The Sad Saga of Max Boot

 

I worked with Max Boot at Commentary Magazine for a few years, not in the office and not directly, but I would promote his work when it appeared on our blog. I would always joke (but not really joke) that there was never a war that Max Boot didn’t want to start. Boot’s work was the only material on the blog I consistently disagreed with and disliked, in large part because it was so trigger-happy.

It’s been strange watching Boot’s evolution into just another “woke” newspaper columnist; his shtick is so tired by now, what exactly does he offer?

The cadre of “woke” former “conservatives” is growing larger, and each has less and less intellectual honesty than the last.

It’s so profoundly dishonest, it’s still somewhat surprising to see a newspaper as large and as storied as the Washington Post would run such a screed by a man who clearly didn’t read the entire column he’s responding to,

And not only did the Post run Boot’s piece, but CNN’s Anderson Cooper even had him on his show to whine about it too,

National Review’s editor Rich Lowry responded,

My husband commented:

And on this, I’m going to have to disagree.

Proof that National Review hasn’t been “Trumpified” is evidenced by NR’s response to what amounts to Boot’s slander; if it had been truly “Trumpified” NR would be hitting back. Hard. And they should. Trump’s election for many on the Right was proof that the base is sick of being abused by those in the mainstream media and left (but I repeat myself). And we should be sick of it. Being polite in the face of being called white supremacists is how we got Trump, and on this front, maybe we needed him. It’s time to stop being polite.

The left calls the President a white supremacist until they’re blue in the face, and they are astounded that the accusations don’t resonate with a majority of Americans. If they had learned any lessons from Trump’s election, Boot wouldn’t be smearing National Review and John Hirschauer and Dan McLaughlin (the authors of the pieces Boot is criticizing).

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There are 131 comments.

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  1. James Gawron Thatcher

    Bethany,

    This is what I call the Woodstock envy syndrome. It usually involves very shallow opportunists who started life as pseudo-conservatives. They always envied the sex, drugs, and rock & roll that they assumed the left-wing was providing. Now with the total control of the media by the left, large salaries at formerly prestigious publications (now just left-wing rags), provide additional incentive.

    Boot is disgusting.

    Regards,

    • #1
    • August 14, 2019, at 10:49 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Unsk Member

    I once read one of Max Boot’s novels many years ago ( I can’t remember which) thinking his commentary had been at that time relevant, but the novel promoted some fairly racist ideas which appalled me. I think Max, like many of his “woke” colleagues is an self promoting opportunist following wherever he thinks will lead him to fame, favor and fortune. 

    • #2
    • August 14, 2019, at 10:56 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Stad Thatcher

    I still like National Review, but an article in the latest issue did mention support for business to provide a “living wage” to all its employees. “Living wage” is leftist liberal code for “more than the job is worth”, and no business can survive (i.e. make a profit) if it prices its good and services out of what the market will support.

    • #3
    • August 14, 2019, at 11:14 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Columbo Member

    Thank you at @bethanymandel. You have appropriately described the righteous anger many of us have felt for some time now at these egotistical, narcissistic, self-centered blowhards. The Bul**** is bul*****.

    • #4
    • August 14, 2019, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. Bill Nelson Member

    Sometimes people change. Sometimes a lot, sometimes in smaller degrees. And unless you know the real reasons why, it is difficult to assess.

    I did not know Mr. Boot’s work prior nor since and have no opinion.

    I have, however, read Michael Medved’s “Right Turns” which describes his change from left to right. Interesting. Also a good read is Stephen Ambrose’s “To America”, where he also describes his turn from left to right, for different reasons and at a different time in his life.

    Coming out and bashing the right used to be profitable. But it is such a crowded market. And, unlike the Dixie Chicks, you have to know your market.

    • #5
    • August 14, 2019, at 11:43 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. rgbact Member

     Calling being anti-Trump…. “being woke” now? Geez. Talk about being Trumpified. Just defend your orange hero and lighten up on the lame strawmen.

