Chris Buckley: I’m With Obama

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Barack, Conservatism, McCain

Would the late William F. Buckley approve of his son throwing his support behind the most liberal Senator EVER!!!?

Something tells me the answer to that would be: possibly.

Why? Because I think this has less to do with Obama and more to do with how far McCain has fallen.

From The Daily Beast:

I have known John McCain personally since 1982. I wrote a well-received speech for him. Earlier this year, I wrote in The New York Times—I’m beginning to sound like Paul Krugman, who cannot begin a column without saying, “As I warned the world in my last column…”—a highly favorable Op-Ed about McCain, taking Rush Limbaugh and the others in the Right Wing Sanhedrin to task for going after McCain for being insufficiently conservative. I don’t—still—doubt that McCain’s instincts remain fundamentally conservative. But the problem is otherwise.

McCain rose to power on his personality and biography. He was authentic. He spoke truth to power. He told the media they were “jerks” (a sure sign of authenticity, to say nothing of good taste; we are jerks). He was real. He was unconventional. He embraced former anti-war leaders. He brought resolution to the awful missing-POW business. He brought about normalization with Vietnam—his former torturers! Yes, he erred in accepting plane rides and vacations from Charles Keating, but then, having been cleared on technicalities, groveled in apology before the nation. He told me across a lunch table, “The Keating business was much worse than my five and a half years in Hanoi, because I at least walked away from that with my honor.” Your heart went out to the guy. I thought at the time, God, this guy should be president someday. [...]

But that was—sigh—then. John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget “by the end of my first term.” Who, really, believes that? Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?

Listen folks, I actually considered voting for McCain if Hillary won the nomination because I was very unhappy with Hillary’s tactics. But something tells me that I would have just sat this one out completely if McCain ran the same kind of campaign against Hillary that he has ran against Obama.

Yes, both campaigns have put out hacky ads, but the difference with McCain is that he has had very few problems going after Obama on a really low level. Sex ed for kindergartens? Suggesting that he’s buddies with terrorists? Really?

Case in point…we’re now hearing these words from his supporters on the campaign trail: “Terrorist” “Off with this head” “Treason” “Kill him”

It’s like Ann Coulter is up there with this venom, not John McCain. Seriously, it’s THAT incongruous.

And it’s not just Buckley that’s expressing these reservations. Former Republican Governor of Michigan William Milliken recently backed away from McCain’s campaign, citing this new, destructive tone…

“He is not the McCain I endorsed,” said Milliken, reached at his Traverse City home Thursday. “He keeps saying, ‘Who is Barack Obama?’ I would ask the question, ‘Who is John McCain?’ because his campaign has become rather disappointing to me.

Still, Buckley does cite some reasons why he thinks Obama will be a great leader…

As for Senator Obama: He has exhibited throughout a “first-class temperament,” pace Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s famous comment about FDR. As for his intellect, well, he’s a Harvard man, though that’s sure as heck no guarantee of anything, these days. Vietnam was brought to you by Harvard and (one or two) Yale men. As for our current adventure in Mesopotamia, consider this lustrous alumni roster. Bush 43: Yale. Rumsfeld: Princeton. Paul Bremer: Yale and Harvard. What do they all have in common? Andover! The best and the brightest.

I’ve read Obama’s books, and they are first-rate. He is that rara avis, the politician who writes his own books. Imagine. He is also a lefty. I am not. I am a small-government conservative who clings tenaciously and old-fashionedly to the idea that one ought to have balanced budgets. On abortion, gay marriage, et al, I’m libertarian. I believe with my sage and epigrammatic friend P.J. O’Rourke that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away.

But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

Indeed.


This entry was posted on Friday, October 10th, 2008 and is filed under Barack, Conservatism, McCain. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Chris Buckley: I’m With Obama”

  1. Tought Says:

    I am very very tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. I think it is time people start thinking about the metagovernment instead.
    http://www.metagovernment.org/wiki/Main_Page

  2. DDogbreath Says:

    I personally think both McCain and Obama are a bad choice for America. What ever happened to voting for the candidate that makes the most sense on the issues? Why has the media been stifling our other choices for president? LBT party on the ballots for 20 years and not ever mentioned by the press. The Green party and the Constitutional party never mentioned either. What ever happened to equal time for the candidates? I think this election is a farce, just like the Wall st. bail out. My vote goes to Bob Barr LBT, WAKE UP AMERICA!

  3. Mike Says:

    I agree with most f your post, but I don’t understand why you conclude you must then support Obama. You say he will be a moderate leader, despite his history. I don’t see how you can say that, given he will likely have strong democratic majority in congress. Over the past few days, I’ve officially switched from leaning toward McCain to undecided between McCain and Barr.

  4. Jim S Says:

    Libertarianism is quite possibly the only political philosophy more delusional than Communism.

  5. Justin Gardner Says:

    And to that point Jim, is there ANY viable government in the world that is libertarian? I honestly can’t think of one.

