “Access Journalism” and Stenography to Shame


As the Washington Post and other “mainstream media” outlets continue to whitewash right-wing extremism, including here in Virginia with Glenn Youngkin – who they falsely called a “moderate” or “mystery date” in 2021, while basically acting as stenographers for his campaign and treating the whole thing as a fun “horse race” – the brilliant Norm Ornstein has a superb piece in The New Republic that far, FAR outdoes anything you’ll read in Jeff Bezos’ rag. Before we look at that, though, keep in mind that the overarching problem of the “mainstream” political media – in addition to relentless false equivalence/”both sidesism” – is that they prioritize *ACCESS* about all else (see Judd Legum’s excellent thread on that topic), and clearly the WaPo et al are desperate to NOT lose their access to Youngkin, so they treat him with kid gloves, write puff pieces, avoid any serious investigative journalism about him, etc, etc. And although this does a great deal of damage to our democracy, the “mainstream media” – including the paper with “Democracy Dies in Darkness” as its logo! – doesn’t seem to give a rat’s hindquarters…

Anyway, with that mini-rant out of the way, let’s turn to Norm Ornstein’s superb, incisive, spot-on article about how Glenn Youngkin may be “more affable and appealing than Trump,” but “don’t let that fool you,” because in fact “the carefully cultivated public face and voice do not match the actual behavior.” And yes, some of us (raises hand!) tried to tell people that about Youngkin in 2021, just as Norm Ornstein tried to warn us over a decade ago about the fact that the GOP had morphed into a dangerous “insurgent outlier” party. But did people listen? Uhhh… But yeah, back to Ornstein’s article, some highlights of which include:

  • Youngkin in 2021 ran a sort of “dual approach to campaigning,” “attacking ‘critical race theory’ and promoting parents’ rights” on right-wing media, while acting like some sort of “savvy pragmatist” in order to fool – and garner “praise from journalists” – VERY gullible, incompetent journalists, that is.
  • Youngkin “also was happy to get ardent support from a set of far-right characters, including Yesli Vega, the Trump-endorsed GOP candidate, against Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger last year, and extremist gubernatorial candidates Tudor Dixon and Kari Lake. And Youngkin returned the favor with election denier and conspiracy theorist Lake, campaigning enthusiastically for her campaign to be governor of Arizona.”
  • “Once he was inaugurated as governor, it became apparent that the real Youngkin was the one who campaigned in the southern part of the state—the one who used thinly veiled racial appeals and anti–vax and mask sentiment during the campaign. It showed in his appointments.” (Note: it wasn’t just the “southern part of the state,” it was all over Virginia, just that Youngkin kept it compartmentalized as part of his dual-track campaign, pretending to be a normal, surbuban basketball dad while he and his surrogates served up hard-right “red meat” on MAGA radio, TV, etc.)
  • As governor, Youngkin’s appointed hard-right figures (e.g., Elizabeth Schultz and many others) to his administration, while setting up a “full Stasi”-style “tip line for divisive practices” in order to “Rat Out Schools for Teaching Kids About “Divisive” Topics Like Racism,” pledging to sign book-banning bills, attacking voting rights and disenfranchising people, “[taking] a series of steps against the LGBTQ and transgender communities,” etc, etc.
  • Bottom line: “Youngkin’s record as governor is a template for what he would do if he were elected as president. He would be affable, to be sure. But in governance, from voting rights to abortion to climate to LGBTQ rights, from race to education to judicial nominations, from Cabinet choices to White House staff, Glenn Youngkin’s approach would be little different from that of DeSantis and other Trumpist governors and presidential candidates. Fleece vests and smiles should not disguise that reality.”

So yeah, unless any of that appeals to you, for whatever bizarre reason(s), make sure you: a) vote on or before 11/7; b) vote DEMOCRATIC up and down the ballot; c) remind everyone you know to do the same. The Commonwealth you save may – no, WILL – very much be your own!





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