As you might have noticed, the Left had plans for a judicial coup in Wisconsin. It wanted to flip the state supreme court and invalidate Gov. Scott Walker’s union reforms. That meant defeating Justice David Prosser in last week’s election. At NRO, we sounded the alarm about the threat and told people how they could help. We sent a reporter, the indefatigable Robert Costa, to cover the Prosser race exhaustively on the ground. And when, after Election Day, a tabulation error put Prosser back ahead by a significant margin in the nip-and-tuck vote count, you probably heard about it here first.
None of this is by way of boasting. It’s just to illustrate the coverage we try to give you on NRO every week, every day, every hour.
We live in consequential times. The nation’s future is on a knife’s edge and everyone knows it. In this respect, Wisconsin is the future: It will be close political combat over every spending cut and over every diminution in the power of left-wing interest groups. Every argument, every news cycle, every vote will matter.
This is why NRO is here. We need you to help us keep it here.
NR and NRO have always been reader-supported enterprises, or to put it more exactly, reader-supported causes. We’ve never had a sugar-daddy backer or been part of a corporation. William F. Buckley Jr. thought that if we planted a flag in the ground, and rallied a talented group of writers and editors around it and produced a publication of which conservatives could be proud, our readers would be there for us. He was right (not for the last time, I might add).
That flag is still in the ground, and I don’t need to tell you what a talented crew we have around it. There’s the literally incomparable Mark Steyn. And Jonah Goldberg, Victor Davis Hanson, Andy McCarthy, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jay Nordlinger, Jim Geraghty, Kathryn Lopez, Kevin Williamson, John Derbyshire, Yuval Levin, Ed Whelan, Michael Walsh, and on and on. We report, we analyze, we exhort, and we argue (with the Left and with ourselves, when necessary). We cover the nitty-gritty of politics, the nitty-gritty of policy, the courts, finance, global warming, higher education, sports, and whatever happens to move any given person on the Corner at any given moment.
And we provide all of this to you at a price of exactly zero. For us, that price is right — we want to spread the word as far and wide as possible. But it does present a little problem with the balance sheet. We may not need to give Jonah a raise, but we do need to pay him something. Believe me, at NR we have a deeply engrained culture of extreme penny-pinching, and we’re doing all we can to increase revenue (advertising on NRO has been steadily growing). But it’s practically an iron law of publishing that intellectually serious conservative publications don’t make money. We should know. We’ve been at it for 55 years and we’ve never done it.
This is where you come in. For decades, we’ve appealed to our print subscribers for help and — thank heavens — they’ve provided it, even though they are already paying for subscriptions. Many of you don’t subscribe. You’re reading us for free. Again, we’re glad you’re here. But I hope you’ll pitch in something for our upkeep. If a little twinge of guilt doesn’t make you do it, I hope a clear-eyed view of where we are now will — in the fight of our lives (to borrow the title of Bill Bennett’s new book), for which we need everyone on our side firing on all cylinders.
We have never been so close to losing our country, and never so close to embarking on a historic era of conservative reform. Help us keep our shoulder to wheel. Please give if you can.
— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review.