What Would Buckley Say?

 

National Review is not only the birthplace of the Never Trump movement, but also the “Reagan, Never Again” Reform Conservative movement. National Review without William F. Buckley isn’t National Review.

I don’t blame NR for publishing its famous “Against Trump” issue. They thought, with good reason, that Trump would push the Republican Party to further to the left than even another Bush. At the time of that issue, Trump might have actually been further to the left than he was by the time he became President.

When Trump governed as a conservative, some of the writers at NR became more sanguine about the Trump Presidency. Just like many of us at Ricochet, they changed their minds. Rich Lowry even expressed regret at having published the “Against Trump” issue. 

Now, National Review contracted TDS in a big way. You won’t find a kind word about Trump anywhere unless it’s from a guest writer like VDH or Conrad Black. 

Also, they have been silent on the voter fraud issue, which ought to matter even if there wasn’t enough to change the result. Maybe they think they will be mistaken for capital building rioters. They should relax.

I can only guess at what Buckley would think about Trump, and would likely guess wrong.

Buckley was a bit of an intellectual bad-a** in his day, and was friends with Reagan and Limbaugh when they weren’t socially acceptable. How would he have reacted to Trump? Your guess is as good as mine.

Also, what would he think of National Review today? Athwart history, anyone?

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result is specious. The opportunity for widespread, undetectable fraud introduced by mail-in voting ought to be obvious on its face. If nothing is done about that, then the Republican party will never win an election again, nor will they deserve to. It’s the last hill, gentlemen. Die on it, or die somewhere else, but you are going to die if you don’t win.

    • #1
  2. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    Percival (View Comment):

    The statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result is specious. The opportunity for widespread, undetectable fraud introduced by mail-in voting ought to be obvious on its face. If nothing is done about that, then the Republican party will never win an election again, nor will they deserve to. It’s the last hill, gentlemen. Die on it, or die somewhere else, but you are going to die if you don’t win.

    I didn’t make a statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result. On that, no one can know yet.

    There is no doubt that there was rampant voter fraud, enabled and encouraged by corrupt officials who violated their state constitutions as well as the U.S. Constitution. It was intentional, and the perpetrators laughed all the way to Inauguration Day.

    Laws need to be changed and NR’s silence on the issue is cowardly.

    The only thing we don’t know is the numbers. Anyone who says with certitude – either way – that there were or weren’t enough fraudulent votes, in enough states, to flip the election is blowing smoke.

    More investigation is needed, and sadly that isn’t likely to happen.

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    If Nancy Pelosi says the election was rigged, who are we to disagree?

     

    • #3
  4. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    NR I think tries to uphold a Cold War mentality in the Big Tech Wars of today. We must adapt to these new challenges as conservatives or risk being decimated altogether. This is repeating the same mistakes of Bush/Clinton shifts in the culture war. Establishment elites in the upper echelons wrote furiously about economic issues and unhindered free trade while our cities were sold out and the culture overrun by liberal progressives. And the people who we consider (or rather they consider themselves) as ‘thought leaders’ are often wrong. They even ran a May 1987 cover story “Reagan’s Suicide Pact” about his so-called Foreign Policy failure re Russia and the nuclear arms race. So for conversation and directional weatherveining, knowing who stands where on what is a good place to start in the conservative sphere, but it shouldn’t be the end.

    • #4
  5. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    The statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result is specious. The opportunity for widespread, undetectable fraud introduced by mail-in voting ought to be obvious on its face. If nothing is done about that, then the Republican party will never win an election again, nor will they deserve to. It’s the last hill, gentlemen. Die on it, or die somewhere else, but you are going to die if you don’t win.

    I didn’t make a statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result. On that, no one can know yet.

    There is no doubt that there was rampant voter fraud, enabled and encouraged by corrupt officials who violated their state constitutions as well as the U.S. Constitution. It was intentional, and the perpetrators laughed all the way to Inauguration Day.

    Laws need to be changed and NR’s silence on the issue is cowardly.

    The only thing we don’t know is the numbers. Anyone who says with certitude – either way – that there were or weren’t enough fraudulent votes, in enough states, to flip the election is blowing smoke.

    More investigation is needed, and sadly that isn’t likely to happen.

    Good news: If this bill passes, we’ll never need to worry about election fraud again. The Democrats can win every election by completely legal means. 

