Calm down about our anti-Newt editorial

First of all, what is with this complaint that we are trying to “dictate” who people vote for? I don’t get it. We are, as always, an opinion magazine sharing our opinion. It is not binding.

More substantially, the notion that NR isn’t a conservative magazine anymore (a charge our friend Rush Limbaugh seems to be flirting with these days) or that William F. Buckley would be “appalled” (in Brent Bozell’s words) is just so much nonsense. Under William F. Buckley National Review made many questionable endorsements — a point he would happily concede. NR endorsed no one in 1960 — neither Nixon nor Goldwater. There were heated arguments on every side of that decision. In 1968 the magazine endorsed a much more liberal Nixon (to the considerable dismay of Bill Rusher). In 1971, National Review “suspended support for Richard Nixon.” In 1972 we endorsed the great John Ashbrook for president. In 1973 we essentially endorsed Spiro Agnew for president, even as George Will was savaging him in the same magazine, indeed, the same issue (largely prompting Stan Evans to quit the magazine, I believe). In 1980, WFB kept the magazine from endorsing Reagan (Bill loved the Gipper but had grave concerns about his age). We endorsed Mitt Romney in 2008, for many of the same reasons some of our biggest detractors today did — to stop John McCain.