October 10th, 2008
11:08 PM ET
10 years ago

A Buckley endorses Obama

Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, is backing Obama.

Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, is backing Obama.

(CNN) - No, hell has not frozen over, but a Buckley is backing a Democrat for president.

Christopher Buckley, the son of the late conservative icon William F. Buckley, said Friday he's decided to back Barack Obama's White House bid, the first time in his life he will vote Democrat.

“It’s a good thing my dear old mum and pup [sic] are no longer alive. They’d cut off my allowance," Buckley, a columnist for the conservative National Review, wrote on the Web site The Daily Beast Friday.

Buckley, who praised McCain in a New York Times Op-Ed earlier this year and defended the Arizona senator's conservative credentials against wary talk-radio hosts, said McCain is no longer the “real” and “unconventional” man he once admired.

"This campaign has changed John McCain," Buckley wrote. "It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget 'by the end of my first term.' Who, really, believes that?

"Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis," Buckley added. "His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?"

But Buckley made clear he's not just voting against McCain, praising Obama for his "first-class temperament and first-class intellect."

"Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy 'We are the people we have been waiting for' silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for," Buckley wrote.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (873 Responses)
  1. Caligirl

    I have a question and I'm hoping one of the conservatives that might be blogging can help me out. Here goes.

    "What exactly is it you all are trying to conserve; a way of life that doesn't fit in the world we live in today?"

    October 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  2. Confused_voter

    Who is taking him seriously? And who is confused by Obama's rhetoric and empty promises, all talks without practical experiences and life-time achievements, or even substance and character?? He is only good in hiding behind Joe Biden. It proves a confusing time, with compromising messages, while Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton would know better when they said Barack Obama was not qualified or prepared to be commander-in-chief an a dangerous world. We need someone who can answer the phone, on his own, at 3 A.M. in the White House. And John McCain is ready to answer any leaders such as Vladimir Putin of Russia. Who is Obama, really? Should it be Biden/Obama, or Clinton/Obama, instead of Obama/Biden?? Mr. Barack Obama reminds me of Jimmy Carter, and he is bringing our nation into deeper recession, or even another Great Depression, with big spending, higher taxes to pay for his spending, and more and more government-control. No more freedom, folks, sorry!

    October 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. Rave

    Good decision Mr. Buckley. I am sure your parents would have been proud with your decision, if they were alive
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    October 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. JC: Obama 08,12'

    Even hard core republican can see that john mccain is fake, he's a desperate liar. i urge more republican to do the same as Buckley.

    October 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Concerned Citizen

    It's good to see someone using their brain to vote, not fanatical affiliation to a political party.

    October 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. sabuc for Obama

    Obama has an "Early voting" ad inside the environment of the Xbox 360 game Burnout Paradise. Now Buckley is backing Obama? Game over boys and girls!

    October 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. Sheryl

    Ouch, GOP...

    October 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. Throw Dirt & Mud From Behind a Skirt - Face-to Face ur as timid as a Flirt

    Insightful man. The balance the budget promise had me rolling with laughter earlier today. I just saw on the news tonight that McCain actually took a stand against the insolent outbursts at his rallies..lol. Shocking.!!! In his statement he actually called Obama a decent man..lol.
    I don't know whether or not he is being sincere, if it's a new scampaign tactic or if his conscience was poking him in the gut. Let' see if the negative ads still air in the media..

    October 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. Roger

    Wise move!!

    October 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. Randy

    So, Buckley goes from staunch conservative, to far left liberal , and bases his reasoning on those explanations? It's too bad ...it seems like too many Americans have had some mysterious veil pulled over their eyes, preventing them from seeing reality. Yes, he's smooth, "he looks presidential", but his roots and background, beginning at Columbia, and carrying over to men like Ayers to Wright to Mayor Daley..are far, far left of what America needs. Why can't anybody see this guy really for what , and who, he really is? In his heart he really doesn't like America very much, and his friends hate capitalism. I fear Americans will be sorry, but it will be too late by then.

    October 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. American Joe

    Thank God, conservatives as well as liberals understand that if we want our values to stand strong, we have to have a strong economy and safe country. No McInsane!

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. Iowa Independent

    There will be more known "conservatives" joining the Obama ranks.............

