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Et tu, Buckley?

October 15, 2008 |  1:51 pm

Chrisbuckley Christopher Buckley, the son of famed editor, columnist and conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr., is a fine writer and thinker in his own right, but seems to have achieved maximal fame only after slapping many of his father's biggest fans in the face.

Buckley was forced to resign as a columnist with National Review, the magazine his father founded, after endorsing Barack Obama in a blog post on The Daily Beast. The conservative reaction has been predictable: in a follow-up post, Buckley said the comments received at the Beast, an interactive venture backed by Barry Diller, has been running about 7-to-1 in favor, but at National Review it's been more like 700-to-1 against. A sampling of the reaction on Republican website gopusa.com shows many Republicans think Buckley is a communist and a traitor who should be disinherited from the grave; one commenter eloquently described Buckley's endorsement as "intellectual patricide."

But is it really? William F. Buckley, who died last February, was no fan of George W. Bush, whom he didn't regard as a true conservative, and toward the end of his life he seemed deeply dismayed by the influence of the evangelical movement over the Republican Party. Christopher Buckley, who says he was once genuinely fond of John McCain, switched over to Obama in part out of disgust at the way McCain has conducted his campaign, but largely because of his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. "What on earth can [McCain] have been thinking?" Buckley wrote. It seems almost certain that if Buckley's blue-blooded, Yale-educated father were alive today, he would have felt exactly the same way.

* Photo of Christopher Buckley by AP

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