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

A Buckley endorses Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/10/art.buckley.ap.jpg caption="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. insanity

    I don't blame him for making this move. McCain has been erratic and impulsive. McCain has proven that he can't think beyond the next news cycle. He's not a long term planner.
    Sarah Palin lack the intelligence to be a leader, and McCain picking her proves he did it for the votes and not for the betterment of the country.

    October 10, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. democrats for CA

    Smart move!!!!!!! Obama/Biden – 08 & 2012

    October 10, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. dave M.

    I admire this guy – Buckley. It is great to belong to a party and it's idealogy, but it is greatest to be honest and love your country.

    As Obama has said time and again, this election is not about Obama or John McCain or Democrats or Republicans. It is about America, our way of life, OUR FUTURE, OUR ECONOMIC SITUATION and our leadership role in the world. If nothing else, I really hope voters will think simply about this and see that only Democrats can turn the economy around anytime it is in a mess caused by a republican. Think of FDR after the great depression, he was a democrat and he turned it around. Bill Clinton after the Regan and Bush I economic mess, Clinton a democrat turn things around. Now after this Bush and such a mess, only a democrat can turn it around, simple. It is all a matter of economic policies. Republicans have the same economic policies, so one R could clean after another R. Fellow Americans, think like Americans and forget this party nonsense because McCain's economic policy is the same like Bush's so we need a different policy to change things for us and make it better. VOTE FOR OBAMA AND HELP SAVE OUR ECONOMY!

    October 10, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. Chris

    Yes, you said it right and thank you Mr. Buckley.

    October 10, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  5. aware

    Poor choice!

    Obama encourages people to see themselves as victims instead of creative problem solvers!

    And, encourages them to put their hand out instead of putting their hand to the task!

    His rhetoric of American reputation being based on how "we treat the least of these" is hypocritical!

    He voted against legislation that would have protected viable babies born after botched abortions! Certainly these little ones are among "the least of these?"

    The obfuscating Obama is not fit to be president of the USA! 🙁

    October 10, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  6. ednadavid

    There is a GOD!

    October 10, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  7. I Just Said Thanks, but No Thanks to Another 4 Years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    Oh my God, hell just froze over.

    October 10, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  8. NY Democrat

    Oh Buckley, guess what happens next? You will be accused as part of the the drive by media, intellectual culture elite and whatever else the right wing radio show media can throw at you. Can you say Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and the Capital Regions own Paul Vandenburgh, aka, I love drunken former Rep. John Sweeney.

    October 10, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  9. Dan, TX

    Thank you. As a conservative who is enthusiastically supporting Obama myself, it is always good to know that rational thought can prevail over the noise. The next president has a daunting task that will require a 24/7 effort just to keep the boat afloat, let alone sailing smoothly into calm seas. I'm sure Obama will do a better job than McCain. Maybe not enough so that in four years all is well. By then, a rational republican may decide to run for president and kick out the Dems who failed to put us all the way back on course.

    October 10, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  10. Jason in SDY

    Well heroes just seem to pop out of nowhere sometimes, eh? Obama/Biden 2008.

    October 10, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  11. HerbTee

    Hell has indeed frozen over! Thank you Mr. Buckley.

    October 10, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  12. Republican for Obama

    Welcome on board Mr Buckley...Obama is the leader we all have been waiting for...

    October 10, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  13. Doc

    I'm not of any party but for this guy to come forward and say this. We have indeed come a long way. While some would think he betrayed the base i think he actually makes republicans look half way smart. I was beginning to think the entire base was wacko.

    October 10, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. Brant

    It's refreshing to see a prominent individual rationalize his decision based upon something more than party loyalty. His reasoning is honest and articulate. The founders of our country advised us to base our political decisions upon 'republican virtue.' Mr. Buckley has just demonstrated that idea is still alive and well today. Bravo sir!

    October 10, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  15. mark


    October 10, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  16. Alex from Alexandria

    Thank you Mr. Buckley. Any bright person should be able to see this. you are Genuine person; Thank you. Tell the truth and shame the devil

    October 10, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  17. Lu

    Party loyalty is a dangerous thing if you place it above everything, truth and country. Look what has happened to some of the angry crowds that Palin has aroused. Look at the lies that Sean Hannity and Ruben Naverrette have to spew out to keep going. I am glad to see so many influential conservatives switching to the side of enlightenment.

    October 10, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. sophia nyc

    Dear God hell has frozen over. Or perhaps Mr. Buckley is being channeled from the depths of the universe.

    Either way, smart move.

    October 10, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. RK

    That's it! You're not a Republican ANYMORE!!!

    October 10, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. ladyloba


    October 10, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. jm from sc

    Yes Dave, it does. It means that McCain's attempt to scare our white brothers and sisters is not working.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 10, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. McCain can't keep the parts together

    Bush was a Christian populist GOP; McCain was the "Maverick" who wanted to become the anti-Bush, but appeal to the GOP populist base. He has misfired on all accounts = demonstrating his own failure of leadership. I believe Romney or Huckabee would have run smarter campaigns. I can't believe a Buckley is backing a Dem: that's deep...

    October 10, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  23. mrwolf

    Major blow for McCain! I am an independent and my believes are what the GOP represents. However after taking a few steps back and really examinimg the candidates and fact checking their statements Obama has has a better platform. He's not perfect but he ain't aiming for sainthood. McCain has changed so much and is so rabid that he seems like a bull in quicksand, the more he tries the more he sinks.

    October 10, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  24. Vic

    Wow, you can't be serious! Your father not deceased a year, and here you are a traitor to your heritage. Hope you don't prove to be sorry for this decision, but wouldn't be surprised. I have long been a Democrat, but John McCain is undoubtedly the last of those who are 100% presidential. There's no doubt he'll be president to all the people, not just his party. Can't tell what his opponent will do - as we've seen so little of him!

    October 10, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  25. Gambi

    AT last.........a Republican with courage of conviction who speaks the truth about what he sees unfolding in front of our eyes. Over the years I have supported many republicans in office and always admired John Mc Cain however in the last few months I have lost all respect for him and his reckless choice for a vice president. They have stooped to a new low in American politics. I too believe Barrack Obama is i going to be a great leader! Thank you for your honesty and integrety.

    October 10, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
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