RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – He is one of the most sought after conservative political commentators in Washington and he will be in Richmond at the beginning of February. Bill Kristol will be the keynote speaker at the Central Virginia Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner. The editor of the "Weekly Standard" joins me live via Skype to talk politics.
Ryan Nobles: Thank you for being here, Bill, we appreciate it.
Bill Kristol: Good to be with you, Ryan.
Ryan Nobles: I am sure you heard the news that George Allen is running for the seat he lost in 2006. He is facing some early conservative criticism about his record in the senate. As a conservative yourself, do you think that's fair criticism or do you think he deserves to be reelected?
Bill Kristol: You know what I think it's a -- I wouldn't go so far as on the presidential race, which I said let's not try to anoint anyone early, let people compete, make their cases, let everyone have an open field and fair chance at the nomination. I respect George Allen; I think he was a good governor of this state. But no one should anoint him. Other people are free to run against him, free to challenge different votes he cast and different things he can as governor. I think it will be healthy to have some good competition. Having said, that I have a high record for George and he certainly would be the front runner at this point. But as we saw in the last year, front runners sometimes lose.
Ryan Nobles: I saw a lot of the reaction on the internet and it seems like the word macaca he used came over the internet streams over and over. Do you think he can overcome this?
Bill Kristol: Yes, the media manufactured gaffe or whatever you want to call it, the key will be what he has to say about the current issues facing the nation. George was a good governor what, 15 years ago now, or good senator, six years ago, eight years ago, I don't think people are in the market for that. People want to know what are you going to do to reduce the deficit, keep the country strong, and advance the things that republicans are concerned with across the board, big fundamental reforms in the U.S. government and the like. If he has an interesting agenda of service, I think people will be happy to give him the nomination and happy to elect him. If he seems to be running on the fact that I was governor and senator, voters might say it's time for a fresh look, so a lot depends on how George Allen chooses to run the campaign.
Ryan Nobles: Tomorrow night is the State of the Union. The president appears to have made a move to the middle. Do the members of the new republican house majority have to find ways to work with him?
Bill Kristol: I think they should work with him when he makes concessions to republicans, to conservative ideas. If he wants to cut spending, let's take his cuts and go to bigger cuts. Obviously republicans are going to have to compromise on some things, but I think there's still a pretty big fundamental difference between the two parties and I would recommend to people, leave aside all the theatrics, read or watch, but see what he proposed to do about sending and how government is structured and let's watch the rebuttal and read the text and it won't be as grand as the president; he don't have the entire chambers, members of the house and senate sitting before him, but I think that's a big difference between the two parties and the extent to which they're willing to cut could domestic spending and reform the federal government and I think that will become clear over the course of the next year as there are many debates on budget and spending issues among others.
Ryan Nobles: Thank you very much, Bill. We appreciate you being here. And don't forget you can see Bill Kristol at the Central Virginia Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner, Saturday, February 5th, at the Richmond Marriott. For more info, go to lincolnreagandinner.com.
See the video at right for the full interview.