Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The Fall of the House of Buckley

There are few people in the 20th Century I respected more than Bill Buckley. Not only was he a very perceptive thinker and an outstanding writer, but he was just the sort of television personality I liked best. Add to that his influence on the formerly Grand Old Party and his other talents (he gave a solo performance in Carnegie Hall on a harpsichord he designed and built, for example) and he truly was an outstanding guy. He and his lovely wife had but a single progeny, a son, Christopher, who was an outstanding writer even to a few years ago, with such comic gems as The White House Mess and Thank You for Smoking. Then things started to go wrong for Christopher. His books took on a stultifying sameness which some authors, the lesser ones, fall into. He then endorsed Barack Obama for president and left his father's creation, the National Review. Then he wrote a book very critical of his parents both of whom recently died (and of course they cannot now defend themselves or offer a different narrative). I have to quote John Hinderaker on this:

I've read only a few of Bill Buckley's books, but I recall the great affection with which he wrote of Christopher in one of his later books about sailing. I suppose there is something lower than attacking your parents in print after their deaths--while, no doubt, assiduously cashing all inheritance checks--but I can't offhand think what it would be.

And now there's this. Money quote:

Meanwhile, I am delighted, overall, with our president’s first 100 days. I think he has struck a fine tone overseas (trans: the U.S. is less detested than it has been in recent years). He has exhibited the “first-class temperament” that persuaded me he was the man for the job. He is, as I called him last October, “one cool cat.” (The only time he seems to have gotten “furious” was yesterday, over that idiotic Air Force One photo-op-from-hell over Manhattan.)
On the minus side, I think his waffling over prosecuting Bush Justice Department officials for approving the enhanced interrogation methods (trans: “torture”) is detrimental and even dangerous. I thought Mr. Obama was initially on the right track with his “let’s move forward” approach (I applaud him, for among other things, retreating on renegotiating NAFTA) and hope that Attorney General Eric Holder, who did exactly the right thing in castigating the Ted Stevens prosecutors, will decide in the end against proceeding against the Bush-era officials.
Mr. Obama’s spending worries me greatly. If every president who comes into office doubles the national debt, then we are finished. We are burying future generations (trans: our children) under crushing debt.

Kind of a free fall, to my way of thinking.

UPDATE: Compare what Ann Coulter wrote about her recently departed mom and dad to the Mum and Pup, dearests treatment from Christopher Buckley.


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