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2012: The Stakes for America
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Rich Lowry

A little more than a year from now we’ll know a lot more about the country’s future. It’ll either be “hope and change” as far as the eye can see, or a re-orientation worthy of America’s finest traditions.

The Obama administration is intellectually played out. It has become dull and repetitive, caught in a political version of eternal recurrence. It’s always another “pivot toward jobs.” Always another bout of “shovel-ready” projects, never mind that the president himself has admitted the entire idea is a fraud. Always another round of proposals for taxing the rich, salvaged from the scrap heap of ideas that were rejected even when the Democrats had unified control of Congress.

But the administration still has political potency in the sheer ferocity of attack it will bring to bear to defend its power. It will have nearly a billion dollars to fund it, counting just the money spent directly on the campaign. Then there are the unions and the Soros-backed outfits like Media Matters and the Center for American Progress, not to mention a generally compliant media.

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If you are expecting Barack Obama to slink off the stage into Jimmy Carter–like world citizenship, bored with his job and cognizant at some level of his own failure, you’re fooling yourself. No one wants to give up being saluted upon boarding Marine One, or spend the rest of his life explaining why he was truly worthy of another term.

And the Left knows the consequences of losing this presidential election. After next November, the presidency may well be all that they have in Washington, but it’ll be enough to preserve the essential structure of Obamacare, to protect the tax increases already set for 2013, and to keep the American entitlement state on a collision course with fiscal reality. No matter what their frustrations or disappointments with Obama now, the Left has no alternative but to join his campaign in smearing the opposition to cover for his administration’s manifest inadequacies.

This is the landscape of the next 14 months, and unless we’re out fighting for every inch during every news cycle, we’ll get run over. As Lincoln wrote to Grant in August 1864, we’ll have to “hold on with a bull-dog grip and chew and choke, as much as possible.”

At NRO, we’ll do all the proverbial chewing and choking we can. We are going to be all over every aspect of the election debate. On Solyndra, we’ve already had about half-a-dozen columns and reports, an editorial, and countless blog posts detailing every new revelation. And we’re just getting started. Our coverage of the debt showdown was wall-to-wall. We’ve been on the ground to report on the showdown in Wisconsin, from the initial union vote, to the Judge Prosser election, to the attempted recalls.

We aim to push back against every left-wing attack, and keep you informed on every twist in the Republican nomination battle. When the Rick Perry “Ponzi scheme” controversy exploded, Stanley Kurtz immediately had a detailed piece up recalling all the times when liberals had referred to the program in the same terms. The day after the vaccine kerfuffle in the Tea Party debate, The Corner was full of reporting on, and some of the finest analysis of, the entire matter.

As you know, we can’t do any of this for free. We aren’t owned by a media conglomerate and don’t have a sugar daddy. Very early in National Review’s existence it was clear that a high-toned, conservative magazine of opinion wasn’t going to make money. Its business model had to be a partnership with its readers — we’d collect some of the smartest and most trenchant writers in America, give them a home, and ask our readers to chip in to keep the whole thing running out of shared devotion to this country and to liberty.

It has worked down through the decades, a constant source of marvel and gratitude for all of us here. It is in that tradition that I ask you to help us now, to support the assortment of talent assembled here: Mark Steyn, Victor Davis Hanson, Jonah Goldberg, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jay Nordlinger, Andy McCarthy, Jim Geraghty, Kevin Williamson, John Derbyshire, Kathryn Lopez, and on and on. We gladly publish them and all the other reporters and experts we can muster and make their work available for free because we exist to spread the word.

Many of your subscribe to the print magazine and so are, indirectly, helping support all that appears here. For that, we can’t thank you enough. But many of you do not. I ask you to consider what NRO provides every day — the information, the laughs, the stimulating debate, the camaraderie — is worth to you, and please give accordingly.

It’s always painful to make these pleas. Believe me, nearly everyone who works here would gladly do it for free if we could. But we have to keep the lights on, we have to pay our writers and editors and tech team, we have to pay for bandwidth. Even as we have grown, we are still a publication run on a shoestring, with every possible resource ploughed into fulfilling our mission. Every penny you give us will go directly to supporting artillery batteries in the arsenal of conservatism.

So, please do what you can to help. We have a country to save. Let’s get at it.

— Rich Lowry is editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail, [email protected].  



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