- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007

Political satirist Christopher Buckley brought laughter from a largely libertarian crowd at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual dinner last night by poking fun at the Bush administration.

Noting the White House’s recent decision to appoint Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute as “war czar,” Mr. Buckley told the audience at the Hyatt Regency, “In Washington, appointing a czar is a way of acknowledging that your policy has gone down the toilet.”

CEI is a free-market think tank that often opposes environmental regulations. The institute has recently criticized pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson, who crusaded to ban the pesticide DDT. Blaming the late Miss Carson for a resulting resurgence of malaria, CEI distributed T-shirts at the banquet with the motto “Rachel Was Wrong.”

“You are my kind of crowd,” Mr. Buckley told the crowd of more than 600. “Pro-smoking, pro-drinking, coal-burning.”

Riffing on CEI’s skeptical stance on global warming, he said, “It takes guts, amid all the hysteria, to admit that polar bears love to swim.”

Mr. Buckley, son of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., is the author of the best-seller “Thank You for Smoking.” His latest comic novel, “Boomsday,” envisions a future in which the bankruptcy of Social Security leads to a government program to encourage baby boomers to commit suicide.

Surveying the field of Democratic presidential contenders, he called Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois “the Tiger Woods of American politics … what’s not to like?” and said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York: “If Hillary wins, we get Bill back. … For people in my line of work, those were good years.”

Mr. Buckley recalled coming to Washington in 1981. “I was just a pot-smoking English major,” he said, before being interrupted by applause and laughter, then joked: “After dinner, on the roof. … I love libertarians.”

He arrived in Washington, he said, not long after the assassination attempt against President Reagan.

“John Wilkes Booth shot [Abraham] Lincoln to avenge the South; John Hinckley shot Ronald Reagan to impress Jodie Foster,” Mr. Buckley said. “Therein you have the trajectory of American idealism.”

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