Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Until this, I was on Christopher Buckley's side.

Let me explain what happened. Christopher Buckley, son of the late William F. Buckley, Jr., announced he's voting for Obama. Because Buckley wrote a column for National Review, of the most anti-Obama publications in existence right now, this was bound to make things awkward. He tried to explain himself in an article for some website I've barely heard of. I wasn't convinced by it, but he also made some comments in a video interview that at least made the case for Obama, or, more accurately, the case for Christopher Buckley's support of Obama. I didn't think less of him, for two reasons. First, he didn't seem like he was voting for Obama for a stupid reason. Second, he can damn well vote for whomever he wants to vote for. I disagreed with him but I thought his opinion had a good enough foundation to escape criticism.

Then, well, all this. Rich Lowry seems to think Christopher is blowing the conservative response to his support for Obama out of proportion. In fact, while Christopher's sort his own sense of humor, I think his remarks in this latest comment are just grossly unfair. Take this:
In fact, the only thing the Right can’t quite decide is whether I should be boiled in oil or just put up against the wall and shot.
"The Right" isn't a group of disgruntled e-mailers making death threats. I mean, there are sensible people among the Right, like, you know, the editors of National Review. If you're going to label political movements by the tone of e-mails you get from the more sociopathic, well, Right and Left should both probably be institutionalized (quiet, Freiheit). I thought this comment went beyond exaggeration.
One editor at National Review—a friend of 30 years—emailed me that he thought my opinions “cretinous.”
Have you seen the fights John Derbyshire gets into? How about Andy McCarthy and Jonathan Adler's public snark-filled feud just two days ago? Newsflash - the editors of National Review disagree with each other, sometimes fundamentally. John Derbyshire's still writing regularly for it even though he's bashed religion and religious people mercilessly in The Corner.

Further distortions:
Within hours of my endorsement appearing in The Daily Beast it became clear that National Review had a serious problem on its hands. So the next morning, I thought the only decent thing to do would be to offer to resign my column there. This offer was accepted—rather briskly!—by Rich Lowry, NR’s editor, and its publisher, the superb and able and fine Jack Fowler. I retain the fondest feelings for the magazine that my father founded, but I will admit to a certain sadness that an act of publishing a reasoned argument for the opposition should result in acrimony and disavowal.
I'm not sure how much of a problem NR really had. Remember John Derbyshire? How does he still write for a magazine founded by a Catholic and steeped in conservative Catholic ideology? Somehow, he manages to do it, Christopher! People tolerated a lot of disagreeable things from WFB's pen because his columns were so well reasoned that, despite their refusal to toe the party line, they made the reader think. I felt exactly that way about Christopher Buckley many times. I approached his endorsement of Obama in the same light. But then he tried to paint his (voluntary!) exit from NR as a retreat from an oppressive, vociferous group of fanatics burning the house (NR) to roast the pig (Buckley the Younger). This seems to be the result of an overreaction on his part.
So, I have been effectively fatwahed (is that how you spell it?) by the conservative movement, and the magazine that my father founded must now distance itself from me.
Again, besides the distasteful hyperbole, this is disingenuous. I've heard nothing to suggest that Buckley did anything but quit.
But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.
Another low-blow.
Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance.
The contradiction exists only if you think George W. Bush is a conservative. But he's not. He ran as a moderate and he has governed as a moderate. That's the problem. And if you're so damned concerned about entitlement programs, how the hell does voting for Obama make sense? No, as intelligent as Buckley surely is, this is just stupid. Even, frankly, cretinous. "The past eight years have seen too much corruption and a staggering increase in the federal bureaucracy - let's elect a shady Chicago-machine Democrat with the most liberal voting record of any U.S. senator. That logic doesn't hold in any possible world.

Add to this that Buckley's argument was basically "Obama can write well so he must be awesome; additionally, no one could be stupid enough to actually believe the Marxism Obama purports to believe so we're safe" and I'm disappointed. If you're fed up with Bush and don't like McCain, you can rest there. Believing that you have to go whole-hog for the other candidate is silly.

Whatever. It's none of my business. Still, this election is a depressing microcosm of the death of the West. Goodbye, logic! Goodbye, freedom! Goodbye, prosperity! Marx, despite having been refuted in blood last century, is somehow not dead yet. And he's winning.

And we're ok with this - we're cheering it on.

We're toast.


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