TAMPA, Fla. -- Before Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, several influential organs of conservative media establishment -- the National Review, the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal editorial board -- urged him to do so. Some editorial writers still didn't seem sold on the Romney campaign, even after effectively wrapping up the nomination.
Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, the conservative magazine launched more than 65 years ago by the late William F. Buckley Jr., said editors were concerned with Romney not including enough details in his programs and being overly cautious with his campaign. But the Ryan pick, he said, "allays a lot of those fears."
"It doesn't mean that policy papers couldn't be more specific, but it speaks to a willingness to associate himself with the Ryan budget," Lowry told The Huffington Post, standing near a table of sushi and appetizers at the magazine's Tuesday night party to coincide with the Republican National Convention.
"He's one of us in a way," Lowry said. "He came up through the conservative think tank world, closely related to conservative opinion outlets. Anyone who's been around for a while knows him and respects him."
Lowry also said that Ryan is a bridge between magazines like his and the Tea Party movement, which exploded in 2009 as a rejection of Republican elites and seemed to clash with the worldview of editorial writers in Washington and New York, presumably more in tune with the country club wing of the party. (Incidentally, the National Review's bash was held at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club, with a guest list that included conservative columnists George Will and Kathleen Parker.)
But with regards to the Romney-Ryan ticket, Lowry said, "There's no real divide among the Tea Partier in the middle of the country and me."
Ramesh Ponnuru, a National Review senior editor who endorsed Romney in the weeks leading up the Iowa Caucus, suggested that the long-running magazine -- which glowingly depicts Romney and Ryan on its most recent cover, the former gripping an American flag and clutching what appear to be blueprints -- is having a moment in terms of influence.
"I think the Republican Party largely, and increasingly, reflects the worldview of National Review, a Buckleyite conservatism," Ponnuru told The Huffington Post.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, now viewed as a senior statesman within the party, praised the magazine during brief remarks at the yacht club soiree.
"I love the National Review," Bush said, adding that it helps him "get recharged." Bush, often touted as a 2016 contender for the Republican nomination, spoke highly of the current national ticket. "I am more optimistic today than I was three months ago or six months ago that American greatness is going to be restored," he said.
Lowry brushed off questions about whether National Review would support Bush in four years, noting that a contested nomination would be a "fascinating primary process" with other favorites of the conservative media expected to run, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Still, Lowry said he'd prefer a "dull coronation," with Romney vying for a second term rather than a hard-fought Republican primary.
Even if Romney were to win in November, Ponnuru said, the National Review would still push against the Republican administration if issues arise where they differ ideologically. He noted that the magazine's editors expressed different views than the Bush administration on No Child Left Behind and immigration.
"Any ideological movement that is happy with things is a dead ideological movement," he said.
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