TakiMag has run yet another hit piece on The American Conservative, this time delivered by John Zmirak. Expanding on the implied theme of Paul Gottfried's post from a couple of days ago, Zmirak basically argues that The American Conservative has been overrun by liberals and leftists. He also attacks the personal integrity and conservative credentials of TAC editor Scott McConnell, repeating the non-sensical argument (also advanced by Gottfried) that Mr. McConnell is simultaneously anti-Israel and yet desperate for the approval of leading neocon Norman Podhoretz .
As I pointed out in my post a couple of days ago, this line of thought is a rather troublesome leftover of the "movement conservatism" that Gottfried himself acknowledges is of little concern to what he calls the "post-paleo" generation. This archaic "us v. them" mentality may have had some value during the age of the Soviet Empire, but it is largely a distraction now, and TAC is right to treat it as the relic that it is. Still, the charge that TAC is kowtowing to the liberal establishment, is most clearly rebuked by a twenty minute overview of the available facts.
Earlier tonight I logged onto the TAC website, went to the archives section and starting with 2007* worked my way through the contents of each issue. In doing so I discovered that out of 35 issues published in the last year in a half, twelve writers commonly identified as "left of center" churned out a less than whopping number of 23 pieces for TAC. Though I refused to buy into the notion that Scott McConnell ought to be included as part of the "liberal" equation, I tried to use a broad definition of the political left and came up with the following names: Glenn Greenwald, Philip Weiss, John Mueller, Stewart Nusbaumer, Benjamin Barber, Richard Silverstein, Robert Bryce, Mahmood Mamdani, Nicholas von Hoffman, James Howard Kunstler, Uri Avnery, and David Lindorff. Does this sound like a who's who of the "liberal establishment" to you?
More interesting to me though than the names or political backgrounds of the writers listed above, is the actual content they submitted. Were they using the pages of TAC to push a liberal agenda? Not Glenn Greenwald, his pieces were about government corruption, overreaching executive power and the unapologetic nature of the "war pundits". Another multiple time contributor, Nicholas von Hoffman, used two pieces to attack the Clintons, and the rest of the time worrying about the cost of our government and dangerous decisions from the Federal Reserve. The most anti-Republican partisan of the bunch, Stewart Nusbaumer, contributed a grand total of zero political reports (his pieces were all war diaries), and the most explicitly left wing contributor, David Lindorff, wrote a semi-conspiratorial piece about missing nukes and dead soldiers.
In fact of the 23 pieces in question not a single one was explicitly leftist in content. While the argument that TAC tilts toward the Palestinians in the Israel/Palestinian conflict may be supported by the presence of Philip Weiss, Richard Silverstein and Uri Avnery on this list, it is worth noting that Weiss usually focuses on issues involving Jewish culture and assimilation as much as he does the conflict in the occupied territories.
As a long time reader of TAC, I can count exactly two occasions in which I thought the content of a piece was clearly liberal in tone. The first was a piece Taki wrote some time ago on environmental issues. The second was a piece written earlier this year by Fred Reed on immigration. Obviously the TakiMag writers have no problem with their benefactor and Mr. Reed doesn't hear their catcalls either, presumably because he is right on the "national question" (which is to say he believes in the biological explanation for IQ differences between the races and is willing to appear in front of the American Renaissance crowd).
The charges of "predictable" liberalism hurled at TAC don't hold up at all. They are particularly weak coming from a website that is most well known for its ability to grind every subject into the ground and excommunicate long time allies for minor sins (seen Justin Raimondo over there recently?). On the few occasions when TakiMag is "unpredictable" it is hardly trending in a conservative direction. After all, the two most "unpredictable" pieces of writing to appear their were pieces extolling the virtues of Abraham Lincoln's nation building and Paul Gottfried himself pleading for a return to the "Fairness Doctrine".
Mr. Zmirak's political hero is Pat Buchanan. I can sympathize. Pat Buchanan is the first conservative I can remember regularly agreeing with and it was his association with TAC that originally attracted me to the magazine. As a somewhat qualified Naderite, it was the TAC interview Mr. Buchanan conducted with Ralph Nader that completed my conversion from ideological leftist, to left conservative. That sort of fusionism is not impossible or a heresy. Pat Buchanan realized as much when he linked arms with Lenora Fulani and Mr. Zmirak would do well to pay attention to his mentors example.
*I chose this time period, because it has been suggested by some that TAC took a sharp bend to the Left, when Ron Unz took over as publisher in early 2007.