You can call it whatever you like, but the fact remains that this piece was written solely for Mitch McConnell's benefit.
Let’s put it this way: It’s not the kind of rhetoric you’d expect to hear from an insurgent primary candidate running to Mitch McConnell’s right.
“We have way too much partisanship in Washington,” Matt Bevin told a Republican audience in Hardin County, Ky., on Monday. “And it shouldn’t be a function of, you know, the Democrats are this, therefore the Republicans have to be opposed to it or vice versa. It’s got to be what’s in the best interest of this country. Shutting down the government is ridiculous.”
In the story, Jonathan Strong puts up comments from Bevin in a video he admits members of McConnell's campaign gave him, and he follows it up with an interview of Bevin afterward. What is clear from the get-go is this: Strong was given a statement from McConnell's crew and, instead of investigating whether the claim (that Bevin isn't the conservative he's advertised to be), Strong fits the quotes and details in such a way as to prove that claim is correct.
It's the exact same process used in man-made global warming research. There is an idea and the research is constructed to make that idea work.
The basic claim of the article is that Bevin is not conservative because he doesn't believe in partisanship and disagreed with the shutdown. It also slams him for saying he wouldn't necessary go with the flow if the flow wasn't going in a direction that was best for the country.
For starters, anyone who isn't guaranteed to go with the leadership just because it is the way the party wants to go, no matter the effect, is doing it right. Governance, contrary to establishment belief, is doing what is right and just for the benefit of the whole. It is not simply to win a majority and do whatever you want to line your pockets and the pockets of your friends.
Secondly, remember that Bevin's statements (or, as the NRO calls it, "retelling") of the Reagan era is based on the idea that bipartisanship is where the parties work together instead of one bowing to the whims of another. I realize DC Republicans might not know that anymore, but it's how things really did get done. The government was shut down numerous times while Reagan and O'Neill reached agreements. No one got everything they wanted.
Another point that just really needs to be made is this: The NRO piece (and apparently McConnell's argument) here is based on the idea that "moderate" is somehow bad. Which is almost hilariously contradictory to the DC establishment saying we needed to win over the moderates to win elections.
As with most things in DC (and in politics in general), the doublespeak is painfully obvious and completely senseless.
To stop the downward spiral of the GOP, to hold them accountable for their leadership (or lack thereof - especially in McConnell's case), we need a victory in Kentucky. And Bevin is the guy to make the point loud and clear. We're not just faceless votes. We're people who matter and who care that we are not being represented.
UPDATE: Apparently, Strong was just hired by Breitbart, too.