Excerpts of "The Buckley Son Rises...and runs"
By Kathleen Parker
Christopher Buckley’s endorsement of Barack Obama — followed by his abrupt departure from the back page of the magazine his father founded, National Review — has caused a ripple of contempt from the conservative Right.
Nay, make that a tsunami of hostility. An avalanche of venom. A cataclysm of ... well, you get the idea. People are mad. Good riddance, they say, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.Let us proceed, gingerly.
I am not a passive bystander to these events. Buckley is a friend, as are other members of his family, especially Uncle Reid, with whom I have worked for several years. National Review is home to many friends, and its online editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, kindly subscribes to my column. Like Buckley, I have enjoyed a decent fragging for suggesting that Sarah Palin excuse herself from the Republican ticket.
What gives here?
What does it mean that the right cannot politely entertain dissenting opinions within its ranks? What, if anything, does it portend that Buckley The Younger has bolted from the Right, even resigning from the family flagship? Some have opined, ridiculously, that Buckley — son of the famous William F. Buckley (WFB) — was merely seeking attention...So why did he do it? Because he had to. It’s in his genes. True believers of whatever stripe too often forget that the men and women who create movements are first and foremost radicals...Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, the younger Buckley said: “I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.”
Radical conservatives are still having an interesting time of it, though these days they are being mutilated by fellow “conservatives.” The well-fed Right now cultivates ignorance as a political strategy and humiliates itself when its brightest sons seek sanctuary in the solitude of personal honor. The truth few wish to utter is that the GOP has abandoned many conservatives, who mostly nurse their angst in private. Those chickens we keep hearing about have indeed come home to roost. Years of pandering to the extreme wing — the “kooks” the senior Buckley tried to separate from the right — have created a party no longer attentive to its principles. Instead, as Christopher Buckley pointed out in a blog post on thedailybeast.com explaining his departure from National Review, eight years of “conservatism” have brought us “a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance.”Republicans are not short on brainpower — or pride — but they have strayed off course. They do not, in fact, deserve to win this time, and someone had to remind them why.