Funny (And True)

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.

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9 Responses to Funny (And True)

  1. yuri says:

    “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.”

    That’s right. Banish everybody who smells like “elite” from GOP. Great idea. You can still survive for a little while mongering fear and demagoguing about “economic freedom”. But in the end if you banish intellectuals, you run out of ideas.

    Which really sucks. I don’t really like the thought of Dems controlling the presidency and both chambers of congress. GOP at least should provide thoughtful opposition to what is a set up for overreaching and abuse of power. And you still sit on your old rancid tune of “economic freedom”, “small government”, and all this bullcrap. Shame on you guys, the country needs you to come up with something fresh!

    In the mean time, while you are wallowing in your sorrows of imminent defeat, go rent “Idiocracy”. Great movie.

  2. Rich Horton says:

    Yuri, you need to read something (anything) other than the New York Times. There are actual conservatives who have read AND understand people like Edmund Burke, or Michael Oakeshott, or Eric Voeglien.

    The trouble with these particular people is that they are by and large indistinguishable from 95% of Democrats. Almost by definition, these are NOT the “intellectuals” of the conservative movement. These are the syncophants who tied themselves to Republican power and little else.

    These shallow hucksters have shown themselves for what they actually are, and that can be nothing but a good. And remember, my concern here is with conservatism, which can not (and should not) be exactly the same as the Republican party.

  3. syn says:


    There is nothing intelligent about the noble class selling out our liberties just because they need to retain their place in the VIP room.

    And when your noble overlords illegally use their Big Brother government to investigate the insides of your anal cavities, don’t come here asking for help.

  4. yuri says:

    syn, now THAT’s communist talk. That’s why Russia was so screwed up and millions died – because all of a sudden it was decided that an angry mob of peasants can rule a huge country. Chaos, civil war, famine, and mass repressions followed.

  5. Rich Horton says:

    Yuri, it was the “vanguard party” (a self annointed elite) that ruled Russia. It was their attempts at “rational, central control” that lead to the famines. Why is it when Lenin relaxed such measures and allowed for private initiative by the peasants the famines ended? Magic?

    It was only Stalin’s “collectivization” schemes that brought hunger and starvation back.

  6. yuri says:

    Rich, you need a lesson in Russian history.
    Russia actually had elected, not self-anointed, government before Lenin’s revolution. Basically, Lenin didn’t like the fact that his party didn’t get a majority and overthrown it.

    I have no idea what you mean by Lenin’s allowing for private initiative. Nothing but. And less then a year after the revolution we were in full-blown civil war.

    So the famine really came to Russia after the communists took over. Stalin gets a lot of flack for late twenties, but truth is, Lenin’s policies were not much different. Hope you’re not going to defend Lenin here.

  7. Rich Horton says:

    How can someone named “Yuri” know so little about Russian history? (Either that or you REALLY misread my statements.)

    For starters, the “Great Famine” of 1921-22 took place after the “Whites” were defeated (largely by early 1920.) Therefore, the famines were not caused by “mobs of peasants”, but were a deliberate policy of the Soviet government. (As Lenin hiself admitted routinely.)

    In fact, the Soviet’s wars against the peasants were instituted as early as 1918 via Lenin’s “War Communism” decrees which, in part, required the coercive conscription of peasants and the coercive “requisitioning” of food stuffs. By decree the peasants were to be left with as little as 1/10th of the total needed to sustain life.

    “I have no idea what you mean by Lenin’s allowing for private initiative.”

    Then you need to read more. From, _The Black Book Of Communism_, Harvard University Press, 1999, p. 133.

    Market mechanisms, which had not been operational from 1914 to 1922, were partly reinstated by Bolshevik authorities and were temporarily tolerated….Famines became more and more rare, and the peasants once again could eat as much as they needed.

    Defending Lenin? What? My point is when the peasants were left alone by Soviet authorities they were able to feed themselves. When the Soviets interfered they starved. Those are the facts. Your statement that it was “unruly mobs of peasants” causing all the troubles in Russia is simply wrong.

    Uneducated peasants may not be the ideal ruling class, but at least they didnt institute mass deportations, set up concentration camps, use poison gas on civilian populations, attempt the extermination of whole classes of people (kulaks or Cossacks), employ homicidal terror, use hunger as a political weapon, and set up the brutal Cheka.

  8. missred says:

    i like cocktails, am a mayflower decadent (spelled wrong on purpose before you jump on me) and can probably outsnob any one named T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, and i think our sarah is a breath of fresh air ;p

  9. Rich Horton says:

    Well missred, I don’t think anyone here would dislike cocktails (except, possibly, for Yuri if he turns out to be a Fabian).

    So welcome aboard!

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