Partisan Hacks at National Review

Wayne StegerGregory Koger at Washington Monthly alerted me to the fact that conservatives might be deficit hypocrites. That’s sarcasm; of course they’re hypocrites. We all are to one extent or another. But it does seem that conservatives rate a lot higher on the scale.

DePaul University political scientist Wayne Steger decided to do a little study. He looked at the National Review over the last two decades and measured how often certain words and phrases were used. And what do you know: when Democrats are in the White House, the budget deficit is much more important to them. The best example of this is the use of the phrase “balanced budget” since 1994. Here we go:

National Review Balanced Budget Mentions

I can’t say for sure, but it looks like the National Review wasn’t much interested in a balanced budget when Bush I was in office. But its interest went steadily up during Clinton’s term, until, you know, he actually balanced the budget. But okay, maybe that’s just an indication of the fact that there was a lot of interest and excitement about balancing the budget at that time.

The problem with this theory is that once Bush II gets into office and the budget deficit comes back and gets worse and worse, the National Review shows no interest in it at all. Even in 2008, when the financial crisis causes the budget deficit to explode, our conservative friends find it of no interest whatsoever. It is only once a Democrat is back in the White House that their interest goes up. And as the deficit has gone down year after year, their interest in a “balanced budget” has only grown.

Do we liberals do this? Of course! But I find it highly unlikely that such gross partisanship could be found in The Nation. The conservative intellectual establishment has been reduced to little more than a cabal of partisan hacks.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Partisan Hacks at National Review

  1. Telling chart. I haven’t read a "National Review" since the "End The Drug War" issue 25-odd years ago, but I am a bit familiar with "The Nation." Here’s the kind of partisanship I notice. The magazine’s pretty consistently anti-imperialist; Obama is attacked for his environmental record, his drone warfare, failure to resolve anything at Guantanamo Bay, and support of domestic spying. So was Bush.

    I think the major difference is how the magazine covers American equality issues. When it comes to racism, sexism, GLBT rights, labor rights, access to education, etc., the magazine has many articles criticizing American society and suggestions for how to improve things. And what political criticism there is in such articles is mostly aimed at the GOP. Fair enough, to an extent, since they’re the biggest obstacle, but Democrats share a lot of responsibility. Whereas with Bush in office, he got a lot more blame for inaction on these issues than Obama does.

    That’s as far as the double-standard goes on the left, for the most part. What you hardly ever see is the left pretending things are hunky-dory and ignoring problems just to propagandize for their side. (Or making up false problems when the opposition is in office.)

    The difference is not hard to understand. Despite the lunatic ranters out there, the Left has no hidden agenda. We all want more-or-less the same things; a vastly shrunken military complex, big business with reduced power in politics, higher working wages, consumer/environmental protections, and social benefits. If these far-off goals were ever met, there’d be more of a schism, with some leftists wanting stability, others proposing more radical changes to the system. And indeed you’ll see both radicals with some socialist or anarchist ideals published in the left press, although they are not the majority. (The majority want domestic policies like FDR’s and a foreign policy like Monroe’s.)

    As we all know, the GOP does hide its agenda; they really want to go much further than what they say/publish in public. And it may be precisely this reason that they claim leftists are all secret one-world socialists. It’s an old trick. Aldrich Ames instituted several searches for double agents, to disguise the fact that he was one. Baseball teams will even grouse about opposing pitchers doctoring the ball because they know their pitcher is! Some methods are perennial classics . . .

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