Monday, March 12, 2007

The Nation v. National Review on Romney's Riches

The Nation and National Review are bickering over Romney’s money. Max Blumenthal at The Nation says that Romney has been buying off conservatives in his run for the presidency. Blumenthal insinuates that the National Review gave Romney some positive press from Kathryn Jean Lopez in response to some Romney donations:

As I reported in the Nation last November, Lopez was given a private reception by Romney last October. The visit yielded a fawning blog post and a softball interview in which NR editors acknowledged that KLo "has some pro-Romney tendencies." What the National Review failed to acknowledge was that Romney donated $10,000 to its in-house think tank, the National Review Institute, right before declaring his presidential candidacy.
NRO’s Lopez takes Blumenthal to task over his version of the story:

If my — or NRO/NR's — pro-life creds could be bought for $5,000, I suspect candidates would be whipping out their checkbooks much more frequently. The contention that my view of Romney was somehow transformed in October because of the NRI donation is laughable, as any Google search or click on my NRO archive would suggest. My first friendly-to-Romney piece was posted in early February 2005 — as he was taking on Harvard on cloning.
You can read Lopez’s full retort here. Blumenthal, however, does not single out NRO. He goes on to suggest that the Federalist Society, Focus on the Family, and Grover Norquist have been bought off. Blumenthal also notably scathes Jay Sekulow who has endorsed Romney and serves as an advisor to the campaign:

Sekulow happens to be one of the biggest hucksters in American politics: through his 501 c-3, the American Center for Law and Justice, he solicits millions in small donations from little old ladies, then uses it to pay his family, finance his two mansions, private jet, and himself -- Sekulow "earns" over $600,000, an unheard of salary for the director of a non-profit group. Sekulow should feel at home on the mercenary-minded Romney campaign.
Blumenthal suffers from the same prejudices as Daniel Gross from Slate, as outlined here. Blumenthal takes the opportunity to tie together several of his own dislikes, namely Romney, political money, corporate America, and even gratuitously throwing out Jack Abramoff’s name though there is no discernible tie between him and Romney in the article.

Blumenthal is throwing out insinuations that have little to do with Romney and his campaign. Does Romney donate money that he’s raised to causes he supports? Certainly. Does that mean that he’s buying them off? I doubt it, unless national organizations such as the Federalist Society, NRO, and Focus on the Family are so easily bought off. Of course that would seem to be in line with Blumenthal’s world view.

Update: Talk show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt concurs with my analysis and scathes the NY Times article that underlies the Blumenthal article:
If you total the donations "uncovered" by the Times for this article, they total less than $150,000 --hardly chump change, but so small compared to the budgets
of the organizations involved as to mock the premise of the article. The article fails to indicate the number of dry holes Kilpatrick dug and doesn't provide background on the "critics" it cites. Mr. Kilpatrick was personable, and certainly skilled. But this isn't objective journalism. It is agenda journalism.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home