If like me you thought that McCain looked on the verge of imploding under the pressure of the last presidential debate, you'll be relieved to see a glimpse of the old relaxed, funny McCain a day later at the Al Smith dinner. It makes for nice comic relief in this nasty election to watch both McCain's and Obama's speeches. Enjoy.
I don't wish to jinx the election, but if Obama wins, we are going to see an ugly battle for the soul of American conservatism. I am delighted to see the opening shot fired by a friend, Christopher Buckley, whose very public break with the Republicans' bible, The National Review, makes for a great election-time story.
The short of it is this: a few days ago, Chris Buckley -- son of William F. Buckley Jr, the godfather of American conservatism and founder of The National Review -- wrote a blog post breaking with McCain and endorsing Obama. In the almighty shit-storm that ensued Buckley resigned from the National Review (where he had a back-page column) and laid bare in another post the divisive and reactionary emotions that sadly characterise our modern politics.
While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.
So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.
A warm welcome to Chris and other high-profile defectors, like Dennis Hopper. Perhaps when this election is over, Americans can start thinking about a new conservative movement that is inclusive and based on the simple precepts of small government, free trade, and social libertarianism. It won't be called the GOP unless you rip out its soul first.
PALIN: I've read most of them, again, with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
COURIC: But, like, what ones specifically? I'm curious that you ...
PALIN: All of them. Any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.
COURIC: Can you name a few?
PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news to -- Alaska isn't a foreign country where it's kind of suggested it seems like, wow, how could you keep in touch with the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska. Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.