    Anyway, I’ve never thought Boot was much of a conservative……but I’m not even sure what the argument here is. Just some low grade Never Trump bashing it seems. Oh, and sticking your chest out about Trump not being a white supremacist. Oh yeah, run with that winner.

    • #6
    • August 14, 2019, at 11:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. OldPhil Coolidge

    Proof that National Review hasn’t been “Trumpified” is evidenced by NR’s response to what amounts to Boot’s slander; if it had been truly “Trumpified” NR would be hitting back.

    See Charlie Cooke’s piece at 1:21 PM…especially the last graph. Ooooweee.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/max-boots-dishonesty/

    • #7
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:07 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. James Lileks Contributor

    rgbact (View Comment):
    but I’m not even sure what the argument here is. Just some low grade Never Trump bashing it seems. Oh, and sticking your chest out about Trump not being a white supremacist. Oh yeah, run with that winner.

    The argument concerns the sudden dire imperative to ascribe everything that opposes a leftist / statist agenda as “white supremacy,” and the imposition of identity politics on every issue. No one cares if Boot is NeverTrump, but I care if NR is now a “white supremacist” journal, particularly if excitable idiots judge me not for what I say, but where I say it. 

    • #8
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 29 likes
  9. Columbo Member

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Proof that National Review hasn’t been “Trumpified” is evidenced by NR’s response to what amounts to Boot’s slander; if it had been truly “Trumpified” NR would be hitting back.

    See Charlie Cooke’s piece at 1:21 PM…especially the last graph. Ooooweee.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/max-boots-dishonesty/

    Thanks for sharing that. Yes, Boot/Kristol/et. al., when you’ve lost Charles C.W. Cooke, you’ve lost.

    • #9
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Joseph Stocks Member

    For being a conservative current events magazine, National Review, has shown a stunning lack of awareness. The movement on the left is to call anyone who supported Trump or tangentially supports a sliver of his agenda to be a white nationalist. That those of National Review didn’t see this coming is more of an indictment of them. 

    And I think the reason for this was the snarky treatment that National Review gave to deplatformed voices like Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnis, Steven Crowder, and the Proud Boys (among many others). It was seen that these voices didn’t really count and National Review was somehow the respectable journal of conservatism and all the while those voices I mentioned along with people like Ace from the Aceofspades blog were saying that the White Nationalist charge is coming for you next National Review. You can wave your ‘Case Against Trump’ issue all the way to the gulag. 

    So, welcome to the exile National Review, now you know how most conservatives have felt the past three years.

    • #10
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:18 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  11. RufusRJones Member

    I completely respect anti-Trump views that are conservative, but informed by libertarianism. Jonah Goldberg. Kevin Williamson.

    Max boot is in the crowd that just loves “experts” running excessively centralized power “conservatively.” Well, all of that has gotten highly dysfunctional. The last chance to fix it was 20 or 30 years ago. So those types are very upset. They have no place to be.

    ***edit***

    The last paragraph is best characterized by those “conservatives” that started associating with that kooky Niskanin Center. They signed some pledge and tried to make a great big public deal out of it.

    • #11
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:19 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  12. Percival Thatcher

    Either Max Boot didn’t read the piece,or he didn’t comprehend it. Maybe the fedora is too tight and cut off blood flow to the brain. Two years is too long to maintain an anti-Trump hissy-fit.

    • #12
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:23 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. OldPhil Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    rgbact (View Comment):
    but I’m not even sure what the argument here is. Just some low grade Never Trump bashing it seems. Oh, and sticking your chest out about Trump not being a white supremacist. Oh yeah, run with that winner.

    The argument concerns the sudden dire imperative to ascribe everything that opposes a leftist / statist agenda as “white supremacy,” and the imposition of identity politics on every issue. No one cares if Boot is NeverTrump, but I care if NR is now a “white supremacist” journal, particularly if excitable idiots judge me not for what I say, but where I say it.

    The highlighted line is really all you need to see.

    • #13
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:29 PM PDT
    • Like
  14. Percival Thatcher

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    See Charlie Cooke’s piece at 1:21 PM…especially the last graph. Ooooweee.

