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.
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?
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.