The Same National Review That Blasted Trump PRAISED Bush, McCain & Romney’s ‘Conservatism’

Written by Wes Walker on January 25, 2016

Politics is a bloodsport! With so much on the line, it’s about winning, not playing nice. Anyone who steps into that ring to take a swing at the other guy has done so willingly, and — after having done so — will have to take the beatings as they come.

Usually, that will only mean the candidates and their teams. Occasionally, a pundit or two will step into the fray and get smoked by the other side.

This time around, the National Review got to learn this firsthand.

For the few of you that might have missed the dust-up, there is a front-running GOP candidate by the name of Donald Trump. (Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s kind of a big deal.)

The National Review (a conservative publication) has officially chosen sides against Donald Trump. They ran various reasons why they do not accept him as a good candidate, and among their criticisms is the complaint that he is not really conservative.

Frankly, during the political circus of Primary season, these criticisms are fair game. It is the job of the media to bring to light issues of significance, and to levy criticism where it is due. (If the dead-tree media had understood this, they might still be relevant today.)

But they made it personal. They aligned against one candidate. They stepped into the ring. And now, they might be wondering whether it was worth it.

If there is truth to the “there is no bad publicity” axiom, then they might make it through this unscathed. But right now, they’re taking a beating… and maybe not for the reason you think.

Is it because they aligned against Trump? Some will be angry about that, no doubt. But it’s more than that. Far more. It’s a “people in glass houses” principle.

If asked, they would probably say they took a principled stand against Trump. Let’s for a moment concede their worst fears, that it really was worst-case nightmare scenario. Imagine (for argument’s sake) Trump really were the Right’s version of Obama: a narcissistic empty suit onto which we project our own political hopes and fears, pitching a “hope and change” sloganeering angle made palatable to the Right. What then?

Then they still made a mistake. Not because they aren’t allowed to “call it like they see it” —  they absolutely can. But while the Left has a high tolerance for hypocrisy among their media, the political right does not.

By nailing their colors to the mast on this issue, they took a side. In so doing, they became part of the story. Not just who they support or oppose today. But every “principled stand” they took in earlier elections becomes part of that story.

That’s gonna hurt them, costing them credibility in this principled stand. Because their opposition to Trump is difficult to square with earlier candidates and issues they supported in times past.

Contributors who once enthusiastically supported McCain, Dubya or Romney now denounce Trump as insufficiently Conservative. It’s tough to explain why “arch-conservatives” like McCain are worthy of support, while Trump is not.

It’s hard to explain why a former Tea Party Conservative (Glenn Beck) will prefer a Bernie Sanders to Trump.

It is this writer’s belief that any candidate chosen at random from the GOP debates kids’ table would still be better suited to lead than any of the current DNC options.

It is my hope that the GOP will sort out it’s leadership quickly, so we can get on with the business of using party influence and dollars to beat up on Leftism rather than each other.

As for National Review? The free market will sort it out. People vote there, just like they do with elections. Those who love the stand they took will subscribe. Those who don’t, won’t.  They will sink or swim accordingly.

The rest of us will carry on as adults. Because that’s what Conservatives do.

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