    Ouch. That’ll leave a mark.

    • #14
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Joseph Stocks Member

    People are missing the point. Boot wasn’t seriously making an argument, he was just casting the first stone in labeling National Review as ‘white supremacist.’ This lie will makes its way all through mainstream media and into social media. And now you have a publication that, morally, (and legally to these liberal jackwads), needs to be silenced. 

    This is what happened to other voices and National Review didn’t lift a finger to defend them and now they are getting worried. 

    • #15
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:34 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  16. Columbo Member

    Joseph Stocks (View Comment):

    People are missing the point. Boot wasn’t seriously making an argument, he was just casting the first stone in labeling National Review as ‘white supremacist.’ This lie will makes its way all through mainstream media and into social media. And now you have a publication that, morally, (and legally to these liberal jackwads), needs to be silenced.

    This is what happened to other voices and National Review didn’t lift a finger to defend them and now they are getting worried.

    Don’t look now, but google is now lumping in Ricochet with Rush Limbaugh!

    I blame credit @drewinwisconsin.

    • #16
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:51 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  17. rgbact Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    rgbact (View Comment):
    but I’m not even sure what the argument here is. Just some low grade Never Trump bashing it seems. Oh, and sticking your chest out about Trump not being a white supremacist. Oh yeah, run with that winner.

    The argument concerns the sudden dire imperative to ascribe everything that opposes a leftist / statist agenda as “white supremacy,” and the imposition of identity politics on every issue. No one cares if Boot is NeverTrump, but I care if NR is now a “white supremacist” journal,

     

    I can’t read the WaPo. piece. But “ascribing everything that opposes a leftist/statist agenda as white supremacy” just sounds like more lame strawmen. I’m guessing there was more to the WaPo piece than just that. So, I’m still searching for a real argument in this thread….and not just name calling.

    • #17
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:51 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Joseph Stocks Member

    @columbo,

    Yep, this is normalizing the belief that all people who are not left are White Nationalist. National Review is just one of the last to be eaten. 

    • #18
    • August 14, 2019, at 1:05 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  19. rgbact Member

    Columbo (View Comment):

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/max-boots-dishonesty/

    Thanks. Charlie’s article is probably the only substance in this thread right now.

    Looks like Boot said that NR had “flirted with the “great replacement” theory espoused by the El Paso gunman”. Then he went on to say NR had a terrible record on Jim Crow and Apartheid.

    I can’t comment on the latter accusations (and I haven’t read the EL Paso freak’s manifesto)….but seems silly to blame NR for the guy following mainstream politics and killing people for it. The Democrats have been crowing about the “great replacement” for 2 decades now. This isn’t some fringe 4chan idea. So, stupid argument from Max Boot. But, this doesn’t make him “woke”.

    • #19
    • August 14, 2019, at 1:13 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Joseph Stocks Member

    Wow @romanblichar you cracked the code. Boot’s argument was a bad one. We all knew that. You missed Bethany’s point at the end her post. This isn’t about the substance of Boot’s argument, it’s about all of conservatism being painted as White Nationalist (and I would add National Review being the latest to the party not realizing the left’s intentions). 

    • #20
    • August 14, 2019, at 1:24 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. Henry Castaigne Member

    I’ve been reading National Review cover to cover for about a decade. I quit around two years ago to read more on Ricochet and City-Journal. It’s always been pro-immigrant enforcement but it has always rejected any of the racialist nonsense that the far-right spews. They even got rid of John Derbyshire over it and he was one of their funniest writers and one of the few writers who knows anything about science. I know some Ricochet has some big disagreements with National Review but far-right racist nonsense it is not.

    Also, Charlie Cook’s response was brilliant and thank Oxford that someone is finally realizing what a fool Romeo Montague from Shakespeare is.

    • #21
    • August 14, 2019, at 1:34 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  22. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    I view Boot’s “conversion” the same way I view Joshua Harris’ or Max Sampson’s renunciation of Christianity: either your belief was rooted on a bad premise or you never really were interested in the beliefs but rather how the beliefs made you feel or how it positioned you.

