The real Chris Buckley takes rather a suave beat-down courtesy of Iowahawk: As a Conservative, I Must Say I Do Quite Like the Cut of this Obama Fellow’s Jib
By T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII
Columnist, The National Topsider
Membership Chairman, The Newport Club
When my late father T. Coddington Van Voorhees VI founded the iconoclastic conservative journal National Topsider in 1948, he famously declared that “Now is the time for all good conservative helmsmen to hoist the mizzen, pour the cocktails, and steer this damned schooner hard starboard.” In the 60 years since he first uttered it after one-too-many Cosmopolitans at one of Pamela Harriman’s notorious foreign policy black tie balls, father’s pithy bon mot has served as a rallying cry for conservatives from Greenwich to Chevy Chase. Today, I say it’s time for we conservatives to once again grab the rigging and set sail with the flotilla of the true conservative in this race: Barack Obama.
Trust me, I haven’t taken this tack lightly. No Van Voorhees has supported an avowed socialist since great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandpapa Cragmont Van Voorhees lent Peter Minuet $24 and a sack of wampum to swing a subprime mortgage on Manhattan Island. Old dad himself often recounted how, as a lad, he would command the family chauffeur Carleton to drive the Duesenberg down to the Times Square Trans-Lux so he could hiss Roosevelt. But I’ve taken a good measure of this Obama fellow, and I must say I like the cut of the man’s jib.
Undoubtedly, I enjoyed this bit best:
But there is an even more compelling reason to support Barack Obama: Sarah Palin.
If you are a conservative like me, you guffawed when you heard John McCain announced this declasse rube as a running mate, followed by good-natured applause, thinking it was some sort of whimsical campus prank he was reenacting from his Annapolis years. This was, of course, quickly followed the shock of realizing that he wasn’t joking, and all that Hanoi unpleasantness had finally driven him around the bend.
It’s an inescapable conclusion that this woman has, in 6 short weeks, single-handedly destroyed the Republican party. Certainly George Bush may share some of the blame; but we conservatives must remember how our hopes were buoyed by his impressive bloodlines and Yale degree before we realized his excursion to Texas had caused him to “go native.” But la Palin offers true conservatives no such extenuating graces. I mean, my God, this woman is simply awful; the elided vowels, the beauty pageantry, the guns, the crude non-Episcopal protestantism, the embarrassing porchload of children with horrifying hillbilly names, the white after Labor Day. As fellow conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan quipped to me the other day outside a Martha’s Vineyard antique shop, it’s gratifying to know the Gipper isn’t alive to see what has become of his party.
But it’s not just American conservatives who are appalled. Just last week conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks and I were enjoying an apres-badminton apertif at the family weekend house in Montauk with my good friend Viscount Klaus-Maria Von Wallensheim, the conservative EU Agricultural Pricing Minister with whom I shared an Alpine chalet and manservant during our years as classmates at a Swiss boarding school. “Kloonkie” (my old school appellation for the Viscount) reported the growing dismay of the Continental Right over Palin’s embarrassing enthusiasm for childbirth and Israel.
“Coddsie, old chap, ” he warned, “You know I’ve always been been America’s biggest defender in Monaco. But if you elect this ill-bred charwoman, I will be be forced to move anchor to St. Tropez out of pure shame.”
Really, what we are seeing in the likes of Buckley, Brooks, Noonan, Frum and Parker is the intellectual dead wood of conservatism. They liked the “conservatism” of the A-list cocktail parties of Washington and Manhattan; the “conservatism” of Presidential and Congressional power; not to mention the cheap allure of influence and prestige. They never understood the necessity of limiting governmental power or the desirability of economic freedom for everyone.
McCain often says “We Republicans came into power to change Washington, and instead Washington changed us.” There is some truth to that, but you cannot underestimate the role played by the yahoos I listed above. They were the champions of every move away from principled conservatism. Thus when Democrats proposed disastrous economic policies that ultimately ruined the housing market, so called “free market Republicans” did little but enable them. When a real conservative raised an actual objection they were dismissed with a “Don’t these rubes know how things are done here?” and, sadly, often by people calling themselves conservatives.
In the end, there is a difference between being a pragmatist and being a sell-out, and it behooves us all to recognize that difference. I, for one, will not be fooled again.