National Review "Anti-Endorsements" - Only Establishment Types Need Apply [UPDATED]
We all know that National Review is in the tank for Mitt Romney, and has been for at least the last 5 years. But, as Paul Zummo notes, the editors don't even have the courage of their convictions to come out and actually endorse the RINO no one outside the DC establishment seems to want, but instead pen an "anti-endorsement" of the only 3 candidates who could possibly pose a challenge to their boy:
... National Review hasn’t officially endorsed Romney. What they have chosen to do instead is cast aside any candidate that might actually have a chance at winning the nomination other than Romney.Paul then turns his attention to the 3 candidates left standing after National Review's self-appointed "winnowing":
After spending the better part of its op-ed trashing Newt Gingrich, and doing so in the exaggerated fashion that has become the hallmark of the establishment set, (For a more measured and fair assessment of Newt’s ideology, see Dan McLaughlin’s post at Red State.) National Review sets its eyes on the rest of the field.Gingrich is not the only candidate whom we believe conservatives should, regretfully, exclude from consideration for the presidency. Governor Perry has done an exemplary job in Texas but has seemed curiously and persistently unable to bring gravity to the national stage. Republican presidential candidates have not been known for their off-the-cuff eloquence in recent decades, but conservatism should not choose a standard-bearer who would have to spend much of his time untying his own tongue. Representative Bachmann’s rise early in the primary season reflected the public’s hunger for sincere conviction; her later descent, following among other things her casual repetition of false anti-vaccine rumors, its desire that conviction be married to judgment. Representative Paul’s recent re-dabbling in vile conspiracy theories about September 11 are a reminder that the excesses of the movement he leads are actually its essence.In other words, conservatives should ignore the four most popular candidates after Romney...
... So who does National Review think conservatives should pay attention to:Although I agree with Paul that Santorum's inclusion is little more than an insulting bone thrown to conservatives, I do think there is a little more to it than Paul gives National Review credit for.Three other candidates deserve serious consideration. Governor Huntsman has a solid record, notwithstanding his sometimes glib foreign-policy pronouncements; his main weakness is his apparent inability, so far, to forge a connection with conservative voters outside Utah. Governor Romney won our endorsement last time, in part because some of the other leading candidates were openly hostile to important elements of conservatism. He is highly intelligent and disciplined, and he takes conservative positions on all the key issues. We still think he would make a fine president, but time and ceaseless effort have not yet overcome conservative voters’ skepticism about the liberal aspects of his record and his managerial disposition. Senator Santorum was an effective legislator. He deserves credit for highlighting, more than any other candidate, the need for public policies that topple barriers to middle-class aspirations. Weighing against him is a lack of executive experience.I have nothing but the highest regard for Rick Santorum, but this is a joke. National Review winnows the field to two moderate squishes, one of whom has no chance at winning the nomination, and its third “viable” candidate is a solid conservative who, let’s face reality, also has little chance at knocking off Romney. In fact including Santorum in this litany is almost insulting. It’s a sop to the conservatives reading this editorial, but that’s all it is...
If National Review has proven itself to be anything over the better part of the last decade, it has shown itself to be little more than a big-government-advocating organ of the inside-the-Beltway GOP establishment. And look at the 3 candidates that NR would have us choose from - all of them GOP establishment-type candidates. And, yes, that includes Santorum.
Of all the “true conservatives” in the race, Santorum is the one who is most firmly planted in the DC establishment wing. He’s certainly the most “Wilsonian” of the conservatives (in the sense of advocating foreign policy adventurism in the name of making the world "safe" for democracy), which appears to be the most important criterion these days to the inside-the-Beltway types. He was also a key figure in the GOP Senate leadership prior to losing his re-election bid. Most telling, Santorum has proven street creds among the establishment set by showing that he will do the party’s bidding even at the expense of his pro-life credentials. It was "for the good of the party" that Santorum actively campaigned and cut TV and radio ads for pro-abortion liberal Sen. Arlen Specter, leading to Specter's GOP primary victory over the conservative pro-lifer Pat Toomey. Specter later defected to the Democrats after being re-elected with Santorum's help. (It is supremely ironic that Santorum's support for Specter over Toomey was partly based on the notion that Toomey was "unelectable", in that Toomey now occupies the U.S. Senate seat that Specter once held and that Santorum can't even pull 5% support in a GOP primary field.)
At any rate, that Santorum is the only conservative to whom National Review bothers to tip its hat, in my mind, only further confirms my assessment that NR has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the inside-the-Beltway GOP establishment.
In contrast to Paul's piece (as well as mine), Creative Minority Report seems to find National Review's non-endorsement endorsement of Mitt "fair, balanced, and reasonable". A disappointing assessment of NR's blatantly intellectually dishonest blather from the usually spot-on Archbold boys (for whom I have the highest regard, even when they're dead wrong).
National Review's piece is nothing short of bought-and-paid-for-by-Beltway-insiders political hackery. And, as bad as Newt Gingrich is and would be as the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney remains the ONLY candidate in the GOP field for whom I will NEVER vote UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.