    One can wake up with doubts, but to do a complete 180? That’s not a questioning of your values, that’s thinking you’re an imposter.

    Is it possible that we’re experiencing something akin in political and religious life on the right to the rise of identity maladaptive coping mechanisms on the left. For example, it has been theorized the rise in transgenderism is not necessarily because we as a society are more accepting of transgenderism or because a higher percentage of people have gender dysphoria, but rather certain people get needs met through the feelings of peer support, prestige, and identity by coming out transgender.

    “I’m not like *those* Christians” or “I’m not like *those* people on the right” is no longer good enough in cancel culture. If one is to be part of the culture, one must say “I was never really with them”

     

    • #22
    • August 14, 2019, at 2:37 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  23. Kozak Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    rgbact (View Comment):
    but I’m not even sure what the argument here is. Just some low grade Never Trump bashing it seems. Oh, and sticking your chest out about Trump not being a white supremacist. Oh yeah, run with that winner.

    The argument concerns the sudden dire imperative to ascribe everything that opposes a leftist / statist agenda as “white supremacy,” and the imposition of identity politics on every issue. No one cares if Boot is NeverTrump, but I care if NR is now a “white supremacist” journal, particularly if excitable idiots judge me not for what I say, but where I say it.

    White nationalists could have firearms taken under red flag law proposed by Kamala Harris

     

    • #23
    • August 14, 2019, at 2:40 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Kozak Member

    rgbact (View Comment):
    can’t read the WaPo. piece. But “ascribing everything that opposes a leftist/statist agenda as white supremacy” just sounds like more lame strawmen. I’m guessing there was more to the WaPo piece than just that. So, I’m still searching for a real argument in this thread….and not just name calling.

    Nice fact based argument you got there.

    • #24
    • August 14, 2019, at 2:41 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. EDISONPARKS Member

    Say what you will about the Max Boot of today, his portrayal of insurance salesman Ned Ryerson in the film Groundhog Day remains legendary:

    It is believed this was the period where Max decided to sport his signature fedora.

    • #25
    • August 14, 2019, at 3:15 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  26. Franco Member

    Nice to see the Mandel’s catching up with the rest of us. (Sorta?) This reads like something Trump supporters were writing three years ago. Never mind the subject and particulars. It’s the same story.

    Once you see it you can’t un-see it. 

    This doesn’t mean you’re accepted into the club Bethany. We are wary of accepting girls ( metaphorically speaking).

     

    • #26
    • August 14, 2019, at 4:02 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  27. Petty Boozswha Member

    Two things can be true at the same time. I agree Boot and Jen Rubin have gone completely off the rails. I’ll even concede that Bill Kristol and Charlie Sykes sometimes let their purblind hatred of Trump cloud their judgment. If you’ve been a persecuted Trump supporter I understand why you would indulge in some chest pounding on these issues. But I still feel there is a Remnant of sincere Republicans that are NeverTrump for the right reasons. A generation from now our children will ask us why we capitulated to supporting a man with less integrity, character or trustworthiness than Jussie Smolett. I’d love to read or hear Bethany [one of my favorite commentators] address that question. If she has written a response to Trump’s character issues that amounts to more than a “meh” I haven’t seen it.

    • #27
    • August 14, 2019, at 4:17 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. filmklassik Member

    rgbact (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/max-boots-dishonesty/

    Thanks. Charlie’s article is probably the only substance in this thread right now.

    Looks like Boot said that NR had “flirted with the “great replacement” theory espoused by the El Paso gunman”. Then he went on to say NR had a terrible record on Jim Crow and Apartheid.

    I can’t comment on the latter accusations (and I haven’t read the EL Paso freak’s manifesto)….but seems silly to blame NR for the guy following mainstream politics and killing people for it. The Democrats have been crowing about the “great replacement” for 2 decades now. This isn’t some fringe 4chan idea. So, stupid argument from Max Boot. But, this doesn’t make him “woke”.