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    The statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result is specious. The opportunity for widespread, undetectable fraud introduced by mail-in voting ought to be obvious on its face. If nothing is done about that, then the Republican party will never win an election again, nor will they deserve to. It’s the last hill, gentlemen. Die on it, or die somewhere else, but you are going to die if you don’t win.

    I didn’t make a statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result. On that, no one can know yet.

    There is no doubt that there was rampant voter fraud, enabled and encouraged by corrupt officials who violated their state constitutions as well as the U.S. Constitution. It was intentional, and the perpetrators laughed all the way to Inauguration Day.

    Laws need to be changed and NR’s silence on the issue is cowardly.

    The only thing we don’t know is the numbers. Anyone who says with certitude – either way – that there were or weren’t enough fraudulent votes, in enough states, to flip the election is blowing smoke.

    More investigation is needed, and sadly that isn’t likely to happen.

    We are in violent agreement.

    • #6
  7. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Buckley would say Where Are The Men?

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    BastiatJunior: National Review without William F. Buckley isn’t National Review.

    Amen to that. I didn’t know him personally, but I can see him saying something like, “While I ahh . . . disagree with Mr. Trump’s general comportment, I find ahhh . . . his policies to be perfectly reasonable.”

    • #8
  9. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    BastiatJunior: Also, what would he think of National Review today? Athwart history, anyone?

    When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton said, “because that’s where the money is.” If a grifter is going to choose a side in the battle over Corporate Fascism, NR is siding with the Corporate Fascists, because that is where the money is.

    • #9
  10. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    What would Buckley say? Hand the Panama Canal over. And then the Chinese get it. So who cares what Buckley would say?

    • #10
  11. David March Thatcher
    David March
    @ToryWarWriter

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    The statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result is specious. The opportunity for widespread, undetectable fraud introduced by mail-in voting ought to be obvious on its face. If nothing is done about that, then the Republican party will never win an election again, nor will they deserve to. It’s the last hill, gentlemen. Die on it, or die somewhere else, but you are going to die if you don’t win.

    I didn’t make a statement that the fraud present in the election didn’t raise to the level of changing the result. On that, no one can know yet.

    There is no doubt that there was rampant voter fraud, enabled and encouraged by corrupt officials who violated their state constitutions as well as the U.S. Constitution. It was intentional, and the perpetrators laughed all the way to Inauguration Day.

    Laws need to be changed and NR’s silence on the issue is cowardly.

    The only thing we don’t know is the numbers. Anyone who says with certitude – either way – that there were or weren’t enough fraudulent votes, in enough states, to flip the election is blowing smoke.

    More investigation is needed, and sadly that isn’t likely to happen.

    You didnt make the statement, National Review has. Which is why I was very angry in my cancellation of my copy of National Review.

    Look the number of Foundations, including National Review Institute that has allowed itself to become a prisoner to either China or Big Tech (often both), has led to those organizations basically becoming corrupt.

    NRI is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers. And they hate Trump so why should we be surprised they do what their donors want.

    Not that I hate the Koch brothers, but really follow the money and you now understand why your magazines do what they do.

    • #11
  12. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Buckley never lived up to Buckley. NR’s stated goal was to stand athwart history, yelling “stop!” Even in Buckley’s lifetime it was more or less, “Slow down, we’ll get there eventually…”

    The magazine has clearly failed to live up to its mission statement.

    The century’s most blatant force of satanic utopianism is communism. We consider “coexistence” with communism neither desirable nor possible, nor honorable; we find ourselves irrevocably at war with communism and shall oppose any substitute for victory.

    But please! Let’s not talk about trade wars with China! Let’s talk about cheap trinkets, rising personal incomes in China and Vietnam and all the other authoritarian regimes we outsource to.

    The most alarming single danger to the American political system lies in the fact that an identifiable team of Fabian operators is bent on controlling both our major political parties (under the sanction of such fatuous and unreasoned slogans as “national unity,” “middle-of-the-road,” “progressivism,” and “bipartisanship.”) 

    Also known as “The Conservative Case for…” electing Joe Biden.

    No superstition has more effectively bewitched America’s Liberal elite than the fashionable concepts of world government, the United Nations, internationalism, international atomic pools, etc. Perhaps the most important and readily demonstrable lesson of history is that freedom goes hand in hand with a state of political decentralization, that remote government is irresponsible government. It would make greater sense to grant independence to each of our 50 states than to surrender U.S. sovereignty to a world organization.

