Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has only been in office for a few days but he and his administration have already gotten down to the business of trying to fulfill campaign promises to voters, starting by working to clean up the messes Gov. Ralph Northam (D) left, which is causing hurt feelings and an increase in demands for truckloads of smelling salts among Democrat/media elitists in the state who prefer the “business as usual” way of doing things.
One area where there has been predictable friction between Youngkin and his critics on the left and in the media is on the issue of parental rights. If you’ll recall, Youngkin made that a central part of his gubernatorial campaign last year, especially after Democrat nominee Terry McAuliffe admitted during a debate that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Polls heading into Election Day showed massive swings from McAuliffe to Youngkin among those concerned about public education – with education even ranking ahead of the economy and the pandemic among voters, and ultimately it’s what ended up dooming the McAuliffe campaign.
So naturally, that’s going to be a big area of focus for Youngkin. And predictably, his anti-woke agenda on the education front and masks in schools is causing meltdowns in the media on both the straight news and opinion sides. The below piece published by the Washington Post is Exhibit A on this front:
What a headline … pic.twitter.com/YqgOBbmzwj
— Farahn Morgan (@FarahnMorgan) January 20, 2022
While in fairness that was an opinion column and not a straight news piece, that’s been the general tone and tenor of the media since Youngkin was sworn in. Not surprisingly, they take the view of Democrats when it comes to wanting to leave parents out of the decision-making process when it comes to public school curriculums and students wearing masks.
In monitoring coverage of Youngkin by the Virginia press corps as well as reporters from national news outlets, it has become increasingly clear that Youngkin is being treated as their next DeSantis – and that’s not really a bad thing, in my view.
The constant attacks on DeSantis by the press and his expert way of handling their attempted dunks have only further endeared him to Florida residents. And while I know Virginia and Florida are different states politically, DeSantis has been able to redden the state by governing based on his instincts and just being a straight shooter rather than readjusting his agenda after every fake media “scandal” thrown at him.
While Youngkin and DeSantis are not the same from a stylistic point, Youngkin has also shown good skill when it comes to handling the press. Except in Youngkin’s case, he gained in popularity in the state last year not by playing hardball with the press but by, for the most part, ignoring their attacks and taking his case directly to the people.
Neither approach is better or worse than the other, but the proof is in the pudding. DeSantis’s has worked for him so far, and Youngkin’s helped win him an election, with the commonality being that neither trust the media. Further, both are likely aware that most people in this country don’t, either. So they respond accordingly by not coddling the press and not trying to get on their “good” side.
Will Youngkin be like DeSantis in being able to help pull his state to the right over his time in office? Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain: When you’re a GOP governor and you’re being given the Ron DeSantis treatment by the MSM, you know you’re doing something right.