Elements within the House Republican leadership “prearranged” an editorial in the National Review praising the GOP’s “Pledge to America” manifesto, according to the Daily Caller, in an effort to counteract widespread conservative criticism of the document.
“Two high-level Republican sources” told the right-leaning Daily Caller’s Jon Ward that Neil Bradley, a top aide to Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), pulled strings with senior officials at the National Review Institute to get the editorial published.
The extent of Bradley’s involvement was unclear, but he is reportedly close to NRI’s president Kate O’Beirne and executive director April Ponnuru.
The September 22 editorial by the National Review, a conservative opinion magazine respected by elites, was published on the same day the document was released. Titled “We’ll Take the Pledge,” the editors effusively praised it as a manifesto that aims to diminish the size of government, increase accountability in Congress, and make America “more prosperous.”
One Republican aide told Ward the editorial was a “political blowjob.” O’Beirne denied that there was any partisan collusion involved in its publication, calling the allegation “absolutely, categorically false.” Bradley said it was “100 percent false.”
The National Review editorial has raised some eyebrows because, for the most part, the 21-page “Pledge to America” has infuriated conservatives and tea partiers, who claim it lacks a courageous conservative vision and omits specific proposals to rein in the deficit and slash spending.
Activist-blogger Erick Erickson of RedState.com savaged it as “ridiculous,” “laughable,” “dreck,” and claimed it “proves the GOP is more focused on the acquisition of power than the advocacy of long term sound public policy.”
Andrew Roth, a vice president at the conservative group Club For Growth, called it “so milquetoast that it proves to me that these guys just aren’t ready to lead.”
Even David Frum, who is noted for criticizing fellow conservatives he perceives as extremists, described it as a “GOP Pledge To Do Nothing.” While praising Republicans for not giving into tea party “zeal,” he concluded that “we so-called RINOs can take no pleasure in this document.”
President Barack Obama and Democrats have relentlessly attacked the “Pledge” as a vacuous political ploy and an embrace of Bush-era governance.