Excommunicated: After Publically Endorsing Obama, William F. Buckley’s Son, Christopher, Is Driven to Resign from National Review

At The Caucus blog today:

Christopher Buckley, the author and son of the late conservative mainstay William F. Buckley, said in a telephone interview that he has resigned from the National Review, the political journal his father founded in 1955.

Mr. Buckley said he had “been effectively fatwahed by the conservative movement” after endorsing Barack Obama in a blog posting on TheDailyBeast.com; since then, he said he has been blanketed with hate mail at the blog and at the National Review, where he has written a column.

As a result, he wrote to Richard Lowry, the editor of the National Review, and its publisher, Jack Fowler, offering to resign, and “this offer was rather briskly accepted,” Mr. Buckley said.

Mr. Buckley said he did not understand the sense of betrayal that some of his conservative colleagues felt, but said that the fury and ugly comments his endorsement generated is “part of the calcification of modern discourse. It’s so angry.” Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan’s quote about the Democrats, Mr. Buckley added, “I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.”

Christopher Buckley is an honest intellectual jewel among the Republican tribe—and he is being cast aside in the name of ideological purity.

They don’t know—nor, apparently, do they care—what they have thrown away.

The truth is that the Republican party is no longer a conservative party—but an authoritarian party. It’s wed, in its tactics, to Machiavellian nihilism, and is impatient with nuance and dissent.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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8 Responses to Excommunicated: After Publically Endorsing Obama, William F. Buckley’s Son, Christopher, Is Driven to Resign from National Review

  1. ss says:

    Just so,

    My respects to Mr. Buckley. I may not support his political views but deeply appreciate the fact he is willing to stand for them in the face of the mob. It’s invidious of the “conservative” movement to attack one of the more lucid of its members and cowardly of the National Review to not examine Mr. Buckley’s position in detail to provide discourse on what has clearly become a trend. Kathleen Parker faced the same “disciplinary” action when acknowledging what all know: Sarah Palin is simply not qualified to be President of the United States.

    I find it unfortunate that thugs have taken over the Republican party as a strong two party system is essential to government in the United States. Given that the current crop of “politicians” masquerading as “Republicans” have gorged themselves on public largess to such an extent that event their own are repulsed, we can only expect a multi-cycle backlash at a time when steady wisdom is required.

    A shame…

  2. Gunner Sykes says:

    It is true that the Republican Party has lost the way of conservatism, but Barack Obama certainly is not the answer. As for thuggery one only has to observe the Democrats’ reaction to Sarah Palin. Pot, meet kettle.

  3. santitafarella says:

    gunner sykes:

    how is it “thuggery” to point out sarah palin’s ridiculousness?

    and how is it “thuggery” to hold her feet to the fire about giving a press conference and answering questions?


  4. Reverend Manny says:

    “The truth is that the Republican party is no longer a conservative party—but an authoritarian party. It’s wed, in its tactics, to Machiavellian nihilism, and is impatient with nuance and dissent.” you hit it right on the head there…

    i second your comment to Gunner Sykes… isn’t it more “thuggish” to try to ram this simpleton down our throat?

    One Love,
    –Reverend Manny

  5. acs2008 says:

    “Excommunication” is a perfect word to describe the reaction of Republicans to this endorsement. Mr. Buckley has committed the ultimate heresy by straying from the party line.

  6. diggingintothefacts says:

    This is typical liberal hypocrisy. Would you have Joe Lieberman singing McCain´s praises from your camp?

    Here’s what you Democrats did:
    Defame your party’s most outstanding political jewel, a former President of the United States, by calling him a racist.
    Insult, ridicule, lash at and coerce his wife, when she exercised her constitutional right to complete her run for Democratic presidential nominee.
    Intimidate your two political jewels to do forced labor KGB style for Obama, who did not turn out to be a landslide candidate as you had expected; or do you think anybody has been fooled for one second into believing the Clintons are campaigning for Obama out of true conviction?

    Voilà the Democratic Party: The audacity of hypocrisy.

  7. santitafarella says:


    i can only speak for myself, but i haven’t felt any particular animus toward joe lieberman—until very recently (when i heard him defending mccain’s choice of sarah palin for vp. i thought he gave a mendacious performance there). but, after november, i think that democrats would be happy to work with lieberman, and caucus with him on a number of issues.

    lieberman is a moderate hawk. that’s not a bad thing.

    and i think that if mccain had picked lieberman for vp that he would have made an excellent and sane choice, and that mccain would be much closer in the polls for doing so.

    as for hillary and bill, i simply disagree with you on their value to the party. i think that both of them are clinical narcissists—and interested, first, in collecting personal power (not necessarily doing what’s best for the party).

    i, for one, am deeply relieved that obama has at least loosened, if not entirely broken, their grip on the party apparatus.

    having said that, i think that hillary is a formidable intellectual and will make a great supreme court justice. i don’t have a quarrel with hillary clinton intellectually. i think that she is wonderful in that regard, and i think that she is an inspiration to all people, especially young women exploring non-patriarchal ways of being in the world.

    and i want to know what hillary, joe l., and bill have to say about things.

    i think that intellectual diversity and openness is important—whether you are a partisan of the left or the right.

    don’t you agree?


  8. diggingintothefacts says:


    This race would be over if Obama had picked Hillary Clinton. He certainly wasn’t putting his party first. Let’s be honest about the VP picks. Joe Biden was rejected by his own party, and while the media has given him a pass, they have subjected Palin to vile, sexist depictions of her persona.

    I admire any woman, regardless of party affiliation, who is willing to take on the mysogynystic beliefs entrenched in American society. You, for one, speak of Palin’s “ridiculousness.” I am sure most Alaskans disagree with you. Palin is not a slick politician, but she is not dumb either. She just has a different kind of intelligence.

    Multiple intelligences are a fact – at least in my paradigm of human talent and expression. Palin has done her job as governor well. She has been able to give money back to Alaskans, and she has gotten rid of corrupt officials on both sides of the aisle. That is worth more to me than guessing what a hostile reporter’s own perception of the “Bush Doctrine” is (remember Bill’s very personal conceptualization of what “is” is. 🙂

    Knowing how brutal the media can be, I would have picked Giulianni. Lieberman was too great a risk, but I agree he and McCain would have made a great team.

    I am all for diversity and vigorous debate, santi, but I do not take freedom for granted.

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