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. P. D.

    Did Hell freeze over? McCain supporters are working themselves in a frenzy. Now Buckley has pulled the rug right from under McCain's campaign. Karma strikes again!

    October 10, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. Please think

    Wait!! Today is not April 1st! Seriously, this is called thinking. Clear, rational, comprehensive analysis, in making a voting decision between to candidates. It's amazing that 41-49% of people can not do this for whatever reason.

    October 10, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. Abby

    ...and the tide continues to turn...

    October 10, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Beth

    Mr. Buckley, it's great to have you on board!!

    October 10, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. Linda

    Great decision! I am 58 years old and normally vote republican; however, I decided to vote for Obama the first time I heard him and researched and witnessed his ability to organize, draw communities together, and bring a new vision for the future to the U.S. He has also demonstrated an incredible ability to organize a financially sound campaign.

    OBAMA/BIDEN on November 4!

    Linda in Indiana

    October 10, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  6. Brenda Shields

    I am concerned that I can easily give an individual email comment to McCain but not to Obama. Everytime I click on a website for Obama, it is unreachable for comment by the average person. It looks like a "KIngs: website. I did not like it. I liked McCains much better. It was easier to access to give a comment. I think evey American should have an easy way to give input to this election and to the future president. There are many important issues that are not being discussed due to the big economy "melt down". I hope neither candidate forgets that we have other BIG issues like health care, education, and the enviroment (save the whales and dolphins). I want to know which candidate agrees or disagrees with Bush on allowing the Navy to get away with not complying with our National protection laws just because of "National defense". Can we prove this is necessary for "National defence"? How much will it cost the American tax payer? I, for one, do not want a single penny of my tax dollars used for national defense that uses active sonar in our oceans that will kill whales.

    October 10, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. Jay

    Finally an honest and decent conservative. If Obama had run a campaign as negative and divisive as McCain or if he had picked a VP as horrible as Palin then I would have jumped ship too. As it stands, Obama is running an intelligent, focused campaign with much less negative attacks – It's exactly what this country needs at this time.

    October 10, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. Tyler in Raleigh

    Every last rat (or elephants in this case) are jumping off the sinking ship.

    October 10, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  9. anonimoose1

    I can't see voting for either of these two buffoons. I will just vote against every local incumbent , who after all got us into the present messes this nation faces.

    October 10, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. RD


    October 10, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. Ethel

    I like this man. Finally a conservative/republican speaking up for the good of the country. It's about time.

    October 10, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. bob in CA

    I agree with him. My group (all conservatives) were for McCain in 2000. Same early this year. But lately, we've all agreed the Man we admired has changed. Palin....then his strange behavior in the financial crisis and after made us realize this guy has changed. He's not the guy we admired in 2000. We are voting for Obama because we feel strongly that he is a leader, and he is sturdy and calm and that's what we need now.

    October 10, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. Paul in Georgia

    I liked both Christopher and his Dad long before now. I never cared who either voted for and still don't...As an independent liberal myself, I don't feel a need to demand that people share my views in order for me to like them.

    Christopher, you were a great guy before and you are a great guy now. Hands down the best American satirist since Heller.

    October 10, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  14. Barbara ,Texas

    Great Choice Mr. Buckley!!!!! Welcome to Change for the People..

    October 10, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. Tamara

    WOW, Now comes all the endorsements. Who is the next one to come out of the campaigns closet. Gee I can not wait.

    I am so sick of the election. Enough is Enough. We are going from extreme right to extreme left. We need experience at this time. Where is Hillary.

    October 10, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  16. Chris in Michigan

    I'm 35 and always thought of myself as a conservative republican. After looking back at the last 8 years and seeing how McSame is running his campaign I'm not interested in another 4 years. Even though there are a couple policies Obama supports that I don't agree with (pro-choice), I feel that his other visions and his leadership capability outweigh any bad qualities.

    October 10, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. Corey, Maryland

    Glad he has seen the light!!!

    Obama Biden 2008

    October 10, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. MBC

    Mr. Buckley,
    Your insight about John McCain and his demise as well as your vision for Obama as the best presidential candidate are heartwarming. Our country is on a path of destruction; however, Obama, Biden, and their other future cabinet members will increase hope and change for the betterment of the USA.
    Thank you.

    October 10, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  19. Citizen

    Christopher Buckley just did what George Will, David Brooks and many other decent Republicans are actually intending to do. Senator McCain and Governor Palin, you all are losing your politcal party or should we be calling these folks "Obama Republicans." Yes, if there were "Reagan Democrats" then we now have "Obama Republicans."

    On a side note African Americans used to vote for Republicans, so it now looks like Republicans will return the favor and vote for an African American.

    October 10, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. Brandon in Indiana

    More left wing liberal media favoring Obama....

    That's how the usual arguement goes, but I have no idea how the republicans will spin this. Either go the traditional route of traitor or no longer important on the national stage.

    But my guess is the third, a pronounced silence that is especially present in these boards where most moderate republicans have left the discussions while only the die-hard enthusiasts are left to try to justify themselves.

    October 10, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. PhillyFemale

    Mr. Buckley has my greatest respect for his willingness to keep his mind open – something partisans of both parties have difficulty doing – and having the courage to announce his support for Mr. Obama in such a definitive way. His concern for his country shines through in his statement. He is to be much admired.

    October 10, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  22. bill for barack

    Well said.

    October 10, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. tigerakabj

    Come on over buddy. Conservatives, progressives, moderates, everybody is welcome in the Obama camp. We appreciate differing viewpoints as long as you don't shout "traitor" or "terrorists" or "kill him."

    The party your dad belonged to Christopher is done. Bush badly damaged it and Mccain/Palin are finishing it off. They need to say hello to the Whig party in the land of oblivion.

    Obama/Biden 2008/2012.

    October 10, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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