To some within the neoconservative movement, the announcement of John Podhoretz as the next editor of Commentary magazine—the same job his father, Norman, held for 35 years—is the best of all possible choices. It is a model of what Adam Bellow (son of the Nobel-winning novelist Saul) called the “new nepotism,” combining the “privileges of birth with the iron rule of merit.”
But to others the decision reeks of the “old nepotism,” in which the only credential that matters is the identity of your father—in Mr. Bellowâs cosmology, less like the Roosevelts than like Tori Spelling getting an acting job because her father was Aaron Spelling.
âI think some people are pretty shocked,â said Jacob Heilbrunn, whose book “They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neoconsâ is coming out in January. John Podhoretz, movie critic for The Weekly Standard magazine and a political columnist for The New York Post, âisnât seen as a heavyweight intellectual,â said Mr. Heilbrunn, who has discussed the appointment with several neoconservatives. Rather, âhe is seen as being a beneficiary of his parentsâ fame in the George W. Bush mold.â