I just got a scoop on who the next publisher of The American Conservative is going to be — and it’s an intriguing choice.
I read The American Conservative because Vice President Cheney hates the publication and thinks that its editorialists run in the same gaggle of “Not-Republicans-Enough-for-Cheney” as Chuck Hagel and Chris Shays.
Ron Unz — a software magnate who led a successful California ballot initiative against bilingual education in California — will become the magazine’s new publisher, succeeding current publisher Scott McConnell. McConnell will continue to serve as The American Conservative‘s editor.
Pat Buchanan was the former editor and is now editor emeritus of the publication but according to sources has not been involved in the magazine’s work for a couple of years.
Unz is an intriguing choice because he is not a predictable conservative — and certainly not a predictable liberal. He’s more of an entrepreneurial libertarian who is — at the same time — an advocate of pro-immigrant policies while also an opponent of bilingual education programs, which he thinks retards the ability of Hispanic and other immigrants to quickly assimilate into U.S. society.
In 1994, Unz challenged incumbent Governor Pete Wilson of California in the Republican primary for Governor and got 34% of the vote. He helped organize the opposition to an anti-immigration initiative, Proposition 187, and organized one of the largest immigrant marches (at that time) in California. Later, he became one of the leading experts in citizen-based electroral propositions by drafting Proposition 227, which effectively dismantled a third of the country’s bilingual programs and advocating and building an extensive network of English language immersion programs.
According to inside sources, Ron Unz strongly supports the generally “realist” direction that the magazine has adopted in its U.S. foreign policy commentary but also is comfortable with the more classically conservative policy of the magazine on domestic policy.
All I can say about Unz, who I have met a half dozen or so times, is that he is an energetic ideas guy and is far less predictable — than say, New Republic editor Martin Peretz who has unleashed a predictable salvo against George Soros today for Soros’ interesting Israel-related commentary that also ran today in the New York Review of Books. (more on that later)
In any case — an interesting move in the political journalism world that I wanted to bring to your attention. . .
— Steve Clemons
Update: Matthew Yglesias offers a concurring perspective.