    Internationalism? Like wars that have no definition of victory? A slavish devotion to NATO? The WTO? 

    • #12
  13. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    I’ve been estranged from NR for years now so its difficult to even muster any additional scorn for them. There are still a few writers I’ll occasionally read on other sites but NR is essentially a spent & irrelevant force.

    It’s the ‘Time’ and ‘Newsweek’ of the Right.

     

    • #13
  14. Repdad Coolidge
    Repdad
    @Repmodad

    BastiatJunior: Now, National Review contracted TDS in a big way. You won’t find a kind word about Trump anywhere unless it’s from a guest writer like VDH or Conrad Black. 

    “You won’t find a kind word about Trump in National Review, except in the articles they publish that include kind words about Trump.” 

    The ratio of kind to unkind words about Trump in NR is probably higher than the ratio of unkind to kind words about Trump on Ricochet. 

    • #14
  15. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    If there was one article of any length attacking the incitement/impeachment narrative, I missed it. That’s a problem. Well, it’s a problem if there was only one.

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    David March (View Comment):
    NRI is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers. And they hate Trump so why should we be surprised they do what their donors want.

    I was gonna say George Soros, but the Koch brothers makes more sense . . .

    • #16
  17. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Stad (View Comment):

    David March (View Comment):
    NRI is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers. And they hate Trump so why should we be surprised they do what their donors want.

    I was gonna say George Soros, but the Koch brothers makes more sense . . .

    We’re down to Koch brother.

    • #17
  18. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Stad (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior: National Review without William F. Buckley isn’t National Review.

    Amen to that. I didn’t know him personally, but I can see him saying something like, “While I ahh . . . disagree with Mr. Trump’s general comportment, I find ahhh . . . his policies to be perfectly reasonable.”

    I would guess he’d say what he said about Shrub: He has some conservative instincts, but he is not a conservative. 

    • #18
  19. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What would Buckley say? Hand the Panama Canal over. And then the Chinese get it. So who cares what Buckley would say?

    IIRC, WFB vehemently opposed turning the canal over to Panama. Did I miss something back in ’79?

    • #19
  20. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    BastiatJunior: Also, what would he think of National Review today? Athwart history, anyone?

    Yelling “don’t stop!”

    • #20
  21. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What would Buckley say? Hand the Panama Canal over. And then the Chinese get it. So who cares what Buckley would say?

    WFB was for the Panama Canal treaty and Reagan was against it. This is one of their few differences of opinion. See the article about a debate they had in January 1978. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/01/24/the-canal-debate/43b772f5-beab-48ba-bb43-25aa5782302a/

    • #21
  22. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What would Buckley say? Hand the Panama Canal over. And then the Chinese get it. So who cares what Buckley would say?

    IIRC, WFB vehemently opposed turning the canal over to Panama. Did I miss something back in ’79?

    Nope. See above comment. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/01/24/the-canal-debate/43b772f5-beab-48ba-bb43-25aa5782302a/

    • #22
  23. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    Johan when he was editor of National Review Online was when it was in its hey day. There various blogs were more useful and informative than their tradition articles. That slowly fell away (it was a trend across the internet in General) to pretty much nothing when you read how sad the The Corner is compared to what it was.

    I think the man problem with National review is their conflict of interest. Per VDH so many of the staff have spouses or they themselves have huge financial stakes in the Republican establishment which they don’t disclose. When who paid their bills wentafter Trump they went with who their supports were not principles. It was that corruptions I think at the root cause of their failings. Plus I just find their articles boring and not that information like they were in the Bush years and thru some of the Obama years.

    I mean the only informative pieces that came out of them in the last 4 years was Andrew McCarthies pieces on Russian Gate. He and Mollie Hemingway had by far the best coverage of that scandal. Granted every time I would go to the site there was a lot fewer pieces and none of them were that interesting, so maybe there was some other good pieces hidden in all that. However I just gave up.

    I know all publication are suffering but its sad how we really don’t have any good conservative publication. Brientbart is a sick monstrosity of what it once was and is just a Tabloid, National Review has become corrupted and so much less principled no longer calling balls and strikes, and the Weekly Standard went out of business.

    Most of the new video news sites/channels are just partisan not very principled in their coverage. They are for Republicans not Conservative thought. National Review claims that but its clear relationships matter more to them than first principles. However that is true for a vast majority of Elected Republicans and their entourage on the national Scene.

