Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Buckley, Hitchens Defections to Obama

There have been in recent days two notable defections to the Obama camp. Christopher Buckley crossed over in a piece he wrote for National Review, the conservative journal of opinion founded by his late father, William F. Buckley Jr.

Buckley’s spot in the magazine thereafter disappeared. According to Buckley, he though it better to remove himself; he was not kicked to the curb. Such things do not happen at National Review, a genteel publication with a stiletto in its belt.

The second notable defection is that of Christopher Hitchens, a friend of Buckley’s. It is not known at this point whether both agreed to jump into the fire together or whether their joint defections were serindipidous.

Hitchens is a little hard to pigeonhole. At various points in his pilgrim’s progress through this veil of tears, he has been a Trotskyite, a far left writer for The Nation magazine, not generally regarded as a conservative publication, an atheist and an ardent supporter of the war in Iraq.

Here Hitchens disputes with Eric Alterman of the Nation:

Here is Hitchens locking horns with Laura Ingraham on the question of his recent defection:

Hitchens is a bit over talked here, but his argument reduces to this: Obama is more teachable than McCain, who is ossifying. In important respects, Obama is evolving. Hitchens cites Obama’s hard position on the matter of Pakistan. Obama has been willing to invade Pakistan unilaterally to rid the world of Osama bin Ladin and other al-Qaeda terrorists, whereas McCain has been more cautious.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that, given Obama’s disposition to change positions on a whole series of issues, one never knows at what point the disposition will kick in. Might he not change his position on the unilateral invasion of a soverigh country if, after having been installed in the White House, he finds it useful to do so? Obama became Sen. Hillary Clinton in order to defeat Clinton in the Democrat primaries; he has now become McCain to defeat McCain in the general election. He is a disturbing question mark.

Buckley has not fleshed out his reasons for defecting, but one supposes they have something to do with malleability.
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