October 13, 2008
When I read last week that Christopher Buckley had decided to support Barack Obama, my reaction was a relatively minor shrug. Not even worth a passing mention here, much less a blog post.
I realize the man is the son of William F. Buckley, the late, great, titan of conservatism, but so what? It isn't as if politics is genetically inherited. (Something conservatives should have learned long ago when the "Son of Reagan" disappointed them in that regard.) Besides, the son of Buckley is more writer than conservative ideologue, and from what I've read, he's enchanted with Barack Obama's writing. (Whether "writing" should be placed in quotes I'll leave to the literary investigators.)
Besides, not only do I like Buckley from his writing, but I have a lot of friends who are voting for Obama. If I'm not worked up about them, why would I get my knickers in a twist over the son of a famous conservative ideologue? It doesn't make sense. I don't feel personally betrayed in the least.
The bottom line is that this is a country which operates under a two party system, and the Republicans have been failing for so long, and so badly, that any Democrat on the ticket would be favored to win. If Hillary had been the candidate, I could easily imagine an unshakeable 15 point lead, and possibly a huge national landslide in her favor. The reason it's close is because many people are uneasy about Obama. I'm so uneasy about him that I like to think that any sane person who opposes socialism would oppose Obama automatically, as do I, and as does Roger Kimball. But the fact that an occasional conservative might find Obama attractive should surprise no one, and I don't think it's the biggest deal in the world.
Besides, it's still one man one vote. As I see it, my vote cancels out Chris Buckley's. So does Roger Kimball's, and Victor Davis Hanson's, and Andrew McCarthy's. All of these people are more conservative than I am. What I share in common them right now that's of any importance is that I oppose Barack Obama.
That's the thing here. I'm not even a conservative. I'm just opposed to socialism, and I think Obama is the closest thing we've had to a socialist on a major ticket in the history of this country. (To the extent that there should be a "big tent" right now, it is not conservative, nor Republican, so much as it is anti-Obama.)
What is conservatism? Does anyone know? I've been unable to define it for a long time, so I look to individuals who are called conservatives as reference points. If Andrew Sullivan is a "conservative," I know I'm not. If Michael Savage is a conservative, I know I'm not. If Ann Coulter is a conservative, I know I'm not. If Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh are conservatives, I know I'm not. If Pat Buchanan is a conservative, I know I'm not. If Mike Huckabee is a conservative, I know I'm not. If CPAC is conservative, I know I'm not. If WorldNetDaily is conservative, I know I'm not. If the "Drug War" is conservative, I know I'm not.
Geez, this is getting tedious. How many reasons do I need not to be a conservative? With all respect to the many on that long list who would call me a relativist, I think what we call "conservatism" is all relative.
Anyway, so now I have one more to add to my list of what I know I'm not.
Whether Chris Buckley is in good company, who knows.
I still like him. It's not as if we're going to start a civil war over this stuff.
"Friends such as Roger will criticize him 'more in sorrow than in anger,' but he will still be welcome at dinner parties and other festivities. He will still be welcome in most meaningful conservative circles. He will not be thrust out into the howling winds as he would be if he had been long on the left and declared for McCain."To which Sissy responded:
"I don't know nothin' 'bout 'meaningful conservative circles,' but I, for one, won't be soon forgiving or forgetting the cravenness of young Buck and his fellow 'Northeast Corridor Conservatives.'I agree that young Buckley will always be welcome at conservative parties. Perhaps this is not a bad thing, as it demonstrates that the right wing is a lot more tolerant and even forgiving than is commonly believed. I've attended a number of conservative events, and I've noticed that even bona fide flaming liberals are welcome. (Assuming they've gone there to be polite and not to engage in Code Pink-style disruptions.) Not that most liberals would ever attend such events, but conservatives are remarkably tolerant in that regard.
As to the Northwest Corridor Conservatives, Sissy's point is well taken.
posted by Eric on 10.13.08 at 10:19 AM
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