    All we have now is pundants who get old real fast. No real conservative journalist publications. Even the Washington Free Beacon is about that best but that is more a traditional political newspaper. It has some good stuff but they are Pro-Republican much more than pro Classic Liberal.

    • #23
  24. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Lowery’s handling of the NR arc over the past five years has been interesting, in that the magazine was strongly against Trump in the period from mid-2015 to late-2017, then started backing off for the next few years, as Rich saw either that or going full Weekly Standard were the options for the magazine (when Bill Kristol in late November of that year was getting the vapors that Trump and t he GOP-run Congress were passing tax cuts).

    It’s also the period when NR was attempting to square the circle with Trump’s personality and Trump’s actions in office, including Lowery’s own book attempting to justify some type of softer nationalism. Jonah Goldberg said things like that didn’t play into his decision to leave the magazine and create The Dispatch, but he and Lowery did have debates over Rich’s thesis, which given the magazine’s attitude over the past three weeks, seems to have had more grounding in NR’s balance sheets than any true ideological reexamination.

    Aside from Jonah, David French left in 2018 time period, Kevin Williamson tried to leave, but the cancel culture types at The Atlantic got hold of a Ricochet Podcast and wouldn’t have him, and Lowery cut off running outside syndicated columns from people like Jonah and George Will, who was dropped early last year just prior to his call for voters to put the Democrats in control of both the White House and Congress (George’s 2021-22 columns ought to be interesting now that he’s gotten his wish). So there was something of an effort to try and soften NR’s #NT image, which all was tossed out the window over the past couple of weeks, apparently based on the idea if Trump can be impeached and prevented from running again in 2024, Trumpism will be over.

    How they think the GOP base is going to take to that if NR backs Trump’s post-presidential impeachment — which even John Roberts won’t participate in — is another story.

    • #24
  25. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What would Buckley say? Hand the Panama Canal over. And then the Chinese get it. So who cares what Buckley would say?

    WFB was for the Panama Canal treaty and Reagan was against it. This is one of their few differences of opinion. See the article about a debate they had in January 1978. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/01/24/the-canal-debate/43b772f5-beab-48ba-bb43-25aa5782302a/

    i.e., Reagan was America First. Unlike Buckley.

    • #25
  26. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    We have to learn from history, but we can’t replicate it. It requires the best values and judgement applied as well as we can. Rejecting them because they don’t replicate what our guy said or did over thirty years ago in radically different circumstances, or are said by someone we don’t like for other reasons doesn’t rise to intellectual honesty.

    • #26
  27. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What would Buckley say? Hand the Panama Canal over. And then the Chinese get it. So who cares what Buckley would say?

    IIRC, WFB vehemently opposed turning the canal over to Panama. Did I miss something back in ’79?

    Nope. See above comment. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/01/24/the-canal-debate/43b772f5-beab-48ba-bb43-25aa5782302a/

    Thanks for the link Gary. Looks like I misremembered that.

    • #27
  28. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What would Buckley say? Hand the Panama Canal over. And then the Chinese get it. So who cares what Buckley would say?

    WFB was for the Panama Canal treaty and Reagan was against it. This is one of their few differences of opinion. See the article about a debate they had in January 1978. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/01/24/the-canal-debate/43b772f5-beab-48ba-bb43-25aa5782302a/

    i.e., Reagan was America First. Unlike Buckley.

    Buckley caught some flack for his answer to the comment that he cared more about the Catholic church than about America. He paused for a moment and said something like, “I wouldn’t be much of a Catholic if I didn’t.” I thought it was a reasonable response. 

    • #28
  29. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Stad (View Comment):

    David March (View Comment):
    NRI is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers. And they hate Trump so why should we be surprised they do what their donors want.

    I was gonna say George Soros, but the Koch brothers makes more sense . . .

    Kock Brother. One of them croaked.

    • #29
  30. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    What would Buckley say? Hand the Panama Canal over. And then the Chinese get it. So who cares what Buckley would say?

    IIRC, WFB vehemently opposed turning the canal over to Panama. Did I miss something back in ’79?

    Nope. See above comment. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/01/24/the-canal-debate/43b772f5-beab-48ba-bb43-25aa5782302a/

    Thanks for the link Gary. Looks like I misremembered that.

    You are welcome! I read a book about letters between WFB and Reagan. At the end of Buckley’s letters, he would remind Reagan that Buckley was right. Reagan’s response letter would say at its end, “It’s our canal, and we’re going to keep it!”

    • #30