Esquire AND William Buckley's Son Endorse Barack Obama
Saturday, October 11, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
Esquire magazine has just published its official endorsement of Barack Obama. Now, what does this endorsement mean? Probably nothing. If you're the type to enjoy the somewhat flowery prose in its pages, chances are you might already be voting for Obama. If you're one of the "Joe Sixpacks" who hate anything even remotely "metropolitan", this is probably only going to confirm that Obama is an elitist. It's stupid, but there you go.

On the other hand, it's a very well written article that I highly recommend you check out. It's got nice balance - it certainly isn't a fawning endorsement implying Obama is best thing since sliced bread. In fact, it starts with a bit of criticism against Obama. However, they do a great job spelling out just what is at stake in this election. Forward this on to anyone you know who's still (inexplicably) an undecided voter.

For those of you still on the fence about reading it, here's a juicy passage that will hopefully entice you:
There is no evidence at all that anything will change under a President John McCain, who has already identified Roberts and Alito as his beau ideals of Supreme Court justices. He has made brave noises about torture and the extraconstitutional prerogatives of the executive, but President Bush and his men went on and did what they wanted anyway, and McCain walked away, begging for votes from fundamentalists who hate him, meeping his displeasure in ways that were barely audible. The virus will gestate and spread on his watch, all throughout the federal government. Bushism must be ripped out, root and branch, everywhere it has been established, or else the presidential election of 2008 is a worthless exercise in futility. Barack Obama may not be the man to do it, but John McCain, for all his laudable qualities, clearly is neither willing nor able to do so.
In more significant (perhaps) news, the son of William F. Buckley (one of the fathers of the conservative movement), has just endorsed Barack Obama. It's definitely interesting stuff to me, and it's nice to see an intellectual perspective with a conservative bent. I have no problem with conservatives - it's just that for so long the only people speaking on behalf of that movement have been inarticulate trolls who prefer to scream their opponents into submission, versus making rational arguments about their point of view.

Some key passages (though I encourage you to go read the whole thing):

A year ago, when everyone, including the man I’m about to endorse, was caterwauling to get out of Iraq on the next available flight, John McCain, practically alone, said no, no—bad move. Surge. It seemed a suicidal position to take, an act of political bravery of the kind you don’t see a whole lot of anymore.

But that was—sigh—then. John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget “by the end of my first term.” Who, really, believes that? Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?

All this is genuinely saddening, and for the country is perhaps even tragic, for America ought, really, to be governed by men like John McCain—who have spent their entire lives in its service, even willing to give the last full measure of their devotion to it. If he goes out losing ugly, it will be beyond tragic, graffiti on a marble bust.

and this:

I’ve read Obama’s books, and they are first-rate. He is that rara avis, the politician who writes his own books. Imagine. He is also a lefty. I am not. I am a small-government conservative who clings tenaciously and old-fashionedly to the idea that one ought to have balanced budgets. On abortion, gay marriage, et al, I’m libertarian. I believe with my sage and epigrammatic friend P.J. O’Rourke that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away.

But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.

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