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Christopher Buckley Resigns From National Review After Obama Endorsement


First Posted: 10-14-08 04:45 PM   |   Updated: 11-14-08 05:12 AM

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Chris Buckley

Looks like Tina Brown's The Daily Beast may have lucked into the chance to grab up some major full-time talent, as conservative author Christopher Buckley has left the National Review in the wake of his publishing an endorsement of Barack Obama on the Beast. Apparently, despite the pains Buckley took to disambiguate his private endorsement from the Review, his momentary wander off the reservation brought the same sort of hailstorm of opprobrium earned by Kathleen Parker when she criticized GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Buckley took it upon himself to offer his resignation. The way he describes it, it looks like this was expected!

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.

It's pretty clear that the spasm of reaction engendered by his support for Obama disappoints Buckley on some level, as he takes the time to note that his father, the late William Buckley, "endorsed a number of liberal Democrats for high office, including Allard K. Lowenstein and Joe Lieberman." He goes on to say:

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. 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.


While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. 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. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.

So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I haven't left the Republican Party. It left me.

Similarly, this might be a good time for Parker to keep her own counsel, lest she suffer a similar "fatwahing." Last night, as a guest on The Colbert Report, Parker seemed to come very close to announcing that she, too, preferred Obama for President.

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