As Republicans endorse Obama, confusion ensues

Christopher Buckley Jr., the son of the founder of the conservative magazine National Review, recently resigned from his regular column at the publication following his endorsement of Barack Obama for president. We wonder whether Buckley’s proposal for the resignation, as well as National Review’s acceptance of it, was acceptable practice.

On The Daily Beast, Buckley posted a blog entry on Oct. 10 titled “Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama.” In it, he presented a clear and honest argument as to why the Democratic presidential candidate is more suited for the position than is Senator John McCain, his Republican counterpart. Beyond Buckley’s reasons for his surprising endorsement, though, we have to look at what this divergence in opinion represents.

Buckley comes from a traditional, politically conservative position, as does the National Review. Buckley is pro-small government practices. But he is also — as he contends his father was as well — supportive of bipartisanship in this time of need for the nation. Obama is, he wrote, “what the historical moment seems to be calling for.”

It is Buckley’s resignation that seems more controversial than the endorsement itself. He resigned soon after posting the endorsement on The Daily Beast blog, before he could be fired from the National Review. While Buckley maintains that he didn’t mean to bring controversy to the magazine and still respects it, and resigned as a result, we wonder if he should have had to resign at all. On the other hand, was it right for Buckley to use his position as a prominent conservative commentator — particularly following the recent death of his famous father — to endorse Obama for president, a move that was sure to draw the publicity that it has?

Buckley is entitled to support whichever candidate he chooses, regardless of his political affiliation, and he is just one of many prominent Republicans endorsing Obama in this election. Unfortunately, his endorsement had direct implications on his public career as a political columnist. Most publications are biased in some way, and the National Review has the right to dismiss anyone whose ideology doesn’t reflect that of the publication. For this, Buckley had good sense to resign, although we would prefer for more publications to agree to support a wider range of opinions, and for the National Review to continue to welcome Buckley’s opinion.