By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
The GOP fight between moderates and conservatives has now spread to the late William F. Buckley's conservative bible, National Review. Conservative elites like David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer, who ripped moderates in Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor, charge that National Review has sold out its conservative principles to get cozy with GOP leadership. "It's become part of the establishment," says Latimer, who has assailed NR in conservative-friendly Human Events. "NR lost its way some years ago," adds Keene. "During the Bush years, the magazine was more a cheerleader," he says, "than a serious intellectual political journal." Um, no, says NR Editor Rich Lowry, quick to note that the mag endorsed the Conservative Party candidate in the recent New York House race. He blames attacks like Latimer's on sour grapes. "I fear Matt is just confirming what we knew from his memoir—he has a poison pen for people he doesn't like," says Lowry, whose magazine has criticized the Speech-less author. Also on Lowry's side: Since the Obama presidency, NR's circulation has grown by nearly 20,000 to 192,579.