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Want a Better National Review Online?

NR’s founder, William F. Buckley Jr.
This one weird trick will help.

Unless you watch the Hallmark Channel (or the History Channel when it airs loopy shows on pyramid-building ancient aliens), you probably don’t believe in magic. I don’t. But like Santa and the Great Pumpkin, I’m still hoping.

Maybe it’s the neighborhood reindeer games that have put me in the mood, or those sugar-plum-fairy visions I seem to get right after Thanksgiving when I emerge from my pecan-pie coma, but I am really want something magical to happen between now and New Year’s Day. In fact, I need something magical to happen.

From you.

Yep, this is a donation request — but allow me to sidle into it.

Whether it’s Christmas, Groundhog Day, The Ides of March, or Festivus, it’s always the case, no matter the day, that National Review’s ability to survive and thrive is dependent on the generosity of our readers. This has been the case since 1958. And it’s likely to still be the case in 2058, unless The Suits trip over some new incredible source of ancillary revenue, or my Powerball numbers finally come in.

Bill Buckley, our founder, whose 91st birthday we just celebrated, God rest his soul, truly believed — and he was right in this — that he owned the magazine on behalf of the good men and women whose selfless generosity kept National Review publishing. Not only as a fortnightly magazine, but now, round-the-clock, on this amazing website.

Well, frankly, in some ways, NRO may not be too amazing. Yes, the content is superior and voluminous, but the experience . . .  that can be, what is the word, ah yes — frustrating. We went through a redesign a few years back, and, truth be told, we didn’t “redesign” it enough.

So we’re going to embark upon a guts-and-all reboot, from the inside where the coding is thick and the platforms heavy, to the outside, where you need to search for the search function which . . . won’t. Search.

Here’s what we are going to deliver: an NRO that will be a site that you will truly want to visit, and share, and not fear. Where you will be content to camp out in The Corner without worrying that any click will risk a computer crash. NRO, the 2017 model, will be fast. Convenient to whatever device you own. And maybe even able to change the course of mighty rivers.

We hope, long term, that this rebuild will pay for itself, and actually provide NR sorely needed additional revenue. But there is no question: The rebuild is mandatory, and is going to be costly.

And this cost will come on top of our regular ever-mounting bills. I see it as a vital project . . . afloat on a lake of red ink. Maybe even a ruby sea.

I would like you to consider making a contribution, right now, to National Review to help defray those looming costs, particularly of the website rebuild. As I’ve conceived this end-of-the-year webathon, I’m seeking to raise $150,000.

That’s kind of brazen, but let me break it down: $25,000 of the amount raised will go toward completely underwriting our interns program (yep, it really is important not only for the workload issues here, but also for our obligation to train tomorrow’s great conservative writers).

But the bulk, $125,000, of what we hope to raise will go to this NRO rebuild.

I believe, as I’m sure you do, too, that the daily (voluminous!) wisdom NRO generates and propagates is 1. to the betterment of our world and 2. to the detriment of our leftist, multicultural foes. That’s a cause, a vital one, and therefore my conscience is clear. There’s a pretty good reason to ask fellow conservatives for support.

Clunky and bumpy and all that, there are nevertheless 6 million people coming to NRO each month. With a better website, speedier and much more hospitable to podcasts and videos, having a cleaner layout (more user-friendly!), we are confident those numbers will grow significantly. That means the overall impact of conservatism’s message will likewise increase. (And, yes, revenues will grow, too, so maybe fewer of these dispatches.)

Are you a regular NRO visitor? Here daily, several times daily, maybe even an NRO junkie? Are you one of those addicts who have yet to respond to a webathon appeal (and we have been appealing for a decade or so now)?

If so, I humbly submit that now is the time for you to — surprise yourself! — and make that contribution. Right now.

Face it, even if you squeak when you walk: You know that it is by virtue of other readers donating over the years that NRO exists for your enjoyment and edification.

Sooner or later, we all have to buy the round of drinks. Listen to your subconscious: It’s telling you to step up and buy a round. Hey, we’re not expecting top shelf. A $25 contribution would be terrific. Doubly terrific: $50.

If you’re happy that NRO is the home of the likes of Victor Davis Hanson and Andy McCarthy and Kat Timpf and dozens of other terrific conservative writers and reporters, why not consider $100 or $250 or even more?

Some have seen fit to donate $5,000, or a heart-attack-inducing $10,000! Don’t worry, I keep the defibrillator on hand for such an occasion.

No matter the amount, I am happy to discuss this personally if you wish. Feel free to contact me at

While we hope first-time donors will indeed step up, we’re also counting on existing NRO donors to also consider an additional act of selfless support.

In advance, to those who do, you have the deepest appreciation from myself and the NR staff. Bill would have wanted that. And so do we.

Now, as a reward for sticking by till the end of this prattling, I suggest you watch this thoroughly enjoyable Christmas-themed movie: From 1939, Remember the Night, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.

It’s magical. Just like your donation.


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