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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

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    Chris Buckley: Joe Scarborough Is Our Best Hope

    By Kyle | June 8, 2009

    Novelist Christopher Buckley suggests Morning Joe Scarborough himself be anointed as the new face of the GOP. Says Christo, at The Daily Beast:

    He is, simply, scared to death of where this country is headed fiscally, and it has nothing to do with ideology, which he appears to abjure. It’s the math, stupid. America faces unfunded Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid entitlement liabilities in the coming years amounting to $80 trillion. He (rather neatly) insists on spelling that out, as “$80,000,000,000,000.00.”

    This is an inexorable freight train headed at us. And, points out, Mr. Obama is not doing anything about it, for the reason that Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want it on the table. In fact, few politicians want to talk about it. But it is coming at us. If nothing is done, it could be the end of the American experiment. If that sounds hysterical, look at the math yourself.

    Topics: Books, Politics, TV | 15 Comments »

    15 Responses to “Chris Buckley: Joe Scarborough Is Our Best Hope”

    1. KS Says:
      June 8th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      Buckley voted for Obama. His opinion about the new face of the GOP is even less important to me than Meghan McCain’s opinion. Or maybe they’re about equal.

    2. K Says:
      June 8th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      Sure, what we need now are common sense Republicans who will vote for the necessary massive tax increases and entitlement cuts and thereby take the spotlight from the Democrats. Who at present are standing solo, hip deep in their own mess.

      Paging Mr. Schwarzenegger.

    3. spongeworthy Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 10:24 am

      Obama could use his tremendous popularity–which we’re reminded of at every turn–to do something necessary but unpopular, like entitlement reform.

      This would, among other things, take some pressure off the dollar and mitigate gas prices. But Obama’s counting on Americans being too dumb to make the connection–and anybody who still “Approves” of this guy probably is.

      He won’t have the guts to fix it and so, because a lot of Americans are boobs and more just wanted to vote for the black guy, we’re sunk.

    4. Bubba Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 11:31 am

      It’s not a lack of “guts” on Obama’s part, and, contra Christopher Buckley, Obama isn’t being led into fiscal disaster by Nancy Pelosi: even if Obama doesn’t actually want to run this country into the ground (a very big “if”), he’s eagerly doing everything that is required to hasten the process.

      Christopher writes that Obama isn’t doing anything about the “inexorable freight train headed at us.”

      YES, HE IS. He’s trying to push the train to even greater speeds, as even his own administration projects that his spending will double AND THEN TRIPLE then national debt in the next decade, meaning that he will be creating twice as much deficit-spending as all his predecessors combined.

      That’s to say nothing of the additional permanent problems that would come with new Great-Society-sized entitlements in socialized medicine, and the near certainty that his cap-and-trade energy will cause energy prices to skyrocket (which Obama himself admitted) and therefore hinder the otherwise dynamic economy whose growth would provide a naturally tax base to address a growing debt.

      Jonah Goldberg made the point at The Corner that, while leftists are clamoring for another New Deal, it’s unlikely that we would ever have the economic growth — spurred by a world war where our industrial base was intact to serve the global customer base of a decimated and rebuilding Europe and Japan — to pay for that debt.

      Christopher is right about the problem we face, but he’s not a solitary prophet on the issue (see Mark Steyn), and despite his supposed fiscal conservatism, he supported a presidential candidate who is living up to (or down to) the most radical political career of any major candidate in history. He criticizes the “disaster wrought by George W. Bush and the Republican majority,” rightly labeling compassionate conservatism as big-government conservatism, but he fails to give the admittedly flawed 43rd president ANY credit whatsoever for trying to address the coming freight train of Social Security.

      I don’t follow Scarborough, and I think an appeal to his nice demeanor is a weak reason to put hope in him, because the Left tries to destroy the characters and careers of those who are seen as legitimate threats: Thomas Sowell and Sarah Palin strike me as very nice people on a personal level, conservatives who have (like Sotamayor) “compelling personal stories,” and we know the long knives weren’t kept sheathed for their sake. The media LOVED John McCain and, like Hillary before him, he became an obstacle to the One and was therefore made a target, too old and too temperamental for the office.

