Friday, October 10, 2008

Christopher Buckley Will Vote Obama

This is a very bad omen. If the offspring of the father of modern conservatism is going to cast a ballot for Barack Obama well one could argue you might as well take down the masthead and cease to be. (

There's a lot of style to Buckley's arguments. He jokes that if his parents were still alive they'd cut off his allowance. But there's very little substance and even less sense in them.

First, Buckley shares the objections of Kathleen Parker and David Brooks to Sarah Palin. Buckley calls Palin "an embarrassment, and a dangerous one at that." Buckley asks of McCain, "What on earth can he have been thinking?" But Buckley never specifies what he dislikes about Palin. How did Palin embarrass Buckley? In what way is Palin dangerous? I'm going to need a lot more than Buckley's say so here.

Second, he laments "John McCain has changed." Why? Because McCain, you see, is no longer authentic. And why isn't McCain sufficiently authentic? Because McCain has, amongst other things, made "unrealistic promises." Buckley admonishes McCain for promising to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term. One could argue it is an unrealistic promise but no more so than Obama's promise of providing a tax cut to 95% of Americans even though nearly half don't pay any federal tax or government funded health care for every American.

But Buckley's main objection is to what he views as McCain's changed disposition. Buckley states McCain's "once first class temperament has become irascible and snarly." O.K., Buckley claims to have known McCain since 1982 and only now he is discovering that McCain has a temper? Gee, could it be that McCain has a temper as a result of being stuck in a box for nearly six years? And that temper might come to the fore when Obama accuses McCain of playing racial politics as he did this past summer.

Third, Buckley conversely likes Obama's temperament, race-baiter notwithstanding. In fact, Buckley argues that Obama has a "first-class temperament." He also praises Obama's "first-class intellect." With a first-class temperament and first-class intellect in tow, Buckley writes Obama has "the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader." So Obama's potential tops McCain's achievements?

Let's go back to the recurring theme in Buckley's argument - class. Buckley has more in common with Obama than he does with McCain and certainly Sarah Palin. You can picture Obama palling around with Buckley on the cocktail circuit or yachting. You can't picture Buckley in hunting boots or commanding a naval squadron. Perhaps he also has his new Hollywood friends to think about as well. So could it be that Buckley simply doesn't like Palin's accent or the way McCain holds his dinner fork? If that is his reason for voting Obama then so be it. But such reasoning demonstrates, to quote Bill Buckley's old and recently departed friend Charlton Heston, that sometimes class skips a generation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nothing I will worry about. One vote, one man. Just goes to show that even if the apple never falls far from the tree, it can still roll down the hill and fall in a sewer.

That was messy.

Anyway, Christopher Buckley doesn't really represent anything or anyone in this context.

I also noted the part with his complaints about McCain's temperament. I thought McCain has always been known as a firebrand? Wasn't that a warning during the primaries? That his temper would get him in trouble? Now the same people are calling on him to get mad. Oh well.