    Sure, America tried it early on, but it morphed into conservatism and liberalism.

    I think there’s a reason for that.

  6. Jim S Says:

    No, there is no libertarian nation and almost certainly never will be. How could it survive? I sincerely doubt that it would be capable of actually creating a national identity strong enough for the citizens to agree with each other enough to pull together in tough times. There is a psychological and emotional aspect to surviving as a nation that I doubt a libertarian government could provide. No matter how much they deny it the core of libertarianism appears to me to be me, me, me. It is individuality run rampant, an extremist ideology. Extremism has only two choices in the long run, turn to tyranny to enforce orthodoxy or be swamped by the majority that has no interest in taking things too far in any direction. Since tyranny would sort of defeat the point of libertarianism I think you can see why it remains a fringe element of American politics.

  7. Donklephant » Blog Archive » National Review: Ayers Wrote Obama’s Dreams from My Father Says:

    [...] wonder William F. Buckley’s son is backing Obama. This entry was posted on Saturday, October 11th, 2008 and is filed under 2008 Election, Ayers, [...]

  8. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Former National Review Editor Endorses Obama Says:

    [...] Christopher Buckley and now Wick [...]

  9. jummy Says:

    obama is friends with terrorists. his carreer in electoral politics was launched from the home of a terrorist, with whom he conducted a political collaboration on at least two seperate projects.

    when confronted with this fact, he lies, saying that ayes was just some guy in the neighborhood. then he attempts to erase the grave lack of judgement involved in collaborating with him as an adult with the trivia that he was only eight years old when ayers was committing his acts of treason. that’s as if to say that a serious person is not required to consider the meaning of events which occurred just prior to their own puberty.

    if the noting of all of this seems harsh and disturbing and grates on your sensibilities, it’s because it’s been heretofor unthinkable that a man with such decrepit and corrupt asssociates would be allowed by his party to even seek the nomination.

    it’s not mccain’s or palin’s or even bill o’reilly’s fault.

    i’d like you for a moment to consider a hypothetical situation in which palin had been connected to eric rudolph. let’s say eric rudolph was praised by a pro-life group which had also praised eric rudolph for his wave of abortion clinic bombings (or “radicalisms” or “activisms” per whatever euphamism being granted to ayers today.). just imagine how readily the people wringing their hands today would go “low”.

    as it is, after claiming that palin’s youngest child is actually her daughter’s by way of incest, publishing fake book-banning lists in an effort to smear her, etc., the mainstream media, obama himself and his supporters have found that there is in fact sufficient requisit for “guilt by association” attacks: angry utterances overheard at palin rallies are now taken to be first-order, prima facie evidence of palin’s racism.

    imagine the case which could be made by team obama if palin had actually entered into a decade-long political collaboration with 1988 democrat presidential candidate, david duke. or would that, per the phony outrage being spoken here and elsewhere, be seen as going too far and too low?

    the thing about those angry utterances – or really two things:

    1) they’re largely apocryphal.

    a clearly confused woman at a mccain rally called obama an arab. it is only in anna marie cox’s transcript of the event at her time blog that the word “terrorist” is appended.
    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2008/10/no-no-maam-hes-decent-family-man-with.html

    a reporter claims to have heard a palin supporter shout “kill him” as palin spoke of the ayers-obama connection. not only does the original reporter remember the utterance as being directed toward ayers, who was a terrorist who killed people himself,….

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/michaelcalderone/1008/_Milbank_Secret_Service_hasnt_called.html

    …but secret service has been unable to confirm that any such utterance occurred.

    http://www.timesleader.com/news/breakingnews/Secret_Service_says_Kill_him_allegation_unfounded_.html

    2) obama supporters have said and done similar, and yet worse.

    for instance, the obama supporter who said of palin, “Let’s stone her, old school.”

    http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20081012_Palin_hears_plenty_of_boos.html

    the male obama supporter who marched up to a 98 pound woman at a mccain rally, tore the sign from her hands and beat her with the stick.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/obama-supporter-assaults-female-mccain-volunteer-in-new-york/

    the luridly illustrated reference to sarah palin as a “Mom I’d Like to Punch”.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_L6pDyjqqsvY/SPIo-JCohJI/AAAAAAAAWWQ/K_FRVCtu0YY/s1600-h/sarah+palin+art.jpg
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080903210107AAvsTUC

    etc.

    the few angry utterances at mccain palin rallies have been attributed undue signifigance partly though misrepresentation, but in larger part due to the refusal of media outlets to aknowlege the insane, violent rage of obama supporters.

    and, really, when was the last time you heard a citizen call an elected official a “terrorist?”

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=bush+terrorist

    this is now something progressives suddenly have no taste for?

    are progressives suddenly sensitive to rhetorical death threats after nursing seven years of lurid stroke fantacies about assasinating the president?

    http://www.brendastardom.com/arch.asp?ArchID=531

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0853096/

    etc.

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