Christopher Buckley quits the National Review

His relationship with the conservative movement has gone sour since he endorsed Obama; he has now left the magazine his father founded.

Published October 14, 2008 8:45PM (EDT)

Christopher Buckley, a man with perhaps the finest conservative pedigree in the nation, is an accepted member of the conservative elite no more.

Buckley is the son of William F. Buckley Jr., and served for a time as then Vice President George H.W. Bush's chief speechwriter. He also was, until very recently, a columnist for the National Review -- the magazine his legendary father founded.

That gig came to an end, though, shortly after he wrote a blog post last week in which he endorsed Barack Obama. The reaction on the right, Buckley writes Tuesday, was not friendly:

As for the mail flooding into National Review Online -- that's been running about, oh, 700-to-1 against. In fact, the only thing the Right can't quite decide is whether I should be boiled in oil or just put up against the wall and shot. Lethal injection would be too painless.

Buckley offered to resign from the magazine shortly after the endorsement, he says:

This offer was accepted -- rather briskly! -- by Rich Lowry, NR's editor, and its publisher, the superb and able and fine Jack Fowler. I retain the fondest feelings for the magazine that my father founded, but I will admit to a certain sadness that an act of publishing a reasoned argument for the opposition should result in acrimony and disavowal.

Responding at the National Review Online, Lowry writes that there have been only about 100 e-mails, and very few threats of subscription cancellations:

No doubt part of what upset these readers was the dim view Chris expressed of them in his first Daily Beast post. So it goes. It's an intense election season and emotions are running high. We continue to have the highest regard for Chris's talent and wit, and extend to him warmest regards and understanding.

Further down the page at NRO, meanwhile, Andy McCarthy speculates that Buckley has been tricked into making the endorsement. Obama, he proposes, is not actually the good writer who so impressed Buckley, and "Dreams From My Father" was ghost-written by -- who else? -- William Ayers. 

Seems like the way to win back the alienated members of the conservative intelligentsia, no?

By Gabriel Winant

Gabriel Winant is a graduate student in American history at Yale.

MORE FROM Gabriel Winant

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections War Room