If you subscribe to National Geographic, you can get a free gift: a wall-size map of the Earth. It makes sense. After all, National Geographic knows its readers are geography junkies. But does Commentary think its readers are terrorism junkies?
Commentary editor-in-waiting John Podhoretz did some lively live-blogging of last night’s Democratic debate. His theme: The debate marked Hillary Clinton’s political funeral. And so Podhoretz said Kaddish and played “Taps” for her.
Commentary doesn’t wield the influence it once did (as our Alana Newhouse noted a few years back), but its pages continue to crackle with often intelligent, lively and provocative right-wing perspectives, as well as some of the most thoughtful writing on Jewish affairs that’s out there. Of course, it also publishes more than a few crazily bellicose articles on foreign policy (often penned by the elder Podhoretz).
In its heyday, Commentary rose to influence with sharp — and frequently necessary — critiques of left-liberal orthodoxies. At its best, Commentary has been invaluable. In recent decades, however, Commentary has all too often simply substituted the rigid orthodoxies of the neocon right for the dogmas of the left. At its worst, Commentary can be laughable.
Which side of the Commentary tradition will Podhoretz fils embrace? Given his work so far, I have my own prediction.