Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Endorsement Sinks Buckley

William F's son endorsed Obama, and the National Review asked him to resign. Below is the news item that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on 15 October; what I liked best was the last paragraph:

"We seem to be living in a time of arteriosclerotic orthodoxy," Mr. Buckley said. "A lot of the fun has gone out of it. I mean, gee whiz."

Endorsement Sinks Buckley
by Rebecca Dana

The National Review accepted the resignation of columnist Christopher Buckley last week, shortly after the humorist and editor -- son of the conservative biweekly's late founder, William F. Buckley Jr. -- endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, Mr. Buckley said Tuesday.

Mr. Buckley issued his endorsement Oct. 10 on The Daily Beast, a Web site owned by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp and run by former New Yorker editor Tina Brown. Mr. Buckley said he didn't publish the endorsement in the National Review in hopes that a different venue would soften any reaction by the magazine's archconservative readership. It didn't.

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Some readers were outraged by the apostasy. So Mr. Buckley offered his resignation, and Editor Rich Lowry and Publisher Jack Fowler immediately accepted.

"I think they wanted to put as much daylight between Christopher Buckley and themselves as they could," Mr. Buckley said Tuesday, after publishing news of his resignation on The Daily Beast. "It's an odd situation, when the founder's son has suddenly become the turd in the punch bowl."

Mr. Lowry didn't return calls for comment, but he posted a statement on the magazine's Web site implying that Mr. Buckley was grandstanding -- that he was merely a temporary fill-in as columnist and that the volume of mail from National Review readers angry at Mr. Buckley's endorsement was far less than the "tsunami" Mr. Buckley had suggested.

Mr. Buckley didn't return calls for comment after Mr. Lowry posted that statement.

Mr. Fowler said he was blindsided by Mr. Buckley's revelations Tuesday. Discussions about Mr. Buckley's resignation over the weekend had been "very, very warm," he said, leaving Mr. Fowler with the impression that Mr. Buckley sincerely wanted out.

Mr. Buckley says his father, who endorsed a few Democrats in his time -- including Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman when he ran against Republican incumbent Lowell Weicker in 1988 -- was "quite tolerant of the surprising point of view" and never wanted his magazine's writers to be in intellectual lockstep.

"We seem to be living in a time of arteriosclerotic orthodoxy," Mr. Buckley said. "A lot of the fun has gone out of it. I mean, gee whiz."

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