      If Scarborough is popular because he’s supposedly not ideological, and if he’s willing to criticize Bush but not give him credit where it’s due, the Right probably shouldn’t and won’t make him a standard-bearer.

      There’s no such thing as a “Reagan Lite.”

      But if he wants to apply for that position, he can be my guest. What I don’t understand is why, in the interim, any true Reagan conservative should give two damns of the opinion of a man who traded on William F. Buckley’s name and magazine to support a presidential candidate who is the epitome, nearly the embodiment, of the radical collectivism that Reagan opposed.

    5. Sean Brennan Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

      Christopher Buckley is slowing coming to the realization he made a major mistake in endorsing the Little Messiah, and is now trying to cover his tracks.

      Of course, Bush’s second term was a mess, there was little domestic policy to speak of after 2005, Iraq continued to deteriorate until the surge, and his response to the finance collapse was horrid. That still does not justify Buckley’s support for an Obama in any fashion, especially against an experienced public servant such as McCain.

    6. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 6:55 pm

      One man’s “experienced public servant” is the next man’s inept old fart. America needed McCain like it needed yet another dishonourable war.

    7. kishke Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

      dishonourable war

      Dishonorable war my ass. The only thing dishonorable about it is its critics.

      The only really solid criticism against the war is that it wasn’t prosecuted with quite enough severity. A little less nation-building would have been a wonderful thing, and would have allowed us to leave just as soon as we blew the place to smithereens.

    8. Sean Brennan Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 7:08 pm

      One man’s Little Messiah is the next man’s narcisstic dilettante who is currently bankrupting this country and allowing our enemies to get away with everything. America needs Obama like it needs massive inflation and sky-rocketing interest rates, and Kim Jong-Il and the Iranian mullahs holding the world to nuclear blackmail.

    9. Christian Toto Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

      More name calling from Hunter … who needs reasoned debate when you can slur someone instead?

    10. JohnFNWayne Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 11:53 pm

      We ran the type of candidate the Kathleen Parkers, David Brooks, Colin Powells and Christopher Buckleys wanted. They voted for the Democrat anyway.

      I’m sick of all this revisionist schtick. Don’t like the party, go elsewhere – goes for Meghan McCain, Parker, Buckley, Powell or anyone else. Don’t like social conservatives? Try winning without them.

    11. sharpshiny Says:
      June 9th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

      With friends like Chris Buckley, we don’t need enemies. Besides, every conservative on the planet has been issuing warnings about the looming social security/medicare/medicaid crisis for years. J.Scar is far from the first or the only.

    12. James Frazier Says:
      June 11th, 2009 at 1:55 am

      I’ve never been able to make it through more than 90 seconds of Scarborough. I’d say that he makes watching paint dry look entertaining, except that would be an insult to many fine brands of paint via my implication that watching them dry isn’t much more fun than a minute and a half of Scarborough on TV.

    13. yankeefan Says:
      June 11th, 2009 at 11:07 am

      If the GOP follows the advice of many of you folks — like, say, Mr. FN Wayne — it will be a minority party for a long, long time. And what’s with ripping Christo and Morning Joe (sponsored by Starbucks) anyway? No heterodoxy allowed?

      I am a dyed-in-the-wool, bleeds-blue Democrat, and I think Joe and Christo’s fiscal fears deserve a hearing. Are you so hellbent on crucifying Christo that you’re actually missing his criticism of the other Christ-like figure?

      Expressing ideological purity may make some of you feel good, but it is not going to lead your party back to power.

    14. James Frazier Says:
      June 11th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

      If Democrats want to declare fellow party members heretics for turning right, then fine with me. Similarly, I can do without the Chrito’s, the Scarborough’s, the Powell’s. If they want to stump for Obama, then that’s their call, but I don’t have to listen when they wag their fingers and lecture me on what it means to be a Republican.

      But as for Joe, I’ve never been able to stand the guy. He can turn communist or he could adopt my own platform down to the letter, and I’d still never care what he has to say, because I’m unwilling to waste my time on someone so relentlessly dull when there are more entertaining conservatives out there.

    15. Christian Toto Says:
      June 11th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

      Will one journalist – just one – ask Gen. Powell what exactly are his Republican bona fides – beyond stumping for Sen. Barack Obama …