Christopher Buckley’s new book Supreme Courtship is supremely funny, and Christopher Buckley is a very nice man.I wasn’t going to blog about his essay explaining why the son of William F. Buckley is voting for Obama. But then I came across the American Thinker’s observations on the apostasy of Buckley and other conservative intellectuals on the Sarah Palin front.

Here are the relevant bits

“[Buckley’s apostasy] begins, as we’ve come to expect, with that awful Palin woman, the one with the high heels and all the kids. Buckley has swallowed whole the libel that Palin is ‘unqualified’ and believes it completely — or says he does. His argument differs not an iota from that of Parker, Krauthammer, Brooks, Frum, Brookhiser, Noonan, and not to forget Rod Dreher, the world’s weirdest social conservative. That is to say, there is no argument. Merely the bald, unsupported assertion and nothing else. None of these writers has put any sincere effort into making their case, and that being true of Buckley as well, we can dismiss it….

“Once more, we’re confronted with the fact that Palin, the McCain campaign, and every other given reason for the great conservative bugout of this season is a facade. This is not about ability, or competence, or anything else. It’s about the elite circling their wagons to oppose an eruption from the lower depths. An eruption that may be represented by Sarah Palin but which includes you, me, and every other reader of this site.

“The American social elite has always embodied pure shallowness. From the social butterflies of Henry James to Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan to our own Paris Hilton, we’re talking about a class distinguished solely by self-centeredness, frivolity, and a truly deep-seated ignorance. Old world aristocracies from Rome to Great Britain may have been characterized by a serious attention to duty, as in Shaw’s words (and I’m paraphrasing here), ‘A gentleman is someone given every privilege in exchange for the promise to die if called upon.’ But not on this side of the big pond.

“Conservatism was always a phenomenon of the common people in this country, people who took tradition seriously. It would never have become of interest to the elite but for one figure — William F. Buckley, Jr. Now that he’s gone, the situation is returning to the historical norm. The common voter may act on principle; the elite will vote for whoever wears a well-chosen tie.”

Having once been a defender of elitism, I think this essay goes a long way towards explaining two things: (1.) The sorry nature of our shallow elite, and (2.) Why Sarah Palin drives them crazy. On the second, the intensity of the reaction, along with the sputtering inarticulateness it breeds, show that there is something irrational about it. They dislike Sarah for deep, almost inexplicable reasons—class reasons. But the class that hates her is the most pathetic elite since the Romans—and I’m talking late Empire, not republic, here.