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Rich Lowry

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And a dirty dozen more

Richard "Starbursts" Lowry is the editor of National Review and a noted aficionado of Alaskan beauty queens. Among his specialties are masculinity, culture and egregiously bad predictions.


Lowry is a perfect example of cradle-to-grave wingnut welfare. He attended the University of Virginia where he got his first real taste of conservatism at the right-wing cage liner Virginia Advocate. After college, he found a job as research assistant for Charles Krauthammer. From there, he headed to the National Review and started working his way up the ranks. He even found the time to write a traditional anti-Clinton book - Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years - which was published by traditional anti-Clinton book publisher Regnery Press.

In spite of this history, Lowry contributed to a book on conservative conversion stories. His "conversion" involved going from a nominally pro-gun conservative to a more pro-gun conservative.[1]

At the National Review[edit]

Rich Lowry

Lowry, the culture warrior[edit]

One of Lowry's favorite hobby horses is the rotten American culture. Per Lowry, the permissive, socialist liberal culture was to blame for everything from the abuses at Abu Ghraib[2] to the shooting at Virginia Tech[3] to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.[4] (the argument here is that the enervating effects of welfare made New Orleans less able to recover from Katrina than from previous hurricanes).

Civil liberties are for suckers[edit]

Like many conservatives, Lowry lost all respect for the Constitution and basic human rights after 9/11. While he was not as vociferous as some, he still offered at least tacit support for expanded domestic surveillance,[5] torture,[6][7] and even collective punishment.[8]

The Lowry Test[edit]

Like Bill Kristol and David Brooks, Lowry has a knack for making erroneous predictions. Among the more unfortunate ones:

  • George Allen is really going places[9]
  • John Bolton will be nominated U.N. ambassador[10]
  • Obama can't possibly win the primary[11]
  • And, of course, the infamous "We're Winning" cover and everything that followed[12]

Notable incidents[edit]

Al Franken and Lowry[edit]

One of Lowry's obsessions is masculinity and the supposed lack thereof among liberals. In 2000, he appeared on CNN and alleged that Democrats had "feminized" and "sissified" politics. In response, Al Franken called Lowry and challenged him to a fistfight. Franken recounted the incident in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.[13] As expected, Lowry backed out, then followed up with a column in which he likened Franken to Richard Simmons.[14]

Sarah Palin[edit]

This one speaks for itself:

A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It's one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O'Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.[15]

External links[edit]


  1. Hopefully, At Least One of Them Tells About Being Seduced by Bill Buckley, World O' Crap, 02/07/07
  2. Don’t judge us by those photos, National Review, 05/11/04: "Consider the iconic film of the 1990s, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. It includes a scene of the rape of a man imprisoned and kept as a sexual slave, which prompted laughs in theaters. The victim, 'The Gimp,' became a figure of fun. Tarantino's latest, the Kill Bill movies, present the same romance of power and violence, arbitrarily and stylishly wielded. Cruelty, Tarantino tells us, can be fun."
  3. My Virginia Tech Professor, NRO, 04/19/07: "Finally, is it really so hard to imagine a world in which an English professor says, "You aren't going to wear sunglasses in my class." Says, "If you don't participate in the discussion in my seminar, you are going to fail." Says, "If you can't produce work that can be read aloud without frightening everyone else, you are going to fail." Says, "Your work is disgusting trash and not up to my standards." Instead, Cho seemed to get passed along."
  4. "Bold, Persistent Experimentation", National Review, 09/20/05: "New Orleans was partly a catastrophe of the welfare state, which has subsidized inner cities with countless billions of dollars throughout the past 30 years, with little to show for it except more social breakdown."
  5. CNN, aired 05/30/02
  6. Who's Tortured?, 12/27/04
  7. Pro-Pain Pundits,
  8. Original post and follow-up
  9. The Lowry Test,
  11. Obama, NRO, 06/19/07
  12. We're Winning! Rising Hegemon, 12/02/05
  13. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (hardback), pp. 324-327. The relevant text can be seen here.
  14. Why I Won't Fight Al Franken, NRO, 08/22/00
  15. Projecting through the Screen, NRO, 10/03/08