    Uh huh. Does this? (It’s from Boot’s most recent book)

    ”In 1964, the GOP ceased to be the party of Lincoln and became the party of Southern whites. As I now look back with the clarity of hindsight, I am convinced that coded racial appeals had at least as much, if not more, to do with the electoral success of the modern Republican Party than all of the domestic and foreign policy proposals crafted by well-intentioned analysts like me. This is what liberals have been saying for decades. I never believed them.”

    He never believed them. But now he does. I would love to know how a paragraph like this gets written by anybody who isn’t “woke.”

    • #28
    • August 14, 2019, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  29. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    rgbact (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/max-boots-dishonesty/

    Thanks. Charlie’s article is probably the only substance in this thread right now.

    Looks like Boot said that NR had “flirted with the “great replacement” theory espoused by the El Paso gunman”. Then he went on to say NR had a terrible record on Jim Crow and Apartheid.

    I can’t comment on the latter accusations (and I haven’t read the EL Paso freak’s manifesto)….but seems silly to blame NR for the guy following mainstream politics and killing people for it. The Democrats have been crowing about the “great replacement” for 2 decades now. This isn’t some fringe 4chan idea. So, stupid argument from Max Boot. But, this doesn’t make him “woke”.

    Uh huh. Does this? (It’s from Boot’s most recent book)

    ”In 1964, the GOP ceased to be the party of Lincoln and became the party of Southern whites. As I now look back with the clarity of hindsight, I am convinced that coded racial appeals had at least as much, if not more, to do with the electoral success of the modern Republican Party than all of the domestic and foreign policy proposals crafted by well-intentioned analysts like me. This is what liberals have been saying for decades. I never believed them.”

    He never believed them. But now he does. I would love to know how a paragraph like this gets written by anybody who isn’t “woke.”

    Prejudice against Southern whites seems like a recurring element among those with Trump Derangement Syndrome. The most common indicator is the assumption that, along with Trump being racist, white Southerners were his original support base…..despite the fact that Trump generally performed better in Northern primaries.

    • #29
    • August 14, 2019, at 5:48 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  30. filmklassik Member

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    rgbact (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/max-boots-dishonesty/

    Thanks. Charlie’s article is probably the only substance in this thread right now.

    Looks like Boot said that NR had “flirted with the “great replacement” theory espoused by the El Paso gunman”. Then he went on to say NR had a terrible record on Jim Crow and Apartheid.

    I can’t comment on the latter accusations (and I haven’t read the EL Paso freak’s manifesto)….but seems silly to blame NR for the guy following mainstream politics and killing people for it. The Democrats have been crowing about the “great replacement” for 2 decades now. This isn’t some fringe 4chan idea. So, stupid argument from Max Boot. But, this doesn’t make him “woke”.

    Uh huh. Does this? (It’s from Boot’s most recent book)

    ”In 1964, the GOP ceased to be the party of Lincoln and became the party of Southern whites. As I now look back with the clarity of hindsight, I am convinced that coded racial appeals had at least as much, if not more, to do with the electoral success of the modern Republican Party than all of the domestic and foreign policy proposals crafted by well-intentioned analysts like me. This is what liberals have been saying for decades. I never believed them.”

    He never believed them. But now he does. I would love to know how a paragraph like this gets written by anybody who isn’t “woke.”

    Prejudice against Southern whites seems like a recurring element among those with Trump Derangement Syndrome. The most common indicator is the assumption that, along with Trump being racist, white Southerners were his original support base…..despite the fact that Trump generally performed better in Northern primaries.

    You’re talking about Donald Trump when Boot was talking about the entire Republican Party, as a body, since 1964. Read his paragraph again. He is saying that the long-held Progressive belief about the GOP is correct: That for the last 50 years the GOP has not only been infected with racism, it has actually thrived on it. Indeed, according to Boot, it is racism that has allowed the GOP to grow.

    That’s his belief about half the country. And we’re supposed to believe he hasn’t guzzled the “woke” Kool Aid.

    • #30
    • August 14, 2019, at 6:01 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
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