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February 04, 2022

Axios: Republicans Don't Think About National Review Any More

Standing athwart the dustbin of history.

Axios spoke to Republican consultants and power-brokers about how power inside the party had shifted post-Trump.

Who used to have the power, per those Axios interviewed:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The Koch network
Heritage Action
The Drudge Report
National Review
Conservative movement groups such as Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks, and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Who has the power now:

Donald Trump
Tucker Carlson
Family and former aides to Trump
Fox News
Club for Growth
Daily Wire
Breitbart News
Online influencers including Candace Owens, Ben Shapiro, Dan Bongino, Joe Rogan, Jack Posobiec, Charlie Kirk and Marjorie Taylor-Greene.
Steve Bannon
Susan B. Anthony List

The NRA lost power, I imagine, due purely to its internal political and legal struggles, not because of the party shifting its ideology on the Second Amendment.

Heritage, meanwhile, just became yet another corrupt corporate Woke Joke.

They discuss the various groups that lost power.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: In 2014, the Chamber was heavily involved in Republican primaries. "Chamber Republicans" competed against "Tea Party Republicans," claiming greater appeal to the business community than insurgent conservatives and better prospects in the general election.

A Chamber endorsement was the gold standard and came with an expectation of meaningful outside financial support. These days, most Republicans in primaries --including establishment figures -- want to stay as far away from the Chamber as possible.


[I]ts late-cycle political advertising -- broadcast buys in the pivotal weeks before voters go to the polls -- declined dramatically, from more than $35 million in the 2014 cycle to under $6 million six years later.

During the past year, the Republican Party has effectively banished the Chamber for its increased support of Democrats. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he wants nothing to do with the Chamber if the GOP flips the House. And even establishment GOP primary candidates are steering clear of them.

"If the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls you and says 'we want to endorse', You're like, 'please don't'," said a GOP consultant who works for some of the country's highest-profile Republicans.

Good. Well, I guess I can stop talking about them. I guess even the idiots who run the party have this one figured out.

And the National Review?

Republicans used to covet the cover of National Review. But after the publication opposed Trump in 2016, every operative we asked told Axios it's become irrelevant in GOP primaries. "Courting the National Review doesn't matter at all," said one with several high-profile GOP primary candidates. "I would argue there's more people who'd be turned off by NR writing positive pieces...."


But let's check in with Politico columnist Rich Lowry.

He must be really invested in National Review and the conservative movement to be a columnist for the leftwing groupthink media publication Politico.

"I don't know who said that," National Review editor Rich Lowry [squealed girlishly to] Axios, "but I guarantee you if we ran a negative item of any sort on one of his or her clients -- whether a 1,000-word article or a brief comment -- we would hear from that campaign pushing back almost immediately."

Lowry [impotently seethed that] he sees "an element of wish-fulfillment in some of these attacks" on National Review: "A fringe wants us gone, so they pretend it's so, when they actually read us as closely as anyone."

Oh, a "fringe?" Justin Trudeau was just talking about a fringe. Do you two chat?

On the come-up, meanwhile, are Breitbart and Bannon. And the Daily Wire. (Eh.)

And Tucker Carlson, of course, who one operative says might be the most influential right-wing pundit he's ever seen.

Like many of you, I was beside myself from around 2008 to 2014 as I kept screaming into the wind that the GOP establishment, and its Beta Orbiter grifter class, cannot continue giving the finger to the actual members of the GOP, the actual people who write the checks and cast the votes, every year, always telling us "we'll get around to immigration one day (of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform type only) but in the meantime here's some more favors for the Chamber of Commerce."

At some point, we kept saying, there is going to come a reckoning. There is going to be a revolt.

The same lies, the same cons, the same hustles, the same grifts, the same excuses, the same scripted failures, the same stage-managed defeats, the same bait-and-switches, the same shuck-and-jives, the same venomous betrayals, the same fulminous scoldings are just not going to work time after time, cycle after cycle, year after year.

But the Smart People in the GOP, the Cruise Ship Conservatives, were sure that they would keep working, for ever and ever, and that the long-promised revolt would not, could not, ever, ever happen.

Their stranglehold on the party was too tight, and besides, they were the Smart People of the party. What would all the rubes do without them?

The rubes wouldn't know what to even think on their own!

No, they were indispensable, and being indispensable, they had all the leverage and all the control.

As Charles DeGaulle is thought to have said (though it was said earlier), the graveyards are filled with indispensable men.

And all the Very Smart People we just couldn't possibly get along without, the ones who were sure that the public would never revolt, and that there would never come an avatar for their reckoning, continue babbling to each other in their every-shrinking huddles, always asking: "Will this month be the month when they all regain their senses and beg us to lead them again? Don't they realize that they need us, The Smart People, the people who have been wrong about literally everything for at least twenty fucking years, to tell them what to think?"

"Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."

-- Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time

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posted by Ace at 02:08 PM

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