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Thursday, January 17, 2019

National Review, the most prominent conservative magazine of the past 60 years, has now gone to press with a new issue dedicated to a single topic: Stopping the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, declaring him to be a fraud and a danger to the republic itself.

“There are understandable reasons for his eminence, and he has shown impressive gut-level skill as a campaigner,” the editorial states. “But he is not deserving of conservative support in the caucuses and primaries. Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.”

From a magazine that in its founding era officially supported white supremacy and segregation — as well as endorsing the fascist Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, among many other sins — these are certainly strong charges.

The editorial signifies a greater problem for the right, beyond just one candidacy: Once upon a time, the inmates took over the asylum — and now after all the paranoia, ginned-up outrage, and barely-veiled racism they have engineered over these many decades, a whole new generation of inmates are revolting against them.

Trump was quick to respond — on Twitter, of course:

In its editorial, the magazine declares:

If Trump were to become the president, the Republican nominee, or even a failed candidate with strong conservative support, what would that say about conservatives? The movement that ground down the Soviet Union and took the shine, at least temporarily, off socialism would have fallen in behind a huckster. The movement concerned with such “permanent things” as constitutional government, marriage, and the right to life would have become a claque for a Twitter feed.

Trump nevertheless offers a valuable warning for the Republican party. If responsible men irresponsibly ignore an issue as important as immigration, it will be taken up by the reckless. If they cannot explain their Beltway maneuvers — worse, if their maneuvering is indefensible — they will be rejected by their own voters. If they cannot advance a compelling working-class agenda, the legitimate anxieties and discontents of blue-collar voters will be exploited by demagogues. We sympathize with many of the complaints of Trump supporters about the GOP, but that doesn’t make the mogul any less flawed a vessel for them.

Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.

NR has also included a “symposium” piece, composed of short notes from various conservative activists decrying Trump and what he stands for — many of them carrying their own levels of irony, from people who helped to foment the paranoia that now fuels The Donald’s rise.

As just one example, let’s take a look at this plaintive cry from Bill Kristol:

In a letter to National Review, Leo Strauss wrote that “a conservative, I take it, is a man who despises vulgarity; but the argument which is concerned exclusively with calculations of success, and is based on blindness to the nobility of the effort, is vulgar.” Isn’t Donald Trump the very epitome of vulgarity?

In sum: Isn’t Trumpism a two-bit Caesarism of a kind that American conservatives have always disdained? Isn’t the task of conservatives today to stand athwart Trumpism, yelling Stop?

Recently, Kristol has been talking up the “semi-serious” notion of starting a whole new party of breakaway Republicans, to run their own ticket if Trump were to win the GOP nomination — so outrageous does he view the idea of Trump as the conservative standard-bearer.

But on the subject of American conservatives having allegedly always disdained vulgarity, Kristol is overlooking a very salient point: He, Bill Kristol, was one of the original, key boosters of Sarah Palin, promoting her selection as John McCain’s running mate in 2008. And as recently as 2014, Kristol was still touting Palin as a potential candidate for president in 2016.

This week, of course, Palin endorsed Trump with a cry of “Hallelujah.”

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9 responses to “‘National Review’ Goes To War Against Donald Trump”

  1. Paul Bass says:

    Where are all the RWNJ trolls who normally support every word of the national Review?

    Oh, no, the adults are telling the babies, that Trump is bad for the GOP, and the babies are still crying Boo Hoo? See even the evil GOP think you babies should grow up!

    • charleo1 says:

      The thing about the Republican Base, is they could not care less what Bill Crystal and the folks at The National Review think about anything. And although they are correct in this case about Trump. The fact that the editor Bill Crystal is an idiot, and has been consistently wrong. Wrong on Iraq, wrong on Bush, wrong on the economy, embarrassingly wrong on Sarah Palin. In fact, wrong for more years on more issues than any person alive, save Dick Cheney, probably has the Review’s coming out against Trump, only bolstering his supporter’s determination to see his nomination.

  2. charleo1 says:

    It’s been a long time since William F. Buckley was able to kick the John Birchers, the ultra wacko Right Wing conspiracists of their day out of the GOP. This before they tarnished the integrity of Dwight Eisenhower. Maybe the only man in America capable of bringing back the presidency from the clutches of a long dead Franklin Roosevelt. And with it, the hope to begin to restore the political relevancy of the GOP. Still the Party of the rich investor class, the anti-union, pro-management elitist. Co-aligning as they did with the social conservatives, and the ever hopeful African American. Staunchly holding on the Party of Lincoln as they did in great numbers, keeping the discredited Plutocrats in the game. Though Lord knows why, as the Blacks received paltry little from this band of monied aristocrats. A number of token Civil Rights Bills floated by the Eisenhower Adm. being dependent on a Democratic Congress for passage, did little to address the blight of discrimination Blacks faced at every turn. But still better all considered, than the segregationists, and poll taxing Jim Crow proponents that inhabited, and dominated the vast White, Blue Collar, Democratic strongholds that mimicked the Old Confederacy.
    Now the one thing true of all radicals, insurgents, malcontents, opportunists, demagogues and insurrectionists is, they never give up. They may retreat to their respective hinterlands, but will wait, simmer and watch for their next opening. And so it was, the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, an inspiring example of the two political powers finding common ground for the common good. But the subsequent betrayal of the African American by the establishment Republican Right, never natural brothers in common cause anyway. With their deliberate employment of the so called Southern Strategy, that gathered up angry Southern Democrats by the droves and produced a landslide for Richard Nixon. But also provided a ticket back in, to not only the Birchers, but a host of other radical and divisive cults and organizations, that now threaten the very existence of the Republican Party itself. As The Good Book promises, the wages of sin is death, The question is, if that be the price the Grand Old Party must pay for it’s dealings with the Devil. What then, after the radicals, and extremist of America carry out that sentence, and bury that once Grand Old Fellow? What then?

  3. CrankyToo says:

    Yes, indeed. The Turd Party cuckoos have finally come home to roost. Unfortunately for Kristol and the Greedy Old Pricks, these birds have a tendency to sh!t their own nest. But hey, what did you expect? They were “educated” by the Repugnican establishment.

  4. jointerjohn says:

    The republican party decided in the 1980s they would pitch their appeal to the voters who were the dumbest, least informed, and easiest to whip into a froth with emotionalism, fear, and cheap theatrics. They got what they wanted and now it bit them in the ass. It was only a matter of time before some other clever snake oil salesman stole their side-show tent full of dupes. Enter Mr. Trump

  5. Otto Greif says:

    Trump is destroying the GOPe, the media, and liberals at the same time.

  6. Kurt CPI says:

    The National Review is at war with Donald Trump for the opposite reasons liberals are fighting him. They see him as too liberal, likely to break down the stranglehold the corporations and elite have on trade, finance, war and information. If anything, a nay from that bunch represents an endorsement for those who condemn the “conservative” vision for America.

  7. Jack Hughes says:

    It was especially silly that the National Review bragged of its bona fides for its role in ejecting the John Birch Society from “respectable” conservatism when the Tea Party — which dominates today’s Republican Party — makes the old JBS seem as innocuous as the League of Women Voters

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