Upon Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin's inauguration, I made an observation about how wonderful it is to be Republican in purple-state America. Namely, that so long as you hold off on biting off a baby head during the campaign, the media will declare you the very essence of sobriety and moderation, and dismiss anyone who tries to tell otherwise. Then, once you enter office, you can bite as many baby heads as you want -- shocking the professional punditocracy (and gullible "independent" voter) who was ever-so-sure you were actually quite reasonable!
I made that observation upon Youngkin's opening gubernatorial salvo designed to help COVID be even more lethal. But it also applies to his latest round of petty partisan vindictiveness, vetoing widely popular bipartisan initiatives that passed the legislature by overwhelming margins for no other reason than that they were sponsored by Democrats. After "earning" the title of a moderate for, as best I can tell, no other reason other than that he wears fuzzy fabrics, Governor Youngkin has in his first few months been gorging himself on the baby heads that he temporarily deprived himself of on the campaign trail -- governing as a virulent right-wing extremist in a state that remains purplish-blue. The best analogy I can think of is if a Democrat manages to sneak into the Missouri governor's mansion in an off-year election and immediately abolishes the police. It's simultaneously unfathomable and yet exactly what one gets from these so-called "moderates".
The reality is that there are, functionally speaking, no more moderate Republicans -- a fact which does not remotely seem to dampen the media's willingness to be duped into believing that this Republican will be a moderate. We went through this a few years back with Cory Gardner -- the Denver Post endorsed him in 2014 against then Senator Mark Udall, saying it was "unfair" to label Gardner an "extremist" and predicting he'd be a fresh and independent voice in the Senate, only to shame-facedly admit its mistake when it turned out he was an utterly bog-standard right-wing hack. Who could have predicted? Answer: everybody! And so it is too with Youngkin. But alas, we didn't learn the lesson then and we certainly won't learn it now. Instead, we're doomed to repeat this dance every single election cycle it seems.