[guest post by JVW]
We’ve been kind of hard on New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof over the years, calling him out for his namby-pambysm and his gullibility in service of the progressive narrative, among other sins. At times, however, we have shown him at least some modicum of love when he’s been willing to deviate away from his newspaper’s incessant editorial direction and to challenge the wisdom of some deeply-held leftist beliefs. All in all, I think that Nick Kristof is less of an outright blowhard than his colleague Thomas Friedman, less of a spittle-flecked partisan than his colleague Paul Krugman, less of a smug and sanctimonious scold than his colleague Charles Blow, yet, alas, a little bit (though thankfully just a little) of all three.
But one thing that I did want to salute Mr. Kristof for is his recent decision to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s exhortation not to be the critic but instead be the man in the arena, by announcing his candidacy for governor of his native state of Oregon. At long last, one of the elite opinion makers from big media would descend from his lofty perch at the Indispensable Newspaper in the Greatest City on Planet Earth and deign to lead the citizenry in a far-flung state, albeit one that is achingly progressive. To set aside the snark for a moment, Mr. Kristof, who grew up on his family’s farm, has pledged that a main focus of his would be to bridge the ideological chasm between rural, conservative Eastern Oregon and the western part of the Beaver State which is dominated by the Portland-Salem-Corvallis-Eugene stretch of Interstate 5. Given that the Kristof family farm is located in suburban Portland, it’s not a stretch to imagine the candidate envisions cajoling the rubes in Pendleton and Baker City to adopt big government and woke agenda items, in return for the city sophisticates not making fun of them and maybe agreeing not to kill the timber and mining industries through environmental legislation right away.
Unfortunately for the campaign, Mr. Kristof and his political team appear to have made a big miscalculation:
Shemia Fagan, Oregon’s secretary of state, notified longtime New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof Thursday morning that he was ineligible to become Oregon’s next governor.
Fagan’s office issued a press release after informing Kristof of her decision to reject his filing, citing the fact that “Article V, § 2 of the Oregon Constitution requires a candidate for governor to have been a ‘resident within this state’ for three years before the election. ”
“The rules are the rules and they apply equally to all candidates for office in Oregon,” said Fagan.
Whoopsie. You would think that a guy who was chock-full of policy advice for Presidents, Premiers, Prime Ministers, Popes, Puppets, Paupers, Pirate, Poets, Pawns and Kings (sorry — really got carried away there for a moment) might have ensured that he was indeed eligible to run in the election before resigning from his enviable gig, but I guess the smartest people in the room are forever assuming that they can outmaneuver the local yokels in something as basic as state constitutional law. Mr. Kristof argues that because he has owned property in Oregon for several years and because he visits his place now and again, why, that ought to satisfy any of your provincial old residency requirements. His campaign may yet win out in court, and even if they lose it’s pretty likely that Times Square will accept him back in their good graces, so let’s not worry for a moment that Mr. Kristof will end up in the bread lines any time soon. But if the Kristof Team can’t handle the most basic of rudimentary campaign tasks, what would make anybody think he has what it takes to be chief executive of the state?