THE EVOLUTION OF NATIONAL REVIEW….Tapped, in a post about David Frum’s National Review article lambasting conservatives who don’t support the war, comments about
NR’s evolution away from old-style, William F. Buckley-conservatism, and towards something harder to define.
National Review these days strikes me as sort of the conservative equivalent of Michael Moore: bomb throwing, at times entertaining, and not, um, especially wedded to the absolute truth.
The old Buckley version of the magazine, love it or hate it, was often animated by a Goldwater-like adherence to principle, come what may. The current version, on the other hand, simply picks and chooses its target with no apparent principle to guide it. Federalism is good when it’s on their side, bad when it isn’t. Ditto for Supreme Court strict constructionism, libertarian views of individual rights, federal deficits, and a host of other topics. I can quite imagine Buckley, for example, engaging in sustained criticism of the Bush administration if it did something he disapproved of, but not the current group. They might ? might ? write a single article expressing mild disagreement, but that’s about it.
Compare that to the Weekly Standard. Again, love it or hate it, they at least have an animating principle that’s stronger than simply keeping the bad guys out of power, and because of that they’re not afraid to take on the Bush administration when they find themselves on opposite sides. They aren’t simply shills, and this makes them fundamentally more interesting.
POSTSCRIPT: And I’m just curious: why does Tapped identify Frum as “Canadian David Frum”? Is his Canadian-ness relevent, or are they just trying to give our northern neighbor props whenever they deserve it?