William F. Buckley’s son, Christopher, is endorsing Barack Obama (h/t Balloon Juice). And, somehow, I don’t think WFB is rolling over in his grave. He did not write the endorsement in the National Review because he wasn’t in the mood to repeat the experience of his colleague Kathleen Parker who pointed out that Sarah Palin is an embarrassment. Parker subsequently received on the order of 12,000 foaming conservative e-mails, including one suggesting that her mother ought to have aborted her and thrown the fetus into a dumpster. Classy. Country First!
As for McCain, Buckley seems to admire him — or at least his past, but:
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 â€œby the end of my first term.â€ 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?
As for Obama, Buckley characterizes him as having a first class temperament, a solid intellect, and hopes that Obama isn’t all that serious about the left wing stuff.
Obama has in himâ€”I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy â€œWe are the people we have been waiting forâ€ silly rhetoricâ€”the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.
So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, Iâ€™ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America.
Update Speaking of Buckley, Paul Campos suggests four reasons why this might be a bleak time to be a Bill Buckley paleo-conservative.
(1) Massive bipartisan momentum for major government intervention in the financial markets, with upwards of a trillion taxpayer dollars already committed, and, worse yet, calls for serious regulatory oversight.
(2) Another trillion dollars lit on fire for idiotic foreign adventures combining the worst features of Teddy Roosevelt style imperialism and Wilsonian internationalism.
(3) Total defeat now practically a forgone conclusion in the culture wars, with the ongoing spread of teh gay through courts and legislatures across the land being a particularly sharp reminder of how time is not your side, no it’s not.
(4) A — what are they calling it these days — black? (no dear, I believe it’s “Africa-American”) man with a Muslim name is about to become president.
The Sidewalk to Nowhere – an example of the frothing ugliness of more McCain supporters in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania:
(Apparently ACORN brought the financial crisis upon us.)