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Monday, January 02, 2017

The year National Review committed suicide

Doug Ross has issued his "The 2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Award Winners" list, an annual thing. Much like Nascar, you read the list to see who the winners are -- and who crashed into the wall.

His three "Least Influential (i.e., The Biggest Losers of 2016)" were spectacular car crashes. Heading the list was National Review, followed by Red State, and the Weekly Standard.

Their falls from grace came from diving into Never Trump's shallow pool from the top of Trump Tower.

From Doug Ross:
Ignoring their one-sided political goose-stepping for a moment, these sites actually made incredibly poor business decisions over the course of the last year. They completely missed, then ignored, a vast readership that was desperately seeking a candidate untarnished by the poisonous corruption currently infecting both parties in Washington.
Well, we all make mistakes, do we not?

It was the preening, holier-than-though pronouncements of principle that made them so insufferable that nobody wants them back.
National Review: For the high crime of gently mocking Kevin D. Williamson, Biff Spackle and Doug Ross were both blocked by the magnanimous #NeverTrumper. Talk about an overinflated sense of self. NRO's "Against Trump" issue was ridiculous on its face; the President-Elect's cabinet selections -- arguably more conservative than anything the NRO could have dreamed up -- just make it even more ironic.
This was predictable. In one of my most popular posts of the past year, I wrote on January 22:
National Review Hoists White Flag, Defiantly Rows To Outcast Island
George Will was all gloom and doom on the Hugh Hewitt radio show this week: "If the election is Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, this will be the first election since God knows when, there was no real conservative candidate."
Meanwhile, the National Review went all in against Trump in its latest edition, drawing praise from Washington insiders. The magazine lined up 22 writers who railed against Trump, repeating the same arguments they have made the last six months, arguments which have hurt The Donald about as much as Whoopi Goldberg's threat to leave the USA. Chris Christie will help you pack.
The cover delighted Jeb Bush.

Of course, the effort was all for nought. Trump fought National Review and the rest of the Washington establishment. He won without them.

A year later, National Review no longer matters.

A few National Review contributors -- Conrad Black, who was always true to Trump -- are worth my time, but really, I do not miss them. While I roughed them up but good in "Trump the Press," the sequel will go after bigger game.

Meanwhile, Byron York and Salena Zito of the Washington Examiner are must reads. Institutions over time lurch leftward. National Review will turn 62 this year.


Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel.

For an autographed copy, email me at

Be deplorable. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. "Over time institutions lurch leftward"-- a paraphrase of O'Sullivan's law, which idea he may have gotten and modified from Robert Conquest. O'Sullivan is one of the guys nudged out by the Buckleyites over the years. One of many, many mistakes and back stabbings. The funny thing is that the rule is only supposed to apply to institutions that are not expressly right wing, so NR was supposedly innoculated against it. So we find that eternal vigilance is not only the price of peace and freedom, but also the antidote for complacency in right wing credibility. The NR guys lost respect for their base, just like the Republican establishment.

  2. Unlike the fools at NR, I think that party unity is important. My first choice was Ted Cruz, but I happily voted for Trump over Clinton, and I am quite pleased with the results!

  3. Jeb Bush is conservative? He be woke now!

  4. Victor Davis Hanson still writes for NR but he doesn't have Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    1. I like Hanson, too. Jay Nordlinger's OK most of the time.

  5. Jeb never seemed conservative. He seemed Establishment. He would not lightly make enemies... And his enemies would have been conservatives.

  6. We have seen just how conservative the Bush family has been over the years. Bush 41 squandered Reagan's legacy and lost to BJ. Bush 43 gave us compassionate conservatism. Compassionate conservatism = liberalism lite. And Jeb! is about as conservative as Crooked Cankles.

  7. Ron in Ohio Asks:

    Let's just call this an "Open letter" to all of my fellow "Deplorables" - We gotta' find a way to go beyond, "Preaching to the Choir".

    I mean, I read a lot and I send on a lot that I read to appreciative web sites and blogs, I also write a lot about my personal feelings, - BUT - That just don't seem like it's enough!

    Think about it, I mean, REALLY think about it. How do we REALLY get the "Make America Great Again" message across to those "Fence Sitters" - The "Disillusioned" - The "Aimless" - The "Brainwashed" and the Clueless"?

