Politics & Policy

An NRO Tribute

Thanks, Ed Capano!

Editor’s note: Before I met Ed Capano, I knew Ed Capano.

I will always have Roman Genn to thank for that, who captured our capo in one of my first issues at NR (April, 1997). I worked in the D.C. office and had not yet run into our publisher at NR World Headquarters.

Ed Capano retires today from National Review after a long, distinguished career here, most notably as publisher and CEO. His farewell party (at WFB’s favorite restaurant) earlier this week was a bittersweet event — Ed is a man who deserves a break after rarely getting one as the quintessential and essential beloved and often-Corner-referenced “Suit” here. He’s a good man whose love for his family, faith, life, conservatism is well-known and much admired. We’ll miss him, as some of my colleagues and friends make quite clear, below. – Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor, NRO


Several years ago I was introducing Ed Capano at a function and called him the most successful publisher in the conservative movement. Ed took the stage and began his talk flashing his trademark humility, wondering out loud what it took to be a successful publisher in the conservative movement given that National Review had lost money every year for (then) 39 consecutive years. It is the ultimate tribute to Ed Capano that he now retires having guided his magazine to financial losses spanning a half century.

I jest of course. What Ed Capano has done for NR is well-documented, but how many people know the good he’s done the conservative movement, outside of the magazine? I cannot begin to count the times I’ve turned to Ed for advice for the Media Research Center, nor the different ways his counsel has strengthened our little enterprise. I can, however, say this: Every single time I approached him with a request for guidance, Ed always — always — made himself available, and time and again, his ideas struck gold — or prevented disasters. The credit for the success of the Media Research Center belongs first to its benefactors; second, to its board of directors; and third, to its staff. But there is a fourth group, the MRC’s silent guardian angels, the men and women, wealthy with experience, driven by commitment, and thoroughly selfless in spirit, who have helped guide us. And I’d place Ed Capano at the top of that list, which is why I firmly intend, from time to time, to intrude on his well-deserved retirement.

–L. Brent Bozell III is president of the Media Research Center.


You wouldn’t be reading this if it weren’t for Edward Andrew Capano.

About Ed: Right before Christmas in 1960, this St. John’s University student, responding to a job posting for a part-time circulation assistant, walked through the doors at 150 East 35th Street, the historic headquarters to National Review and America’s fledgling right-wing conspiracy.

Because of Ed, it has become vast.

Rising from that initial lowly post, Ed took on position after position at NR, becoming publisher in 1991 and CEO in 2004, singing ditties, cracking jokes, and spreading merriment along the hallways. Underneath all the warbling and wit was a deep and abiding love for Bill Buckley’s fortnightly, a passion to make it a positive workplace, an obsession to keep it afloat as a business and — if that were not a difficult enough task — to see it expand.

Which it has — NRO exists today because Ed gave it complete support.

Do you want to know a secret about Ed Capano? — he loves Mallomars (any sent to him via NR will be forwarded on, minus those that will be taste-tested per company policy).

I’ll end by stating the obvious: that without Ed Capano, NR and its mission of standing athwart history and yelling stop would have ceased a long time ago. He has kept this institution alive, and made it thrive, and because of that and so much else he is a great man, to whom I personally owe an enormous debt, as do all those who believe in liberty, freedom, and the causes we conservatives hold dear. Mille grazie, paesano!

– Jack Fowler is National Review’s publisher.

Rich Lowry

I have a hard time saying all that Ed Capano has meant to NR and to me over the years. When I first started at NR back in 1992 as a very lowly junior editor, Ed always took an interest in me and was always encouraging. Our relationship was greased by our mutual love of baseball, and it’s been gratifying to see Ed, an old Brooklyn Dodgers fan, slowly become more and more of a Yankees fan over the years.

Editors and publishers famously clash, and we had our share of disagreements over the years, but I have trouble remembering the last one. A few years ago, we achieved something of a mind meld and now it’s hard for me to imagine dealing with any significant NR-related dilemma without Ed’s counsel. A lot of the success of NRO has to do with Ed’s philosophy of pursuing new things, but doing it in a financially sustainable way (with occasional help from you, the dear reader, of course).

No one has cared about NR over the years more than Ed. For us carrying on in his absence, the challenge will be to live up to his standard of selfless commitment to the magazine. He was a wonderful colleague. Almost every time he walked into my office, it was with a smile and a laugh, even if he was going to shut my door and tell me about some intractable problem we had to address.

Ed is cheerful, tough, and utterly committed to his family and his faith. One of his sons said at his going away dinner the other day, “I hope one day to be half the man he is” — a sentiment a lot of us share. Ed always said National Review is a family, and no one did more than Ed to make it one. Our office is losing a publisher and a father.

– Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review.


What everyone should know about Ed Capano? Among the many things they should know is how generous he is with his time and good counsel. Being a very modest enterprise, FIRST THINGS doesn’t have anything like a publisher or CEO. How very convenient it has been that NR does. Whenever over the years we needed some direction on matters related to fundraising, rental agreements, or whatever, I had only to pick up the phone and call Ed Capano. NR’s indirect subsidizing of our efforts is greatly appreciated. But this thank you is mainly to Ed, to whom it never occurred that people laboring in the same sector of the vineyard should not cooperate. He assures me that he will continue to be on call, and I have no doubt we will continue to call, even without the additional satisfaction of getting such wise advice on NR’s nickel.

– Father Richard John Neuhaus is the editor-in-chief of First Things.


Ed Capano is half Italian, half Irish, almost a perfect New Yorker. He hails from Brooklyn, his wife, Margie, from Staten Island. (That’s why I call it a mixed marriage.) Margie is so perfectly Irish, she puts the rest of those lassies to shame. I have often called Ed “the fittest man in New York,” because his frame is enviably athletic. He has a great love for golf, and, years ago, he was a sportswriter. And — as anyone who has been on an NR cruise can attest — he’s a fantastic dancer. The ladies line up for him, patiently or not.

NR is losing a prince, but not really losing him, because he will remain part of our operations. Thank goodness. What I like best about Ed is his steadiness, his pluck, his ready laugh — well, everything. He will not rust in retirement, that’s for sure. For one thing, his handicap should dive to zero, starting about now.

– Jay Nordlinger is National Review’s managing editor.


Ed Capano is going to be sorely missed. He has been both a good friend and an unfailingly supportive boss. His contributions to National Review go well beyond his responsibilities as our publisher. In addition to his loyalty and devotion to the magazine he loves, Ed brought his admirable virtues to National Review. Simply put, Ed Capano is a gentleman — unfailingly kind and thoughtful. He can even dance like a gentleman. Ed was perfectly suited to run our frequently in-the-red enterprise because he has a generous heart and a tight fist. He made us proud of how National Review does business owing to his integrity and firm commitment to seeing that what we espouse is how we behave. When his four devoted children explain that they always wanted to make him proud, his colleagues understand exactly how they feel. Of course, I recognize that it’s the Irish in him. . .


Kate O’Beirne is the author of Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports.


My memories of Ed Capano all share the same pattern: First he’s there, then he’s not.

One moment Ed is talking with a couple of writers in the office. The next moment he has departed to take a telephone call from the printer or distributor. One moment he’s on the deck of a Circle Line boat — this would be during NR’s 45th anniversary, when we celebrated while cruising past lower Manhattan — and the next he has stepped inside to take a final look at the seating chart. One moment he’s standing next to a swimming pool lushly decorated with floating gardenias, giving a speech about NR’s perpetual need for donations — this would be at the NR fundraiser in Los Angeles last year — and the next he’s on the street, waiting for the ambulance he summoned when a guest collapsed. (Rob Long’s announcement once the emergency team had departed: “The good news is that the gentleman who fainted is going to be just fine. The bad news is that Ed Capano stole his wallet.”)

Details — always details, endless details. And Ed was always the man who addressed them. He kept the magazine going out, the money coming in, the website up, and the special events running flawlessly. And he did so — this is the second element in all my memories of Ed — with unfailing good cheer.

Friend, patriot, and utter professional. No one could have avoided the spotlight more assiduously — or could more richly deserve our applause.

Peter Robinson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life.


Ed Capano looks, sounds, acts, and works unlike any other magazine publisher I’ve ever known — and I mean that as a compliment. He’s helped guide what is arguably the most influential publication of the last 50 years through a period of nearly unprecedented political and social upheaval. Through changing times, incredible challenges, and the ongoing burden of keeping an opinion journal financially afloat and politically relevant, he’s been an absolute pillar of strength.

Despite Ed’s tendency to leave the spotlight to others, those in the Conservative movement know what a great debt of gratitude we owe him. Add to that his kindness, generosity and unfailing good nature, and you have quite a package. No one, I suppose, is truly irreplaceable, but Ed comes pretty close, even though he would be the first to argue that point.

The fact that National Review will survive and thrive is a measure of the accomplishments of Ed Capano. All the good things in its future will be based on the foundation Ed has laid. (Lain? Layed? I don’t need a publisher; I need an editor!)

Good luck with life’s next chapter, Ed.


Pat Sajak is the Emmy-award-winning host of Wheel of Fortune.

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