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. Davonroe

    The McCain/Palin campaign has shown a clear hostility to intellectuals, even conservative intellectuals. That's why Buckley is supporting Barack Obama. The Buckleys were never driven by the rage that has appeared at McCain campaign rallies. That's why they are respected, even by people such as myself, who disagree with them.

    October 10, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. Sam O. from Silver Spring

    Mr. Buckley will surely be vilified and hated by many on the right for his well reasoned decision to support Obama but all of that will be outweighed greatly by the much good his support offers, particularly at this time of the campaign when the McCain camp has clearly decided victory must be sought and obtained by all means notwithstanding the effect on the individuals involved or the country as a whole.

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    Obama needs more prominent conservatives to endorse him. I think there are a lot more out there than the media wishes to cover.

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  4. Bill Ward

    Bravo! I used to define myself as a liberal republican, a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Unfortunately the last fiscally responsible leadership was the Clinton administration. I guess I'm now a conservative Democrat because I too am voting for Obama. His views on the war in Iraq and the bottom up economic views have earned my respect.
    I'd like to get in on the ground floor of history by predicting that Bush's invasion of Iraq will go down in history as the greatest tactical blunder since Gen. Custer at Little Big Horn. We hired a "C" student and we're not even getting "D" work.

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  5. Marge

    That's nothing a lot of big democrats back McCAin. Any dope can back obama, that's the kind that do.

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. Matilda

    Sad that his parents would have cut off his allowance......hopefully this world sees what he is talkin about.....& the people, older especially, can see that Obama is more than just a black man.....he's a interracial man w/a vision...unlike McCain who is senile

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. MD

    Mr. Buckley:

    I admire your courage and insight. I too was a life-long Republican until Senator McCain was nominated. I studied McCain's history when he first ran for president in 2000, and was alarmed by reports about his temper. In my humble opinion, that alone, disqualified Senator McCain then, and his race-baiting disqualifies him now.

    Further, a man who himself was subjected to Rovian smear campaign, should have never allowed hate-filled comments at his VP's rallies. He should have never engaged in them himself. McCain backtracked today, but that in itself proves that he was wrong.

    By allowing Palin to do as she pleases, McCain has practically ceeded power to his running mate. It is clear that he is unable to set the tone for his campaign. How can Americans trust him to set the tone in his administration, should he be elected president?

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  8. James

    The house is falling on McCain.May God save him.
    Sean Hannity will be next to endorce Barack

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. Troy

    Glad to see some conservatives opening their eyes and seeing what is going on in their own party. I was beginning to think they really were that stupid and brainwashed.

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. Gary

    If you like the current state of the economy brought to you by Barney Frank and company then you'll love Obama's plans for the economy. It was formerly known as the Herbert Hoover plan. You increase taxes and costs for businesses then institute a protectionist trade platform. It's guaranteed to turn an economic recession into a Great Depression. Just Google Herbert Hoover and see for yourself !!

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  11. ellington7

    This just shows that reason and sensibility exists on both sides regardless of ideology. Barack Obama (not osama) may have the credentials, temperment, and charisma to restore hope back to the american people and the world in a time of striking fear and dismay. He may not be the saviour that some left wing nuts say he is, but maybe that's not what we need. Maybe we just need a steady hand to lead us, with an uplifing message to bring optimism back to the minds and hearts of those who are in despair, losing there pensions, jobs. Maybe he can get those on the market who are scared to invest and lend the confidence to take a risk, and maybe his democratic policies have the juice to infultrate and filter out the corruption and greed that's destroyed the markets through tough regulation and oversite. Maybe a filibuster proof senate and a demoractic controlled house will be able to get things done in an expeditious manner rather than every bill being snuffed out due to partisan politics, and maybe Obama can be the uniter that brings republicans and dems together to tackle the dire issues we face at home and abroad. maybe

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  12. Larry

    So Beautifully said ...

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  13. Vic

    Early voting is the way to go.

    Registered Republican voted Obama/Biden 08

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Thank you Mr. Buckley for the integrity of mind and generosity of spirit. The truth lives, the hope endures.

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. NB

    Wow. That means everybody inculding conservatives are fed up of McCain. I must say they are putting the country first.

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. YT

    Mr. Buckley

    I could not agree with you more. America, Let us give Mr. Obama a chance.

    Kind Regards,

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  17. Ron in Memphis

    Is this allowed in the Republican Party?

    Surely he's violating some rule ... will the GOP kick him out?

    Wow, Republicans can think and make up their own minds ...

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  18. Opus109

    "Thank You for Endorsing"

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. Ken, Republican Voting for Obama

    At Last a fellow Republican seeing sense, this country will move on, McCain wants to give you guns but Obama wants to give you jobs so that you can buy 100 guns if you like, go hunting if you like, a gun however does not put food on the table, I will use the job to buy a house, take my kids to school and live a good life. Enough is Enough, this is the 21st century, there are people who think they are more American than others, time will tell.

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. docrock,tx

    I don't know about you,but,I can't wait to hear what the GOP comes up with about this!

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. Obama/Biden 08!

    Holy Cow! The Republicans are finally waking up??? About frigging time come on Mr Buckley send few more over to the dems side!!

    Landslide OBAMA!!!!

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. republican for OBAMA

    me too! OBAMA BIDEN 08

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. Obama 100%

    Thank you, Mr. Buckley, for coming to terms with the truth.

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. Justin

    If we see more prominent conservative defections over to Obama, that could have a big effect on the undecided vote - especially if conservatives say he's what "the historical moment seems to be calling for."

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. Mike D.

    ...and yet another Republican comes to his/her senses...

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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