The Spectacle Blog

No, This Won’t Do.

By on 10.26.08 | 10:21PM

Christopher Buckley in his sit-down with Deborah Solomon (perhaps the most predictable interview of the year):

Solomon: In the past few weeks you've been pilloried by the right for a column you contributed to a Web site, "Sorry, Dad, I'm Voting for Obama."

Buckley: What I mounted in The Daily Beast was an argument. It was not an attitudinal riff - it was not "John McCain is an old snarly-pants." I presented a thoughtful argument, and it was viewed as apostasy.

Full stop.

I think I may have missed this thoughtful argument. It was certainly nuanced, because I don't recall the policy positions Buckley decried. Instead, it was a discussion on temperament. What is the compelling policy position of Obama? The author doesn't even get into it.

So, no, it's not a thoughtful argument, nor is it a powerful argument. As for the apostacy, it's hard to make the case that someone is an apostate when he refrains from defining himself. At least, this is what I thought when I was relieved that Buckley decided not to call himself a conservative on the Daily Show a few days ago.

Stewart: You are a famous conservative

Buckley: No, no, I'm the son of a famous conservative.

Stewart: Okay, you are the son of a famous conservative, who is in fact a famous, let's say libertarian? Is that good? You wanna go label? What label do you want? 

Buckley: I'm not...

Stewart: Hip? How about hip?

Buckley: Yeah!

Then he goes and says this:

As a small-government conservative, I think it is all quite saddening. Here we are, a de facto nationalization of the banking industry. I don’t know where that fits into any conservative notion of government.

Look, I have no real beef with those who dissent from conservative orthodoxy, and I even commend them when they say that they're not conservatives. But he needs to firm up where he stands. This is all very post-modern, isn't it, to suggest that conservatism is whatever you make it out to be. But it's also tiresome.

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