To the blogger:

re: 'How the Right Went Wrong'

In your profile of Jeffrey Hart you write, “Hart’s young colleagues at National Review have been equally unsympathetic: ‘In every generation,’ wrote Jonah Goldberg and Ramesh Ponnuru in the magazine, ‘some conservatives will lose the intramural debates, and it will be only natural for them to feel that they have lost them unfairly. They will maintain that they alone have stayed true to the faith. Liberals will, in turn, be delighted to tout these scolds as exemplars of a good conservatism.’”

Thanks for quoting us. But I should point out that the comment was not directed at Hart, whose name did not appear in our article. Hart, in his letter responding to your profile, says that we have listed him “among the conservatives who have lost the ‘intramural’ argument about what conservatism in fact is.” That’s not true. Still less have we “maintain[ed],” as Hart has it, that “Bush now defines conservatism, and that to deny this is to lose the ‘intramural’ argument.” The article said nothing that could fairly be so construed, and neither Goldberg nor I have said anything similar elsewhere.


Ramesh Ponnuru