    Forget about how we reach those "Brain-dead"/"Unreachable"/"Singular"/"Racist"/"Polarized"/"Unthinkable"/"Liberal"/"Snowflakes" that we can NEVER touch. If we can attain this goal, they will be gone, hopefully like the dinosaurs of old, I'm wondering how we can finally make them just as extinct.

    I'm asking, how do we, as the now "Deplorables" in charge, expand our knowledge and influence for the next 4 to 8 years?

    I am really open to any and all suggestions. I believe that first, we must not become complacent and gloat over our many November victories (In order to win over those thousands of "Fence sitters"). But, we MUST expand on our winning message and with the help of the Trump administration and a finally unswerving Conservative administration, put those Liberal/Socialist in an early grave, where they belong, and truly.....


    What do you think? Without rancorous gloating and petty politics - What must we do to absolutely win over those "Fence sitters"?

    Please, answer me, I'd like to know what you think!

    1. That would persuade their friends to hate us. Not the outcome we desire. Can't get the dead to vote our way. Dems got them locked up.

    2. The establishment tried to isolate us, and in the summer I posted a few you-are-not-alone posts to counter that. People hung together and we won in November. As far as winning anyone over, after two years of opinion writing I realized that was a waste of time. I devoted the next 30+ years to simply making the case. Winning wins people over. That's what Reagan did. That's what Trump will do. The success of his programs -- not arguments we make -- will convince people.

  8. Since WFB's death, the NR hasn't been quite right. I stopped my subscription in 2008. I quit reading their web site in 2012,

    1. "the NR hasn't been quite right" I see what you did there. Nice job.

    2. I think the problem has been (in part) that the economy of contemporary journalism is such that they cannot recruit anyone particularly capable. Jonah Goldberg was their last real find. Mark Steyn, Victor Davis Hanson, Stanley Kurtz, and Mackubin Thomas Owens were all employed elsewhere and were occasional contributors only. After about 2001, they couldn't seem to find anyone new. Ramesh Ponnuru is workmanlike but dull and the rest of the younger set seemed pathetic (and have moved on to other loci and pursuits). One who stayed was Jason Lee Steorts, who is despised by the magazine's attentive readership. (His most notable contribution to the magazine has been to drive Mark Steyn off the contributors list).

      Another part of the problem is that Lowry himself is ... workmanlike. It's doubtful he has it in him anymore (if he ever did) to produce an engaging publication. The publication hasn't 'moved left'. It's gone flat.

    3. Just about the only starboard voices which have emerged de novo in the last 17 years who are worth the time would be Megan McArdle and Ross Douthat. Neither was nurtured by National Review or any other organ of the starboard press.

  9. I subscribed to NR after 9/11, and they were a valuable source for my education at that time. When they fired Ann Coulter over a provocative comment, and then John Derbyshire for being politically incorrect (but factually indisputable) I began to question NR's slant.
    Now they are essentially dead to me. What am I to do with those gorgeous cobalt blue coffee mugs I have?

    1. I have a box of back issues sitting in my barn. One of these days I'm going to go through them and save a few classics and burn the rest.

    2. Derbyshire's work wasn't 'factually indisputable' and much of it was opinion.

      The problem with Derbyshire is that he was likely employed by the magazine in much the same spirit as they employed Florence King - as an amusing diversion. He stopped being funny. The thing is, he could have and should have been cut loose in 2006, when he published in the New English Review a lunatic attack on a book published by one of the magazine's salaried editors. The charitable interpretation of Lowry's behavior is that Derbyshire stepped in it one too many times. The uncharitable interpretation is that writing stupid things offensive to orthodox Catholics is not a firing offense but writing irreverent things offensive to SJW liberals is. Because Mark Steyn is no longer a contributor and Jason Lee Steorts remains on salary as 'managing editor', it seems like the uncharitable interpretation is the more credible one.

  10. The only thing that threatened National Review is when they went from Disqus commenting to that horrible Facebook commenting system. Everything else said about them is just wish fulfillment on the part of Trumpbots.

  11. I started losing interest in NRO when their website became so graphics dense that it took forever to load and locked up frequently. It's my understanding now that they think their problem has to do with the website mechanics and not the content. If they think they got too complex, yes they did. But if they think they need more flash bang and shock and awe then they are lying to themselves. The problem is they failed to recognize that any viable opposition to Hillary was preferable to her, and in fact any viable opposition to the Democrat party was preferable. They are in the water that is NYC and don't really understand they are wet.