(American Greatness) -- Neoconservatism is dead, long live American conservatism. That’s what I thought when I learned The Weekly Standard would be shuttered by longtime owner Clarity Media. The Standard was a creature of a particular time and place—the 1990s, the Bush-Clinton ascendancy, and Washington, D.C.’s insular, self-referential political class. As such, it never really fit within the broad flow of historic American conservatism. It was always, and intentionally, something different. So perhaps the magazine’s opposition to Donald Trump, his voters, and the America First agenda should come as no surprise.
Max Boot described the magazine as “a redoubt of neoconservatism” in 2002 and he was right. If the National Review of the 1970s and ’80s was the journal of Reaganism, The Weekly Standard carried the banner of Bushism. But the Bushes never carried the Reagan mantle and were never conservatives. They were always blithely unconstrained by any identifiable political philosophy other than the unwavering belief that they should run the country. They represented nothing so much as the mid-20th century country club set that was content to see the size and scope of government expand as long as they got a piece of the action. And The Weekly Standard was there every step of the way, advocating so-called big government conservatism at home and moral imperialism abroad. All of it failed. The Bush Administration was discredited by its failed policies and incompetence so it was just a matter of time before the chief organ of Bushism failed too.