William F. Buckley was inspired by the Old Right – those who opposed progressives like Theodore Roosvelt, Woodrow Wilson, and William Howard Taft – enough to use his energy in the media in the 1950s to create National Review.
Nowadays, entrepreneurial conservative media is common. From the rise of conservative talk radio in the 1980s, to Andrew Breitbart’s media empire to Glenn Beck and The Blaze, one thing conservatives have done well is create alternative media sources to combat the corporate media plagued by progressivism.
In many ways, Buckley’s success in creating National Review paved the way for a lot to come. National Review is still one of the strongest conservative outlets in the nation, and a go-to source not just for right-of-center people, but read across the spectrum.
So when Donald Trump says “no one reads (National Review)” and current editor Rich Lowery is “not respected,” the comments are already stupid. But more than that, they should be an insult to conservatives everywhere and yet another case in point as to why Trump should not be accepted by anyone on the right.
But the contrary continues. Conservative pundits like Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh continue to defend Trump instead of recognizing his progressive ideas and vitriolic behavior are destined to doom Republicans in 2016 and the small-government movement long term.
Levin and Limbaugh went so far as comparing Trump’s tax proposal – which he undoubtedly had people recently make up for him once he learned how taxes work – to Ronald Reagan’s.
“This is a hell of a plan,” Levin said on his nationally-syndicated radio show Monday. “From seven tax brackets to four. And the top rate is 25%. The top rate now is 39.6%, but for some people it actually winds up being 43% thanks to the deal the Republicans made with Obama a few years ago… 25% would be the top rate under the Trump plan – and I would remind you I think it was 27% under Reagan.”
Sure, we can ignore that others, like Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has proposed a 14.5 percent flat tax, and even Mike Huckabee – with all of his theocratic big-government awfulness – is an advocate of the FairTax.
Levin went on Monday night to applaud Trump for cutting the capital gains tax from 24 to 20 percent (Paul’s plan brings that number down to 14.5). Hannity also raved about Trump’s plan on his nightly Fox News program, which has been dedicated to Trump promotion since the candidate declared his candidacy.
The two of them, and Limbaugh, who also compared Trump’s plan to Reagan, know that Trump coverage equals ratings. They are selling out for ratings, an understandable end, but not a noble one – especially when the three of them have audiences in the millions and therefore gigantic influence among conservatives.
Buckley wasn’t sacrificing his values for a bigger audience in founding National Review and eventually founding Young Americans for Freedom and stumping for Barry Goldwater. But now so-called “conservative” talking heads sit ideally by as Trump trashes Buckley’s publication, its editor, and other well-established conservatives and conservative groups – Club for Growth, George Will, and Charles Krauthammer, just to name a few. Those with the biggest microphones – Hannity, Rush, Levin – are quiet in coming to the defense of those fighting for limited government.
It’s continuing to be a huge (or YUGE) disservice to those advocating for small government and the constitution. But at the same time, those talk radio talking heads are showing their true colors and what their real priorities are.