Stepped in it?

National Review Online is the political site I visit the most. I follow the writers and editors, and, as a long-time reader of the dead tree edition of NR (that’s long-time as in over 45 years), I’ve come to know and respect NR and NRO.

Know and respect; not always agree with.

Then comes this bombshell Wednesday evening: “Winnowing the Field,” which is an unexpected trashing of Newt Gingrich’s candidacy. The editorial is correct about Newt. But it suffers from being a negative statement: here’s who we don’t like.

Some conservatives are disgusted; here’s one example from Erik Ericson at RedState. Rush Limbaugh is also distressed, etc. etc. Part of the problem for some conservatives? My sense is, if they endorse anyone, NR will be endorsing Mitt Romney. As they did in 2008. And Mitt Romney is the anti-Christ, if one is to believe some of the things posted in comments at NRO (and other conservative outlets, I’m certain).

If anyone is interested in advice from an old conservative, neither neo- nor paleo-, just conservative: calm down, take a deep breath. It’s just an editorial, clumsily written, should not have been done that way. Not a big deal.

This is still Bill Buckley’s shop, and we (I join them) are looking to defeat Obama next year. That is the first and most important imperative. Everything else comes in a distant second: conservative purity and bona fides, stands on social issues, economic plans, entitlement reform, world without end, amen.

Buckley’s advice was to nominate the most conservative candidate who can win. I wholeheartedly agree. And I’d add this, although I’m certain WFB would have agreed: nominate a man of character. Mitt Romney meets both criteria. Newt does not.

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