I was published in The New Republic before I was published in National Review — my first D.C. job was at TNR, where I reported to Fred Barnes.
The Left always has hated Peretz. His support of Israel is only a part of it. Eric Alterman, in his book Sound and Fury, described TNR as “a flagship conservative publication” simply because it allowed conservatives to contribute to the pages of what was an eclectic yet fundamentally liberal magazine. If TNR was a flagship of anything in the 1980s, it was a flagship of anti-Communist neoliberalism–it had no love for the Reagan administration, but also believed the Nicaraguan Contras merited support. For Alterman and the other members of the no-enemies-to-our-left crowd, this was simply unbearable. Apparently they still aren’t over it.
My favorite story from TNR involves the office decorations. The walls were lined with poster-size copies of front covers. They were tributes to the magazine’s rich history. But in a little bathroom that few visitors ever saw, there hung a black-and-white picture of Michael Straight, the magazine’s onetime owner. It turned out that he was also a Soviet spy–the only American in the infamous Cambridge ring. And at Peretz’s TNR, his picture was placed in a place of special dishonor, above the toilet.