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. Mack

    Well maybe Buckley will get Obama to also be honest about his past connections. Contrary to what the MSM says, this is a VALID question. If you connect all the dots it paints a sketchy picture and Mr.Obama has mislead us by not be 100% truthful. His connection to Ayers is important and I am tired of my fellow democrats putting this American Terrorist on a pedistal just to protect Obama. He is not a good man, he has never apologized to his victims and wished that he had done more. There is also deeper connections to Rezko and Wright. While we want to look the other way, we must question why the Obama campaign gave a 800,000 donation to Acorn through another organization and now we have proof of thousands of fraudulent voter registrations. Obama needs to answer and if he does not this will always hang over his presidency. The american people are not racist, we just want Obama to finally answer a question honestly.

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. wrongwinger

    oooh man. you better watch it or mccains supporters will be calling for your head too. i can't believe the people showing up for his campaign yelling kill him, and traitor, treason., arab. what the heck has the republican party turned into. a bunch of backwoods rednecks. and the fact that jon mcbush didn't immediatley point out the wronglyness of that only goes to show what a true unamerican he truely is.

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. exrev

    Finally someone on the other side has seen the light. The media is talking about the "Daly" effect when it comes to people entering the polling booth. Makes me wonder if there are going to be many proud republicans who will profess to backing McCain, but behind the closed curtain will be voting for Obama, and then walk out and proudly tell their republican friends they voted for the "Maverick." Then in future elections we can talk about the "McCain" effect.

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. Brandon (Wilmington, NC)

    Way to see the light! I've crossed the line as well and will be voting Obama/Biden this year, he making me proud to be an American again!

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. Mark in Omaha

    I think he summarized it nicely. I too was a life long Republican, but 8 years of divisive politics, fear mongering and fanning the flames of intolerance has run this Country into a shambles. Whereas I don't completely agree with Barack Obama's political views, he certainly seems like a better leader, and a man that can start the healing process, not only at home, but with our reputation that has been damaged worldwide. Compare the two objectively...who is more Presidential? OBAMA

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  18. judy, Wisconsin

    Wow wow-thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  19. EG

    Well said! Great to see Christopher's endorsement. That makes two of us.

    I think as more conservatives abandon this shameful McCain/Palin campaign, it provides the nation a chance to turn the page and the Republican party to begin rebuilding.

    I look forward to a genuine, moral and conservative GOP in 2012.

    In the meantime, if you really disagree with Obama's political views but disdain this awful behaviour of McCain/Palin et al, consider casting your vote for a conservative (Barr/Root or Baldwin/Castle) this time. It says no thanks to the corporate-socialist and neo-fascist wings of the party (Bush/Cheney and now apparently McCain) but lets them know you will be waiting for them next time if they choose a positive candidate who wants to unite America.

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  20. Mathew Joseph

    Some of them will see the light, eventually!
    Others will constitute, the 45 % ignoronimous (meaning plain dumb)who support war, the mayor of Alaska and an old grumpy stiff (pun intended).

    The rabid republicans are like the frog in well, they dont know the outside world.

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. Obamaican

    See, this is exactly why I am voting for Obama this year.

    I may be a Republican, but I have no trust in my parties nominee. Ever since he chose Sarah Palin, it's clear he'd prefer to pander to the crazy Religious Right who wants to steal my party, rather than stick to his convictions.

    Maybe my Party will show me a good candidate someday, but right now Obama is the man I trust with the country. We don't see eye to eye – but I trust him to want whats best.

    October 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  22. dylan

    Kudos. A Republican can see through the distortions. America does have a chance. Thank you Mr. Buckley for voting on principle.

    I hope there are more of him.

    October 10, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  23. John

    It's a breath of fresh air to know we still have conservatives out there who understand why temperament, intelligence, inspiration and steady leadership is important – I admire John McCain, and I have voted the Republican ticket the last two general elections. However, the tactics McCain is allowing to happen under his leadership are un becoming on a future leader of free world. John and Sarah will be remembered as the two who brought down the Republican party.
    My advise to John McCain – think about the damage you are doing to the party...there are som great Republican congressmen / women; Senators and State leaders who you will take down with you using the tactics you are applying.
    I will vote for the Obama/Biden ticket and support the local Rep tickets.

    October 10, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. Mike from CA

    Welcome aboard Buckley.


    October 10, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. charlee

    I commend Mr. Buckley for his decision and agree with him when it comes to who McCain has become. I once admired McCain for standing up to his party, but this election has swayed him to compromise himself on several occasions which have turned him into someone not so appealing.
    I was originally a HIllary Supporter, leaning towards McCain until Palin became the puppet and now, I too am an Obama/Biden supporter.

    October 10, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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