On Monday, The Washington Post ran an op-ed from actual Never Trumper Max Boot – a former conservative who has graduated to stumping for Democrats thanks to his antipathy for President Trump. That op-ed, written in the wake of the death of the conservative and anti-Trump Weekly Standard, posited that “Conservatism needs a new Weekly Standard untainted by Trump.”
Boot argued, “I devoutly hope a new Standard will arise to lead the Republican Party out of the moral and political oblivion to which the president is consigning it.”
I sympathize with the notion that conservatism ought to have room for all sorts of differing opinions on President Trump. And here’s the thing: it does! There’s Commentary, which is certainly Trump-skeptical; there’s Breitbart, which is Trump-sycophantic. There’s National Review, which hosts voices ranging from both sides; there’s Daily Wire, which does the same. The Weekly Standard was a unique repository of great writers, but to attribute its death solely to its Trump position is to ignore the facts on the ground.
More importantly, it’s highly irritating to see calls for a more reasonable conservatism emanating from the pages of The Washington Post. You see, The Post and its supposedly broadminded ilk – publications ranging from The New York Times to The Atlantic – rarely hire anyone from the actual conservative movement. And when they do, they almost immediately regret it (see, e.g., Bari Weiss at The New York Times and Kevin Williamson at The Atlantic). But at least the Times still has Ross Douthat and Bret Stephens, even though there’s not a Trump voter working at the op-ed page of any mainstream publication outside of The Wall Street Journal. The same can’t be said of the Post, whose “conservative” columnists include Jennifer Rubin, who has abandoned every political position she ever held in order to oppose Trump, and George Will, a longtime conservative icon who urged Republicans to vote Democrat in 2018, and Max Boot, who did the same.
In fact, I personally know a prominent conservative columnist who was interviewed for an opinion position with The Post. He didn’t vote for Trump. His conservative intellectual credentials are impeccable. He was on the verge of being hired; the editors had even set up a meeting with their top team to welcome him. Then, a couple of days before his expected hiring, that meeting was cancelled and he was told to meet once more with a top editor at The Post. As it turns out, members of the newspaper staff were upset with this writer’s past takes on transgender issues. This conservative, you see, held the conservative position that sex is a biological category and that culturally-imposed use of subjectively-decided pronouns created serious issues for truth and objectivity. This was deemed sufficiently unacceptable that this mainstream conservative was put out of the running.
So spare me the crocodile tears about the dearth of moderate conservatism from Leftist publications masquerading as objective news organizations – publications that would never hire an actual conservative, and focus instead on ghettoizing such conservatives. You can’t lament the minimization of that which you yourself won’t tolerate.