Magazine article The Spectator

High Life

Magazine article The Spectator

High Life

Article excerpt

Ten years ago this week I put my money down and the American Conservative magazine was born. They say that owning a yacht is like sitting under a shower tearing up $100 bills. Owning an opinion magazine based in Washington DC is like sitting in a dull hotel room throwing $1,000 bills into the fire. A boat will at least get one some attention from the fair sex - if it's large and vulgar enough, that is - whereas a political fortnightly might attract some bores with lotsa dandruff on their collars, but that's about it.

For starters, Washington is as boring a town as they come. A large percentage of the people who work there might be women, but they don't line the bars at night looking for horny Greeks, that's for sure. After millions spent, there were a couple to speak of, both southern belles, and nothing to do with the magazine. I had two partners, Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell, both of whom I treated equally by giving them the same amount of shares free of charge as I gave myself. It was not the smartest of moves, but I'm an impulsive sort of character, and much too impatient to think things out. Pat Buchanan had run for president three times and is still Mr Conservative as far as I'm concerned.

McConnell was the editor, and I had trouble with him from the beginning as I tend to go for the jugular at times, whereas he prefers the friendly persuasion approach to politics.

Pat, Scott and I held a press conference in the National Press Club building in Washington for the launch, at which I realised from the word go how deeply mistrusted and loathed anyone who describes himself as a paleoconservative is. The coverage by the NY Times and Washington Post dealt more with my drug bust of a quarter of a century before than with the start-up of a new political magazine. During the press conference I was asked time and again if I was using Saudi money. Saudi money? I'd rather catch the clap than use camel jockey moolah, but it illustrates how much homework the Fourth Estate does. I've only been writing against them bums for 30 years, was all I said. When asked what my reasons were for coughing up, I tried a bit of humour, and answered 'for the women'. It went down like a loud fart in church, worse even.

Our first cover story was written by Eric Margolis and ran as follows: 'Iraq Folly. How Victory Could Spell American Defeat.' Pat Buchanan had a story on empire, and how we should stay away from Iraq. I wrote about Ayn Rand and John Galt and how my father was no John Galt but a caring capitalist who looked out for his workers. Ten years later to the day, all one has to do is substitute an N for a Q. …

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