by Joe Shea
January 22, 201620-18
BRADENTON, Fla., Jan. 22, 2016 -- The publication yesterday of a longish screed against Donald Trump in the conservative journal National Review - founded by the late William F. Buckley, Jr. - has shaken the trees of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, and a number of them have fallen out, apparently on their heads.
The majority of the writers were previously unknown to me, but I recognized the names of Michael Medved, a minor movie critic, and Ed Meese, the former Nixon aide, and a few others, like Brent Bozell amd Glenn Beck.
As I write, I just heard the magazine's article described on CNN as a "blunt, brutal, anti-Trump" edition. The news report included a discomfited spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Sean Spicer, who announced that the magazine had been booted as a sponsor of an GOP debate and declared that Trump - leading in all polls, everywhere - is, "of course," a Republican, if not a conservative.
What the assembled undistinguished pundits said about Trump ranged from the ponderous - " the man has demonstrated an emotional immaturity bordering on personality disorder" - to the ridiculous - he "tried to bully an elderly woman,, Vera Coking, out of her house."
Missing from the magazine's lineup were Sen. Bob Dole and Rush Limbaugh, a key Trump supporter, and other right-wing talk-show hosts with the notable exception of Mark Levin, a bubble- headed conservative who explodes on cue five time a week. Limbaugh recalls that National Review had published a similar article against Newt Gingrich and instead endorsed Mitt Romney, "a fake conservative," Limbaugh said, in the course of excoriating the magazine on Jan. 22, a day after the Trump article came out.
And I suspect tens of thousands of readers collapsed in laughter, as I did, when we saw the results of a poll of readers' GOP presidential preferences that ran alongside the article. When I checked the results, Trump had 68% of the vote to Ted Cruz's 17% and Jeb Bush's 5%. He beat Sen. Marco Rubio by 17,190 to 1,424. Jeb Bush got just 568.
The poll was sponsored by the "Sound Money Defense League," which is "bringing gold and silver back as America's Constitutional money." My guess is that the group is a front for some billionaire trying to dump his multimillion-dollar bet on gold, which has fallen far amid the rout of the stock market this month. Based on the backlash from readers, that billionaire may be Trump. In any case, the Review's website makes it almost impossible to read the critiques or the poll because it suddenly asnd unexpectedly leaps to other pages as we try.
Limbaugh made the point this morning that the magazine's roster of "purists" were totally out of touch with both our nation's structural probems and the Republican Party's base. I would only add that the poll of their readers' presidential preferences shows that the Review's readership is far more enlightened than the writers and editors are.
Donald Trump's credentials as a conservative, as many argue, are not printed in gold. He has been a political weathervane, moving this way and that as winds of the years progress. But no intelligent person would find themselves unmoved by the great events of our time and the changes they catalyzed: the war in Iraq, for instance, once backed to the hilt by conservatives and most liberals, including Hillary Clinton, and now condemned by all but a few (Trump warned against it from the beginning and has not changed).
The Donald has adopted some positions I don't support, such as for a ban on Muslim immigrants and mass deportation of the undocumented, but I still have to believe he can do a better job with this nation's totally bunged-up finances than any other candidate can.
As I noted in an article more than a month ago, he has moderated his worst behavior and has become more representative of the serious man he is. Trump did nothing to deserve the "spanking" that the National Review's editors hoped to deliver - before they got spanked by their readers.
Against their will, Donald Trump has charged into history, much like the bull in the proverbial china shop, but the only things he broke are the sad and poisoned hearts of a few elite conservative "intellectuals."
. Joe Shea is Editor-in-Chief of The American Reporter.