The son of the late conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. was taken up on his resignation offer from the magazine his father founded Tuesday after mounting reader outrage over his endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Christopher Buckley revealed his ouster from National Review during an interview with the Austin-American Statesman in which he discussed, among other things, his new comic novel about the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last week, Buckley wrote a piece entitled, “Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama,” for the DailyBeast.com. In it, he lists a number of reasons for abandoning support of Republican John McCain, including McCain’s erratic policy reversals and his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Buckley insists he is still a conservative, and he concedes that Obama is a dye-in-the-wool liberal. But quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, Buckley writes Obama has a “first-class temperament” that will allow him to embrace positions that might not suit his ideology.
The resulting outrage from conservatives writing in to National Review couldn’t be ignored, Buckley told the newspaper. He offered to resign his column — and it was accepted.
“It upset a great number of people — a huge number of canceled subscriptions, apostasy, the whole thing,” he said from Washington.
When he offered his resignation to the magazine’s editors, “I was sort of hoping for, ‘Well, let’s think about it,' but, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, 'I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me.'”
Buckley is one of a small group of conservative writers who have abandoned McCain over the last two weeks. Others include David Brooks, the house conservative at The New York Times, and Kathleen Parker, who also writes for the National Review Online as well as newspapers. On Monday, they were joined by Heather Mac Donald, a columnist with the conservative City Journal, a leading urban affairs think tank and magazine.
Like the others, Mac Donald was especially critical of McCain’s selection of Palin, who she described as inexperienced and inarticulate.
“I know, it’s elitist to expect a candidate for president or vice president to speak like an adult,” Mac Donald wrote in a column Monday entitled “Gettin’ All Mavericky.”
"There was a time, however, when conservatives upheld adult standards — such as clarity of speech and thought — without apology, even in the face of the relentless downward pull of adolescent culture. But now, when a vice-presidential candidate talks like a teenager, mugs like an American Idol contestant, and traffics in syntactical dead-ends and non sequiturs, we are supposed to find her charming and authentic.”
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