It may be difficult to believe in this enlightened age but there was a time not so long ago when the National Review was the intellectual heart of America's conservative movement. Its writers were sharp, gifted and irreverent. Their appearances on Fox News and other TV outlets made them rock stars.
All that ended on January 22, 2016, when the magazine posted online its "Against Trump" issue. Once again, the editors proudly chose to stand athwart history rather than make it. They chose to lose with what they consider honor rather than win.
22 writers signed on, each penning a small missive which was published inside.
The magazine's editors did not like him. They called him a witless ape and buffoon and even attacked his wife's looks. Later, they portrayed his supporters as little Nazis in a piece called the Father Fuhrer.
The main editorial said, "Donald Trump leads the polls nationally and in most states in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. There are understandable reasons for his eminence, and he has shown impressive gut-level skill as a campaigner. 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.
"Trump’s political opinions have wobbled all over the lot. The real-estate mogul and reality-TV star has supported abortion, gun control, single-payer health care à la Canada, and punitive taxes on the wealthy. (He and Bernie Sanders have shared more than funky outer-borough accents.) Since declaring his candidacy he has taken a more conservative line, yet there are great gaping holes in it.
"His signature issue is concern over immigration — from Latin America but also, after Paris and San Bernardino, from the Middle East. He has exploited the yawning gap between elite opinion in both parties and the public on the issue, and feasted on the discontent over a government that can’t be bothered to enforce its own laws no matter how many times it says it will (President Obama has dispensed even with the pretense). But even on immigration, Trump often makes no sense and can’t be relied upon. A few short years ago, he was criticizing Mitt Romney for having the temerity to propose 'self-deportation,' or the entirely reasonable policy of reducing the illegal population through attrition while enforcing the nation’s laws. Now, Trump is a hawk’s hawk."
The argument was that 1. you cannot trust anything that he says, and 2. look what he is saying!
Later, the editorial said, "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."
I had forgotten that the idea that electing Donald Trump president upends a constitutional government is not original to Democrats.
The National Review ended its suicide note, "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."
Four years later, we have completed the first three years of this Magnificent Age Known as the Trump Years.
MAGAPILL has catalogued the successes.
Thousands of regulations are gone. 170 conservative judges are appointed, confirmed, and doing the Lord's work.
Tax rates are lower and the economy is expanding. Unemployment is at a 50-year low. Wages are at an all-time high. Retirees are enjoying huge growth in their investments.
Mexico protects our border while we build a wall.
Planned Parenthood stopped accepting federal money. Donald Trump will become the first president to address the March for Life in person.
Everything the writers at National Review said they wanted done, he's done.
A conservative publication by now would have admitted it was wrong, apologized, and celebrated.
These witless apes want him impeached. On the fourth anniversary of its suicidal Against Trump editorial, the magazine's staff ran an editorial, "Impeachment Doesn’t Require a Crime."
Madison, Mason and Hamilton say, Wha'???
My reaction to Against Trump was, "National Review Hoists White Flag, Defiantly Rows To Outcast Island." Ahoy!
I was correct. The National Review now serves no purpose other than as a platform for an occasional column by Conrad Black or Victor Davis Hanson.
How odd that the people who called for losing with dignity do not have the dignity to own up to their error, which has aided and abetted the critics and opponents of the most conservative president since Reagan.