Everyone of a certain age remembers the venerable George Will. Back in the 1980s, when ABC’s David Brinkley ruled the Sunday morning talk shows, Will held up the right side of the argument, sparring constantly with Sam Donaldson, then ABC’s White House correspondent, in defense of President Ronald Reagan. He was a joy to watch, erudite, and more than a match to any liberal who was put up against him.
Fast forward 30 years, and we see that Will is still around, writing his twice-weekly column. His brand suffered a little from his vendetta with the Bush family. It has really suffered because of Will’s status as a Never Trumper. George Will is always polite and mannerly. President Donald Trump, as even his warmest supporters will admit, is not. Indeed, the president’s brashness can be seen as his great strength, something that the Never Trump crowd has never recognized.
In any case, as appalled George Will was at Trump’s election and as horrified as he has been at his presidency, even though the president has advanced the conservative project more than any since Reagan, the venerable pundit is in trepidation at the prospect of his re-election.
However, unlike some righty Never Trumpers, Will is not daft enough to believe that someone like Warren, Sanders, or even Biden would be preferred to the second term of Trump. In a recent column, George Will opened his mind to reveal his pick for president in 2020.
First, Will makes a good case as to why any of the top three Democrats cannot win against Trump. He has an entertaining evaluation of Bernie Sanders, the geriatric socialist by taking us to New York on a recent autumn day when the candidate held his comeback rally in the company of AOC.
“Saturday’s rally was Sanders’ announcement that he, like the Young Man in Longfellow’s poem, is ‘up and doing, with a heart for any fate.’ His message was: Never mind my heart attack. He is 78, and in his second run for the nomination is no longer a novelty, which Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a sprightly 70, is. Her persona, that of a hectoring schoolmarm, can be grating but is less so than his, which recalls Dorothy Parker’s description of Katharine Hepburn: ‘She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.’ Sanders fluctuates between anger and indignation. Besides, it is entertaining to count how many times Warren plans to spend the same revenues from her wealth tax before it is declared unconstitutional (see Article I, Section 9.)
Good old George, to manage two literary and one constitutional reference in a single paragraph. He goes on to call Joe Biden the “broccoli candidate – not fun but good for you.”
In any case, after a meandering analysis of various states, Will hits on his preferred candidate, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, who may rise when the top tier candidate burn themselves out.
“Finally, the most charming, the most adult campaign promise this season has been: ‘If you elect me president, I promise you won’t have to think about me for two weeks at a time.’ So says Michael Bennet.”
The gentle reader might ask, “Who is Michael Bennet?”
Ballotpedia notes that Bennet has been elected twice as the United States Senator from Colorado. He is, by all accounts, a moderate. He opposes Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, offering more moderate proposals for healthcare and climate change. He favors a path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants and green cards for recent graduates from American universities with degrees in the STEM fields. He wants to build three million new housing units and enact a rent support program for low-income people.
Bennet has a vision:
“America calls itself the land of opportunity. It doesn’t feel that way today. Wages are stagnant, costs are rising, and economic inequality in our country is only growing worse. Michael is running for President to build an opportunity for every American and restore integrity to our government. We need ambitious solutions to our country’s greatest challenges.”
What Bennet seems to lack are votes. According to the latest RealClearPolitics poll average, he comes in with a whopping .7 percent of the electorate. He has tied with Julian Castro and ahead of Marianne Williamson. Politico notes that he raised just $2.1 million in the third quarter and has qualified for the last two televised debates. In short, the prospect of Bennet becoming a real threat is somewhat dim, despite George Will’s charming, intellectual exercise.