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Friday, September 09, 2016

National Review's olive branch

Readers know that I have said Donald Trump is solely responsible for the outcome of this election. Never Trump cannot stop him. He is in the catbird seat. The election is a referendum on him. But readers should also know that some Never Trumpers -- particularly those with bylines in the National Review -- crossed a line, and must make amends. Insulting Trump is a given, but insulting his voters requires an apology.

I will explain the insult later, but first my review of the cover of the National Review. The illustration is interesting. If Hillary is shredding the Constitution, what does that mean if you don't do everything to stop her?

In the top right corner, the magazine promotes a Reihan Salam piece spelling out selling immigration restriction. The magazine supported border control long before Trump entered the race. By the way, last year Salam provided a great insight into Trump, which I use in my book. The book is not just about how the press got it wrong, but I also show the positive side of Trump that the press missed, of course balanced by the problems in his life. I tried to balance things.

So that is an olive branch to Trump supporters.

Of course, unlike the National Review over the years, Trump seems to have little trouble selling the idea of border control to the public; it is the media that has the closed mind.

The top left corner promotes a piece that is "Against the Post-National Elite."

Would that not be the staff of the National Review? For more than a year now, the magazine has portrayed Trump as a xenophobic, Know-Nothing racist, and his supporters as uneducated bumpkins. But the magazine staff and the think-tank gunners it gives byline to are not elites. They are snobs. They are not very good at their job when it comes to thinking, but are very dandy in hurling barbs.

Which brings me to the racist "Father Fuhrer" piece by Kevin Williamson, which portrayed people in small white rural towns as welfare-cheating drug addicts. From my book:
Williamson left Amarillo, Texas, as a young man for college and began his journalism career later in Mumbai, India. Change the location of his essay to Mumbai and “the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog” would have been less acceptable. Change the location to Ferguson, Missouri, and the National Review would have dumped Williamson just as it did John Derbyshire in 2013. The donors who kept the publication alive would not countenance certain racial prejudices.
To paraphrase Sowell in 2008, Williamson was part of a long tradition of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for his purposes, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings. He mocked people who received disability checks for on-the-job injuries and the like.
So no, the National Review cannot knock Hillary a few times -- or even endorse Trump -- and expect things to be as they once were. Readers know the staff's thinking; David A. French wrote a piece defending Williamson. There has to be some outreach here. There has to be something more than an olive branch or two. 

Or maybe not. Maybe we just forgive and forget and move on. Butt-hurt does no one any good.

So what does the National Review have to offer conservatism? What new ideas does it have? Smaller government? Well, Trump is considering eliminating three Cabinet agencies (Commerce, Education, and Labor). Tax cuts? Well, Trump plans to offer a plan with sufficient spending cuts to balance the budget in a few years. Appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court? Trump gave such a list last spring. Free trade? Trump's for that, he just wants China to live up to its end of the bargain.

The political differences are minor. Many Never Trumpers made it personal, hurling juvenile insults and then crying foul when Trump calls them out.

The "Against Trump" edition in January was one thing. That was in the primary season. The failure to accept Trump's nomination in a sportsmanlike manner was childish and eroded the magazine's credibility.

As a marketing tool, well, now it smells of failure.

This new edition comes as Trump rises in the polls, and the plan to defeat him and take back the Republican Party looks like a long shot. Most conservatives back Trump; 71 percent according to the CNN poll of September 1-4. And no, the ones who don't do not necessarily oppose Trump. Most of them have not chosen a candidate.

So forgive and forget, as this is as close to eating crow as the National Review will get. Like the global warming crowd, these snobs will never admit their error.

Their problem, not mine. But it is entertaining.

And if they are jumping on the Trump Train, I'll scoot over.


My new book on how the media blew the Republican nomination, "Trump the Press: Don Surber's take on how the pundits blew the 2016 Republican race," is now on sale. It is a fun book that you can read in one setting.

Please purchase "Trump the Press" through Create Space. It is a subsidiary of Amazon.

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  1. Maybe we just forgive and forget and move on.

    I think most of us--former NR readers, that is--forgot them months ago, but there's no chance of a reconciliation, not even if they come crawling on a carpet of broken glass--some things cannot be forgiven.

    1. My sentiments EXACTLY! This is a binary election, and anything done to trash Trump enables Shrillary. Period - and unforgivable!

  2. I often go to Amarillo and have seen neither statues of Williamson nor signs proclaiming Amarillo as his hometown. West Texas occasionally produces some turds, but we don't brag about it.

  3. I stopped reading NR sometime during the primaries and I can't imagine ever going back. There are plenty of other, better places, than NR to get political commentary

  4. Maybe they are becoming more afraid that a President Hillary may have the IRS and FBI look into their sweet little setup at National Review. - Elric

  5. Did you see the NR article by Christian Schneider? He wrote about the Comedy Central Rob Lowe roast where the participants used the occasion to instead call Ann Coulter a c**t repeatedly. Schneiders response was to accuse Coulter of damaging the Conservative brand by being humorless to the crude attacks.

    Excuse me but the hell with NR and their writers.

  6. NR's problem is that the anti-Trump campaign revealed its writers to be very, very obtuse. Where I come from, that's an unrecoverable state. Hell, obtuseness I can find anywhere. I want to see insight, perception, imagination, originality; alone or in combination, but all constrained by honesty and integrity. And NR just can't deliver. Not with the staff it has now.

  7. Stopped subscription at least ten years ago. Pot snobbery then was the cause. I got a copy after Buckley died, not because I respected him as a person but because of the history involved. The rag couldn't be more irrelevant to me.

    1. Trump gave 'em the choice of having their heads counted now or kicked later. They've made their choice.

  8. By the way, I posted this on the appropriate blog article: The Weekly Standard, RedState, and National Review all have responses to "The Flight 93 Election" and each one ignores the entire argument, instead merely noting the Flight 93 metaphor and arguing against it.


  10. Some cartoon. I've seen horses with a bigger one than that.

    This blog is a classy joint, so you can assume I'm referring to her dentition if you like.

  11. Hope the book is doing well, Don. I'm beginning to suspect your unfailing Trump promotion is designed to sell copies. ;-)

  12. Frankly that illustration makes her look great compared to her real appearance. If you can't even do political caricature right, you're really lost your way.

  13. "And if they are jumping on the Trump Train, I'll scoot over." I trust you will mock the Hell out of them!

    1. We will have a fun ride, won't we, regardless if the pouters come or not