Youngkin Pumping The Presidential Brakes

by Kerry Dougherty

Looks like Gov. Glenn Youngkin may have some natural immunity to the presidential virus that seems to infect most Virginia governors.

At one time or another it seems almost every Virginia governor has his head turned by the seductive intoxication of presidential or vice presidential ambition.

Anyone else remember L. Douglas Wilder? He was elected governor in 1989 and his term ran from 1990 to 1994. By 1992, he was running for president as a Democrat, although Wilder dropped out before the primaries got underway.

In 2010, Gov. Bob McDonnell was selected to give the GOP rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, a sign that he was being groomed by the national party for higher office, perhaps vice president in 2012. In fact, when Sen. Mitt Romney came to Norfolk that year to announce his choice for veep, many assumed it was going to be the popular Virginia governor from Virginia Beach.

Instead, it was a head fake. Romney chose the USS Wisconsin as a backdrop to make his surprise announcement of Rep. Paul Ryan, from the Badger State’s 1st congressional district.

At various times during their 4-year terms former Governors George Allen, Jim Gilmore, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine also were mentioned as top contenders for their party’s presidential ticket. In fact, Kaine ran with Hillary Clinton in 2016. Mike Pence filleted him in the single vice presidential debate, however. Kaine was virtually invisible for the rest of the campaign.

There have been signs for weeks that, although he clearly flirted with the notion of running for president, Youngkin was pulling back. For instance, in the past couple of months several of his top political consultants, Jeff Roe and Kristin Davison, departed to join a DeSantis super-PAC.

Well, once The New York Times weighs in, it must be official. Youngkin is tapping the “brakes” as The Times wrote this weekend in a piece headlined “Youngkin Gives 2024 Presidential Run the Cold Shoulder.”

The newspaper claims the reason Youngkin is pulling back is his lack of legislative victories compared to Ron DeSantis.

No surprise there.

Virginia is far bluer than Florida, which became even redder during Covid as New Yorkers longing for freedom fled to the Sunshine State.

Covid turned Florida crimson.

Youngkin never said he was running. Now he is pointedly saying he is focusing on this fall’s General Assembly elections. Smart. GOP successes there will advance his agenda, losses will stymie him.

Asked about his presidential decision timeline this week, Youngkin said, “Listen, I didn’t write a book, and I’m not in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina.” Instead, he said, he is putting his full focus on November’s statewide Virginia election, when all 140 seats in both chambers of the General Assembly are on the ballot. A decision to enter the 2024 campaign in November would be historically late, well past the first Republican debate in August.

“I am wholly focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia, and I’m looking forward to these elections,’’ Youngkin said during an appearance to promote Virginia’s agricultural exports. Standing outdoors at a terminal for barges near Richmond — dressed in a blue suit and tie rather than the red fleece vest he wore while seeking office, a symbol of his suburban dad-ness — the governor, 56, said that gaining majorities in the legislature “is what this year is all about.”

It could be a tough year for Virginia’s GOP, which is still giddy over its 2021 sweep of the top three offices.

Abortion enthusiasts in Richmond who favor unrestricted abortions up until the moment of birth will be trying to paint Youngkin’s support for a reasonable 15-week ban as extreme, when in reality it’s the Northam-make-them-comfortable-and-let-them-die Democrats who are on the ugly edge of what’s acceptable.

They hope that yodeling constantly about abortion will drown out Youngkin’s call for lower taxes and school choice.

With the help of far-left cheerleaders in the media, they may be successful.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.