Thanks to the likes of Howard Kurtz, Christopher Buckley today enjoyed 15 minutes of victimhood fame. It does seem fatuous to depict him a victim of right-wing intolerance after he demonstratively announced he’ll be voting for Obama. Why no such stunt back when he gave money to Ron Paul? Be that as it may, Kurtz’s report is as shallow as his subject. Buckley didn’t “lose” his back-page column, but rather was writing it during Mark Steyn’s absence. Yes, his father endorsed Joe Lieberman, but at the expense of the unpleasant RINO, Lowell Weicker. But one needs to go no further about Buckley’s usefulness to the left than E.J. Dionne‘s citing Buckley’s invoking of his father’s words to excuse his own turn to Obama: “You know, I’ve spent my entire lifetime separating the right from the kooks.” You know, the very pro-McCain voters whom Dionne depicts as forces of “fear, xenophobia, racism and anger.”
For some genuine insight into the Christopher-NR flap, read these comments that a friend sent me:
WFB’s endorsement of Allard Lowenstein is a better example than backing Lieberman over Weicker. I think the whole flap reflects poorly on everyone involved. Buckley’s endorsement of Obama was poorly reasoned, self-absorbed, and self-indulgent, a (successful) attention-grabbing maneuver by an unserious person. It’s more reflective of Buckley’s class and in-group prejudices than any high principle. Plus, when you insult a group of readers it is hard to feel sorry for you when it generates hate mail.
But I don’t see why NR felt the need to accept his “resignation.” It was something that was obviously going to blow over and Buckley is, for all his faults as political non-thinker, a talented writer. Are we really in such bad shape we can’t tolerate a prodigal son (perhaps in reverse) in our midst? Is severing their last surviving connection to the Buckley legacy something worth doing for McCain? However much righties imagine themselves to be in the tank for McCain, they should have no illusions he’ll be in the tank for them/us.
The whole thing, like so much of what passes for American political debate today, is pathetic.
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