There is a long list of conservative columnists I have long admired. While they have differed in style, they were usually united in general philosophy, most of them proudly defining themselves as “Reagan conservatives.”
But when Donald Trump came along in 2015 as a serious presidential candidate, many of these writers found themselves on opposite sides of a Trumpian fence. At one point, National Review, the conservative bible, famously published a special edition, the words “Against Trump” splattered across its cover, featuring anti-Trump op-eds from some of the most renowned conservative columnists.
To this day, the hostility toward Trump by some commentators on the right has not abated, as is often clear in opinion pages across the nation.
When I started in newspapers in 1983, I immediately began writing opinion columns. For years, my political philosophy was unapologetically conservative, and I wrote weekly entreaties on why I was right and you were wrong. Sometimes I tried to emulate the more refined style of a William F. Buckley Jr.or George F. Will, but often I went straight for the jugular, Pat Buchanan-like.
In 1996 I left journalism and spent the next 15 years working in Republican politics, often tasked with media relations. Although I was a bona fide conservative, my journalism background had ingrained in me at least some sense of fairness, and I was not always as venomous toward Democrats as expected by my GOP peers in news releases or speechwriting.