National Review, the flagship conservative magazine founded in the 1950s by the late William F. Buckley, has taken a bold stand against the candidacy of Donald Trump. In its new issue, NR has assembled a bevy of conservative commentators and activists who give their reasons why Trump would be a disaster for political and cultural conservatism.
Trump, of course, was quick to respond with his typical response when criticized by anyone—NR, in effect, is a loser. It’s a “dying paper,” he thundered.
The Republican National Committee also was quick to respond. NR was slated to be a co-sponsor for an upcoming February debate. It has now been disinvited. Hmmm, I thought the establishment opposed Trump.
I have been a regular reader of NR since the 1970s. I don’t always agree with every article, primarily because there are various strands of conservatism represented. That’s actually one of its strengths: it draws from every avenue of conservative thought, and even when I disagree, I am given something to think about.
Whittaker Chambers was an editor of NR back in the late 1950s. Ronald Reagan loved to read it. I still do.
Some criticize NR as too neo-conservative or whatever, but it really represents all positions within conservatism.
Rich Lowry, the editor, appeared on The Kelly File on Fox to explain the rationale for this strong stand. He was joined by three of the contributors to the magazine’s Trump critique. None of them can realistically be considered “establishment.” Someone like Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, who also appeared, has fought the conservative fight against the “establishment” all of his life. Any criticism of him or others like him has no credibility on that ground.
Regular readers of this blog know my opposition to a Trump nomination. Let me quickly catalog my reasons:
- I don’t believe Trump’s recent conversion to conservatism: he has historically been on the liberal side of most policy issues;
- Specifically, he never has had a problem with abortion, even to the point where he has said he thinks his sister, a pro-abortion judge, would be a great Supreme Court justice; last week, he hinted that former senator Scott Brown, a pro-abortion Republican, would be a wonderful vice president in his administration;
- He has no real issue with same-sex marriage;
- He has no understanding of Christian faith, and no matter how much he says he will protect religious liberty, I have no faith in his promises;
- If you listen to any of his speeches, you will find that they are rambling and fairly incoherent, focused primarily on fanning emotions—the very definition of a demagogue;
- His constant personal attacks on others, candidates or otherwise, betray a thin skin and a lack of character that would further demean the office of the presidency;
- He is absolutely full of himself, constantly referring to how much of a winner he is, how much money he has made, and how only he can deal with others.
I could go on, but I promised a quick overview.
I agree with NR‘s critique that he is no conservative; neither is he in any way a genuine Christian believer, based on his many comments that provide evidence of only a vague type of understanding of the Christian faith.
Some have asked me if I have any favored candidate in this race. I’ve tried to hold back on making any such pronouncement as I continue to listen and investigate the field.
Realistically, only two others have a chance to derail Trump at this point—Cruz and Rubio. I would support either of these nominations. I have reservations about both men, but there is no perfect candidate. Right now, if forced to choose, I would go with Ted Cruz, but I remain open to more information.
Will NR‘s opinion influence anyone? Yes, but the real question is how many. I doubt that a majority of Trump supporters or those who are leaning that way will read the NR essays, but if you are one of those, I strongly urge you to do so and carefully consider the enormity of the decision before us.
We truly are at a crossroads as a nation. Trump is not the answer to our problems; he will, I believe, only add to them.