Christopher Buckley's Forced Resignation and the Right's Intolerance Problem

OMG! He endorsed Obama! Time to exile him with a blast of angry E-mails.

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If you savor intolerance, try reading the National Review. Founder William F. Buckley's son, Christopher Buckley, offered to resign his column (although one gets the impression if he hadn't offered, he would have been unceremoniously tossed out the window) because he wrote a column for thedailybeast.com endorsing (OMG!) Barack Obama for president.

Buckley writes further on that site about why he resigned and what kind of E-mail response his action drew:

I had gone out of my way in my Beast endorsement to say that I was not doing it in the pages of National Review, where I write the back-page column, because of the experience of my colleague, the lovely Kathleen Parker. Kathleen had written in NRO that she felt Sarah Palin was an embarrassment. (Hardly an alarmist view.) This brought 12,000 livid emails, among them a real charmer suggesting that Kathleen's mother ought to have aborted her and tossed the fetus into a dumpster. I didn't want to put NR in an awkward position.

Since my Obama endorsement, Kathleen and I have become BFFs and now trade incoming hate-mails. No one has yet suggested my dear old Mum should have aborted me, but it's pretty darned angry out there in Right Wing Land. One editor at National Review—a friend of 30 years—emailed me that he thought my opinions "cretinous." One thoughtful correspondent, who feels that I have "betrayed"—the b-word has been much used in all this—my father and the conservative movement generally, said he plans to devote the rest of his life to getting people to cancel their subscriptions to National Review."

Hmmmm, so now we find out so-called Pro-Lifers are Pro-Choice when it comes to stifling public dissent. How bizarre! Nice bunch that. I'd love to get my Thomas Jefferson Street colleague Michael Barone's reaction to Buckley's treatment.

Buckley's decision doesn't seem to be too out of line with those of many other conservatives. Yesterday's CBS News/ New York Times poll shows Senator Obama with a 14 percentage point lead nationwide over Sen. John McCain.

That wide a margin (which will surely tighten before Election Day) means Obama is drawing lots of support from his philosophical opponents. It's the economy, stupid! (Not you, of course—just mimicking the now-infamous James Carville slogan.)