Christopher Buckley Endorses Obama: Welcome to the Other Side
For years now, I’ve had a love affair with the Right Wing satirist and novelist, Christopher Buckley.
The son of the recently deceased patriarch of GOP conservatism, William F., young Mr. Buckley (considering our long-standing albeit lopsided affair, would you mind if I call you Christopher? Chris? Topher? CB?… Oh, alright, let’s go with Mr. Buckley) digits poised over keyboard, is as adept as his father was at crafting eloquent prose. I enjoyed that fact that his characters, coldhearted rascals all, could be counted on to do the right thing in the end — despite party allegiances, and politically motivated cockeyed shenanigans.
When my daughter was old enough to appreciate good satire, I turned her on to his books. Like me, she ate them up. Bonbons for the brain.
When Boomsday came out and we learned that Mr. Buckley had scheduled a reading in San Francisco, we dutifully purchased our books, and planned to attend his signing. Sadly, his mother passed that week, and the signing was called off.
His recent book, Supreme Courtship, came out a few months after the death of William F. This time, though, the tour went on. Both my daughter and I went, books in hand, to his signing at Book Passage, in Marin County (on the other side of the Golden Gate, home of what W’s papa calls “those hot-tubbin’ liberals”) .
He was everything I’d imagined. Wit, charm, well-timed bon mots. I was falling in love all over again—
Until an audience member asked him his opinion about the Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s choice for a running mate: Sarah Palin.
“Inspired,” he said promptly. “I think the move was sheer genius.” Then he went on to compare her to his latest book’s heroine…
Aaaaaggggghhhhhh! Say it ain’t so, Chris!
Here he was, in Marin County, the bastion of liberalism, trying to make a case for the GOP’s lipsticked pig, McCain’s pitbull failin’: Palin.
By then my own feelings on the woman had been duly expressed on these very pages. Coercing your knocked-up seventeen-year-old kid into marriage with her redneck baby daddy just so you can placate your Evangelical base in order to hang on your shot at being veep doesn’t set well with me. Maybe it’s a mom thing…
Needless to say, I was heartbroken. Et tu, Christopher?
If, ethically, it didn’t feel right to him, why did he feel the need to prop her up? Dear old dad (or Pup, the younger Buckley’s nickname for William F.) was never one to tow the party line. Heck, he threw the (GOP)party. And did his best to keep a tight rein on the velvet rope at its entry:
In other words, No Nuts Allowed.
Thankfully, his passing saved him from witnessing what a circus it’s become since Ms. Palin has joined the ticket.
The crowd at Mr. Buckley’s Marin signing, though mostly (if not totally) Democrats, listened politely. But I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt somewhat let down.
I know my daughter did.
Then, last Friday, in his blog on Tina Brown’s DailyBeast.com, Mr. Buckley joined other conservatives (New York Times’ David Broooks, and the National Review Online’s Kathleen Parker, just to name two) in expressing his disgust over McCain’s campaign-induced flipflops and poor choices—including Palin.
In the GOP netherworld, the gates of Hell opened up under Mr. Buckley. Several vicious hundred hate mails later, he effectively resigned from the National Review, the conservative political publication founded by William F., to that rag’s relief.
Mr. Buckley knows he did the right thing. “So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me…” is how he put it in a recent DailyBeast blog post.
Frankly, I think Pup would have been proud. You’re voting for the person, if not his policies. But certainly you’re not blindly voting for your party out of habit.
Well, CB, as we say here in Marin County, welcome to the other side.
Saving you a seat in the hot tub,