Thursday, August 22, 2019 13:11

Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama

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Posted by teppish on Friday, October 10, 2008, 17:03
This news item was posted in Politics category and has 8 Comments so far.

I’m glad more people are crossing partisan lines to stand up for ideas, plans, and promise rather than blindly following party politics. I guess there is also a bit of self preservation involved as the author realizes what hell we’re in for if the bulldog with a lipstick is the commander-in-chief.

For those who don’t know, William Buckley was a very prominent conservative.

This is a pretty fair article, addressing the evolution (devolution is more appropriate) of McCain as well addressing some of Obama’s faults.

The son of William F. Buckley has decided—shock!—to vote for a Democrat.

Let me be the latest conservative/libertarian/whatever to leap onto the Barack Obama bandwagon. It’s a good thing my dear old mum and pup are no longer alive. They’d cut off my allowance.

Or would they? But let’s get that part out of the way. The only reason my vote would be of any interest to anyone is that my last name happens to be Buckley—a name I inherited. So in the event anyone notices or cares, the headline will be: “William F. Buckley’s Son Says He Is Pro-Obama.” I know, I know: It lacks the throw-weight of “Ron Reagan Jr. to Address Democratic Convention,” but it’ll have to do.

Dear Pup once said to me, “You know, I’ve spent my entire life time separating the Right from the kooks.”

I am—drum roll, please, cue trumpets—making this announcement in the cyberpages of The Daily Beast (what joy to be writing for a publication so named!) rather than in the pages of National Review, where I write the back-page column. For a reason: My colleague, the superb and very dishy Kathleen Parker, recently wrote in National Review Online a column stating what John Cleese as Basil Fawlty would call “the bleeding obvious”: namely, that Sarah Palin is an embarrassment, and a dangerous one at that. She’s not exactly alone. New York Times columnist David Brooks, who began his career at NR, just called Governor Palin “a cancer on the Republican Party.”

As for Kathleen, she has to date received 12,000 (quite literally) foam-at-the-mouth hate-emails. One correspondent, if that’s quite the right word, suggested that Kathleen’s mother should have aborted her and tossed the fetus into a Dumpster. There’s Socratic dialogue for you. Dear Pup once said to me sighfully after a right-winger who fancied himself a WFB protégé had said something transcendently and provocatively cretinous, “You know, I’ve spent my entire life time separating the Right from the kooks.” Well, the dear man did his best. At any rate, I don’t have the kidney at the moment for 12,000 emails saying how good it is he’s no longer alive to see his Judas of a son endorse for the presidency a covert Muslim who pals around with the Weather Underground. So, you’re reading it here first.

As to the particulars, assuming anyone gives a fig, here goes:

I have known John McCain personally since 1982. I wrote a well-received speech for him. Earlier this year, I wrote in The New York Times—I’m beginning to sound like Paul Krugman, who cannot begin a column without saying, “As I warned the world in my last column…”—a highly favorable Op-Ed about McCain, taking Rush Limbaugh and the others in the Right Wing Sanhedrin to task for going after McCain for being insufficiently conservative. I don’t—still—doubt that McCain’s instincts remain fundamentally conservative. But the problem is otherwise.

McCain rose to power on his personality and biography. He was authentic. He spoke truth to power. He told the media they were “jerks” (a sure sign of authenticity, to say nothing of good taste; we are jerks). He was real. He was unconventional. He embraced former anti-war leaders. He brought resolution to the awful missing-POW business. He brought about normalization with Vietnam—his former torturers! Yes, he erred in accepting plane rides and vacations from Charles Keating, but then, having been cleared on technicalities, groveled in apology before the nation. He told me across a lunch table, “The Keating business was much worse than my five and a half years in Hanoi, because I at least walked away from that with my honor.” Your heart went out to the guy. I thought at the time, God, this guy should be president someday.

A year ago, when everyone, including the man I’m about to endorse, was caterwauling to get out of Iraq on the next available flight, John McCain, practically alone, said no, no—bad move. Surge. It seemed a suicidal position to take, an act of political bravery of the kind you don’t see a whole lot of anymore.

But that was—sigh—then. John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” 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 “by the end of my first term.” 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?

All this is genuinely saddening, and for the country is perhaps even tragic, for America ought, really, to be governed by men like John McCain—who have spent their entire lives in its service, even willing to give the last full measure of their devotion to it. If he goes out losing ugly, it will be beyond tragic, graffiti on a marble bust.

As for Senator Obama: He has exhibited throughout a “first-class temperament,” pace Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s famous comment about FDR. As for his intellect, well, he’s a Harvard man, though that’s sure as heck no guarantee of anything, these days. Vietnam was brought to you by Harvard and (one or two) Yale men. As for our current adventure in Mesopotamia, consider this lustrous alumni roster. Bush 43: Yale. Rumsfeld: Princeton. Paul Bremer: Yale and Harvard. What do they all have in common? Andover! The best and the brightest.

