Some conservatives lambast National Review for being too closely aligned with Republican establishment

Regarding ideological disputes, National Review’s decision to back government bailouts for Wall Street struck some as particularly galling, especially considering the magazine has condemned the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) under the Obama presidency.

“We were looking for allies to placate conservatives on the TARP. And National Review was early and quick in support of it,” said one former Bush White House official, who declined to speak on the record. “National Review was basically acting, at least in some people’s view, against what their principles were.”

“When it became politically convenient, when Obama became president, they changed their mind,” the former Bush official said.

Others cite National Review’s energizer bunny-like defenses of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war and its tepid criticism of Republican-backed legislation in 2003 to create a new entitlement system for prescription drugs.

“We do not quite blame the president and his Party for the massive expansion of Medicare,” NR wrote.

So when National Review offered its full-throated defense of the GOP’s new agenda, many saw the action as fitting into a pattern, perhaps explaining why some conservatives expressed irritation with the publication as a whole.

National Review editor Rich Lowry revealed in a Monday article the magazine had, as first reported by TheDC, coordinated with House Republican leadership before publishing their editorial.

Lowry said in the article that unidentified NR writers met Monday with a House Republican leader who gave them details about what was in the “Pledge,” to which National Review officials expressed their support.

Lowry also said that NR received a full copy of the “Pledge” on Wednesday afternoon. He argued “this sort of thing – getting an embargoed advance copy of a document—is extremely standard in journalism.”

But not in this case. TheDC did not get a copy of the “Pledge” ahead of when it leaked into the press, though a reporter asked for one. And TheDC has confirmed with other publications that they did not receive embargoed copies. Staff for House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, kept a notably tight hold on the “Pledge” document.

Lowry’s account contradicted another account provided Friday by a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner. Then, the spokesman, Brendan Buck, said NR had not received an embargoed copy. Asked to clarify the discrepancy, and to say who House GOP leadership gave embargoed copies to, Buck refused, deeming the questions “stupid.”

“I don’t have time for stupid,” Buck said.

Lowry declined to address the criticisms in an e-mail, citing time constraints. But the loud and populous conversation among conservatives on NR’s pages means for some, in the end, that no one editorial represents the publication as a whole anyway.

Jon Henke, a libertarian blogger and new media political consultant, cited the broad range of opinion that NR regularly publishes, which included a lengthy condemnation of the “Pledge” by Andrew McCarthy that was posted Saturday morning.

“It would be unfair to characterize National Review as anything but a diverse collection of voices of the Right,” said Henke.

Jon Ward contributed to this story

  • Tex Expatriate

    While I like what Noah_Pology contributed, I wanted to add something to these remarks. I don’t have time to waste on hard-copy political magazines. I shoot through the online material and that’s that.

    Who knows how long traditional magazines will last? I suspect the ones that survive will be technical in nature, rather than political.

  • pink

    Jonathan Chait has it right:

    The Daily Caller is clearly trying to establish a brand as the outsider conservative publication, sticking up for the true rock-ribbed conservatism that the conservative base suspects is being subverted by shadowy elite cabals. And of course, variants of this paranoia are often found within National Review itself, which makes the irony somewhat amusing. But it’s clear that the DC’s “reporting” should be viewed more as a marketing strategy for itself than actual journalism.


  • akw1

    Knock it off!!!!

    I don’t come here to read juvenile carping about other conservative enterprises. Prove yourselves and you will earn the access that NRO has, but you are going to lose readers if you keep posting petty, vindictive pieces like this.

  • diamndgirl

    Much ado about nothing…we can all read and make up our own minds…thank you very much.

    I imagine we get info from all over the place…and take it from there.

  • R120mm

    “But not in this case. TheDC did not get a copy of the “Pledge” ahead of when it leaked into the press, though a reporter asked for one.” I laughed out loud when I read that part. It certainly encapsulates the nature the articles here recently. I have to admit that I’ve been pulling for the Daily Caller to be successful since its inception. I hit the page a few times a day, if for no other reason than to give it hits and peruse the headlines. However, this ridiculous series of articles when there is so much more going on that rates coverage has caused me to delete my bookmark for the DC.
    This blatant piece of link-bait reporting overshadows any future desire to view this site. I’m sorry Tucker, but if you can’t compete with Jonah Goldberg, Peter Robinson, Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hanson then that doesn’t give you the right to throw a temper tantrum. Good bye.

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  • thelastbrainleft

    Tucker Carlson is starting to get on my nerves. Drop the sniping at National Review NOW.

  • Noah_Pology

    Next in this series:
    “Mark Levin Hates Dogs!”
    “Rush Limbaugh Dating Maureen Dowd!”
    “Ronald Reagan, Secret Commie!”