Commentary Now Has Establishment Tendencies? Oy!

I started reading Commentary Magazine when I was a teenager, and I was always impressed by the hint of rebellion in most of what I read. They were anti-communists when Détente was an actual thing, and communism was a popular theme on campuses across the country. They saw the real evil in progressivism, and the magazine was always a lively place for taboo topics. Even into the 1990s, after Francis Fukuyama’s famous “The End Of History” essay, they kept a watchful eye on the progressive movement and the drift toward anti-freedom tendencies in the West.

But this is just ridiculous. In a Commentary online article by Jonathan S. Tobin, the suggestion is made, with the air of an axiom, that Romney lost the election because he drifted too far to the right. Maybe I missed that part of 2012, but I recall very little of a rightward drift, and a significant amount of pandering to the undecided middle.

Discussing the reasoning behind the modified primary structure, Tobin casually tosses this into the mix:

The goal was to prevent a rerun of 2012 when Mitt Romney, the party’s clear choice, was subjected to a lengthy and bruising battle that extended into April, forcing him to spend more money and shift farther to the right in a way that undermined his chances in the general election.


Is the Commentary booze budget so depleted that they have to pander to the worst elements of the Republican Party on the off chance that they get invited to the inside-the-beltway cocktail parties that pour the good bourbon and have bartenders who know how to make a proper Manhattan?

Apparently the bruising loss of 2008 by a man who just loved to drift to the left, except when it came to getting American soldiers killed, had no effect on the thought process displayed here. Or the concept that maybe, just maybe, a drift to the right is exactly what would have energized the base and gotten Romney elected.

Have the editors of Commentary forgotten about the crazy right-wing nutjob named Ronald Reagan, who was similarly dismissed as unelectable because of his rightward drift?

4 comments to “Commentary Now Has Establishment Tendencies? Oy!”
  1. I don’t know the magazine, but any mag making the statement that “Romney lost the election because he drifted too far to the right” isn’t worth another read. Given the 2016 Republican primary, at this point assuming stupidity as the reason for such a statement is just too far fetched and so I’m left with only the option of malice.

  2. It is an old and venerable magazine that was one of the American bulwarks against communism.

    Now? I think they are trying desperately to be part of the political discussion, but their robust and aggressive foreign policy traditions have been, at least partly, repudiated by our misadventures in the ME.

    So they are left with pandering to the establishment.

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