I’ve read Obama’s books, and they are first-rate. He is that rara avis, the politician who writes his own books. Imagine. He is also a lefty. I am not. I am a small-government conservative who clings tenaciously and old-fashionedly to the idea that one ought to have balanced budgets. On abortion, gay marriage, et al, I’m libertarian. I believe with my sage and epigrammatic friend P.J. O’Rourke that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away.

But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—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, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America.

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8 Responses to “Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama”

  1. 10 October, 2008, 18:31

    A lot of honest conservatives have been speaking the truth. I’d say there’s an even chance the old man himself would never have endorsed McKeating.

  2. 11 October, 2008, 9:33

    Buckley is dead. Who is he apologizing to?

  3. 11 October, 2008, 11:40

    I have to agree with Buckley on his assertions. It is a shame what has happened to a once great man.

    I also have to admit that I have a general fear about all this negativity from the McCain campaign. They are stirring up a hornets nest of hate and discontent. It is only a matter of time before something happens, and that is sad.

    Great post!

  4. 22 November, 2014, 4:59

    Rob, is the punctuation dciufiflt or was it your editing of the words that caused the confusion? Notice that immediately prior to the question you quoted there was a question. You left that out but he quote you pulled clearly was an extension of that question. Therefore, your second paragraph poses a false dilemma, one that does not exist. As to the code words supposedly used, would you and Mr. Gergen like to expand on that? McCain has not questioned Obamas patriotism, Americanism or anything else. That is, unless you’re looking for such things and of course, you’ll see them everywhere.So let’s look at the issues you offered:Iraq War being won by the brave willing to sacrifice for the good of free people in the worldDeficit probably agree with you but you’d have to state facts further. Is it a wartime deficit, necessary to repel those who would destroy America given the chance?Recession can you give us the consecutive months of negative growth that define the recession you’re talking about? I’ve looked pretty carefully at the facts and can’t find them.Taxes paid by Oil COmpanies have they suddenly stopped paying taxes? Or are you referring to the nationalistic tendency to take their legally earned profits as some sort of windfall profits tax. Speaking of oil companies, can you run down the history of investment the oil companies have made through the years? How many times have they invested in infrastructure, exploration, etc. only to have them stolen by corrupt governments as they nationalized everything. Since Obama is now talking about nationalizing the oil companies so he can force them to send $1000 to every family, I suppose we’re about to see the same thing here in the land of the free. That should do a lot for consumers as the oil companies decide they are through being robbed and get out of the business altogether.

  5. 26 February, 2015, 4:26

    The thought of his being prisedent sends a cold chill down my spine He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me. The erratic nature of McCain’s campaign seems to be confirming that judgment.The New York Times: Mr. McCain repeatedly said Mr. Obama would rather lose a war to win a political campaign and that he does not understand what is at stake in Iraq. He also accused Mr. Obama of canceling a visit to wounded American troops in a German military hospital because news cameras were not allowed. That’s a false account of what occurred — and Mr. McCain ignored Mr. Obama’s unheralded visit to a combat hospital in Baghdad.The Washington Post: For four days, Sen. John McCain and his allies have accused Sen. Barack Obama of snubbing wounded soldiers by canceling a visit to a military hospital because he could not take reporters with him, despite no evidence that the charge is true.The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: The McCain campaign has begun airing a new TV hit, dubbed Celeb, that ridicules Obama’s appearance before 200,000 people in Berlin, and likens the Democrats’ nominee in waiting to empty-headed celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. The hit comes on top of a patently untrue charge – repeated by McCain on Larry King Live – that Obama snubbed wounded soldiers in Germany by canceling a visit to a military hospital.For a list of people who agree with you, please check the websites of John Hagee and David Duke. Oh wait, you’ve already been there.

  6. 5 April, 2015, 18:10

    Well Rob, your poltroonery has ceatrinly silenced me! Let’s see, name calling (check), attempted character assasination (check), dismissal of the actual issues (check). Yes, I think you covered everything. Your schedule of liberal leaning sources condemning McCain is magnificent. Did you just run out room for the balance, providing as many non-Obama sychophants in counter argument?John Hagee’s eschatology is sharp discordance to my own so I probably won’t spend any time with his material. David Duke, let’s see, isn’t he a self avowed white supremacist or something of that nature? If you knew anything about me, you’d know how foolish that particular rant appears.Time to grow up Rob. Obama is not your savior nor is he qualified in any way to be President of the United States. You’ll vote and I’ll vote. We’ll see who wins.By the way, sophomoric is not a synonym for ill chosen. It means intellectually pretentious while being ill informed, as in It is sophomoric to use words to castigate others with whom we disagree when we don’t understand their meaning or usage.

  7. That kind of thinking shows you’re an expert

  8. 2 August, 2016, 16:30

    Continue the good work!

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