After some fanfare and promises from the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol that his independent #NeverTrump candidate would be an “impressive one,” the wait is over, and the mockery begins. It doesn’t seem to matter that his candidate, National Review writer David French, is actually fairly impressive. He is an Iraq war veteran and a consistently strong conservative voice on the national stage, after all. But the announcement has been met with universal joking and derision. Not nearly enough, I would claim. So here, let me add to the smoldering pyre of Kristol’s humiliation. He certainly deserves it.
The Atlantic magazine piled on right away with a bit of praise for French while listing off a host of reasons why “French meets none” of the criteria for a winning candidate. They pointed out that almost no one would actually vote for French except for “French’s peers” in the journalist community. They went on to state flatly that the only rational reason for putting forward this candidate was to ease the consciences of the #NeverTrump crowd, giving them a chance to say: “Don’t blame me, I voted for French.” That’s pretty harsh. I would actually be more harsh, pointing out that this whole thing is an exercise in overt support of Hillary Clinton, and I don’t view that as an honorable thing at all.
Derision has come from both the right and the left as the folly of this effort becomes obvious to everyone. Clearly, the Trump supporters are laughing. The Clinton camp is probably breaking out the champagne if not actually considering an offer to fund French. But even at MSNBC, Mika Brzezinski stated on air that Bill Kristol “needs to take a vacation — no, like a long one,” she said. Indeed.
Long after the belly laughs fade, and poor David French withdraws in relief after surviving the hazards of a token Presidential run for a few weeks or months, I think we need to take a lesson from this. I believe that the ‘madness’ of Bill Kristol is actually the tip of the iceberg at the National Review, and we need to acknowledge the extent of the power-mad echo chamber that these men and women have been preserving there for decades. Ultimately, I think the whole enterprise, though nominally conservative, perhaps only neo-conservative, has been a sham all along.
Does anybody remember the way that the Review’s founder, William F. Buckley, Jr., openly bragged about creating the candidate Barry Goldwater and pushing him to just short of Presidential victory? Actually, no, it wasn’t even that close. Goldwater, the National Review’s candidate, “lost the 1964 presidential election to incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson by one of the largest landslides in history, bringing down many conservative Republican office-holders as well.”
Does this sound familiar at all? Because I seem to recall that before David French, Mitt Romney was the Review’s next big hope, with David French, himself, saying just last week that Mitt was the “only man” who could win victory for Republicans in 2016.
It looks very much, in fact, like the National Review represents a powerfully destructive sand box in which our nation’s intellectual pseudo-conservative elite play king-makers while losing virtually every election they touch. And every time, they despise the will of the conservative grass-roots while they remain determined to ram their folly down our throats. I think it’s time the National Review lost its luster, permanently. I just wish I had a subscription to cancel.
Cross-Posted at Hardnox & Friends.