The Corner

In Defense of Ramesh

I am more sympathetic to the position of some of the House Republicans who voted “no” than some others here. That said, my defense of Kathleen Parker’s column is also appropriate in response to what Ramesh has posted: 

The selections from Kathleen and my weekend mailbags are shared not to beg you to feel sorry for us but to address the weeks to come. October will be a long month. You and I — we’ll be watching politics closely — perhaps too closely for our own health. Republicans will perform well and they’ll make some mistakes, of varying degrees of importance. Writers on National Review Online will criticize them. And some readers will hate us for it.

I understand the reflex to be angry, but I’ll ask you each time to consider the alternative. Isn’t honesty the best policy? 

I’ve long thought that one of the great things about National Review Online is the real-time debates that happen on the Right. While we work through issues, readers read right along as we argue. Is that aiding and abetting the enemy? It’s probably not a good campaign strategy. I want John McCain to win this election, but I’m not going to avoid criticizing him if he deserves to be criticized. And, in fact, sometimes those public criticisms have a positive effect, as campaigns and public officials read NRO and learn.

Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito is one of those positive effects, for instance. NRO has been a consistent supporter of President George W. Bush over the years, but when he nominated Harriet Miers to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, we urged the White House to withdraw the nomination early and often.

I’m not where Kathleen Parker is. I don’t think Sarah Palin needs to go. As I wrote Friday, I think Sarah Palin needs to be freed from the cram sessions and go back to showing off her common sense and good instincts in making the case for the McCain-Palin ticket. She should call into Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. She should talk — but not with the lame “maverick” talking points she’s been using. I don’t think Sarah Palin needs to go. But I’m proud to be editor of a website that didn’t hide Parker’s piece the way the McCain campaign is hiding the governor of Alaska. 

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