Arango starts with Mr. Buckley's son, the erudite Christopher Buckley, who, it has been reported incorrectly, offered his resignation from NR after he publicly endorsed Barack Obama. But the star of Arango's piece was David Frum, who clearly and very publicly disagreed with the Sarah Palin nomination (and surprise! CBS News found him very interesting and invited him to come on "The Early Show" and declare the Palin pick a "huge mistake.") He told the Times "a little more distance" from NR "can help everybody do a better job of keeping their temper." Arango offered readers no example of Frum's erudition against Palin, and no example of Frum critics losing their temper in print.
Another victim of the alleged decline of civility at NR was columnist Kathleen Parker, who we're told received 11,000 nasty e-mails, "one of which lamented that her mother did not abort her." Were NR readers upset with Parker, who spent the autumn months building a career in commentary on MSNBC by beating Palin like a pinata at a grade-school birthday party? You betchum.
What Arango did not document was the "erudition" in Parker's salvos against Palin. She first earned brickbats with sentences like "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself." Then when people criticized her, she penned a column comparing her conservative critics to Soviet thugs: "Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve." Parker also wrote a column suggesting McCain picked Palin because he was dazzled and/or aroused by her beauty, and compared the ticket to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
National Review is in no danger of disgracing its founder, and could certainly respond to this Times attack by noting it hasn't grown so uncivil that it's devolved into publishing sleazy adultery exposes without proof, as the Times has inflicted on Republicans from Nancy Reagan to John McCain. Physician, heal thyself.
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