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Conservatives’ civil war
The meaning of the infighting at the National Review
 

The conservative National Review appears “embroiled in a family feud,” said Timothy Noah in Slate. Columnist Christopher Buckley, the son of the magazine’s founder, William F. Buckley, offered to quit to stem the flood of angry emails over his endorsement of Barack Obama. Editor Rich Lowry, Buckley said, “accepted—rather briskly!” Buckley says in The Daily Beast he’s been “effectively fatwahed” by the conservative movement; Lowry says in National Review that Buckley is exaggerating.

The problem for Lowry and the National Review, said Joe Gandelman in The Moderate Voice, is that Buckley is only one of “several conservatives making high-profile breaks with the McCain camp.” By ousting Buckley, they’re feeding a narrative which says, “accurately or inaccurately,” that “modern conservatism fired its founding family.”

Despite legitimate concerns over intellectual freedom, the magazine “did the right thing,” said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. National Review “has a specific mission, which is to further conservative thought, and they will find it difficult to do so while their writers are busily endorsing leftist ideologues” like Obama. That’s different than just opposing McCain.

Still, conservatives who denounce their McCain-abandoning peers as rats “fleeing a fast-sinking ship,” said Ross Douthat in The Atlantic online, are missing the bigger point. With so many conservatives of all stripes willing to jump ship, isn’t it better to “build the sort of ship that will make the rats” want to scurry back on board?

 

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