Feb
27

Bill Buckley, RIP




Posted at 21:04 by Brad
buckley583-31.jpg
Above: Wrong finger, Bill

Bill Buckley, a giant of America’s political landscape, is dead. Rick Perlstein pays tribute:

William F. Buckley was my friend.

I’m hard on conservatives. I get harder on them just about every day. I call them “con men.” I do so without apology. And I cannot deny that William F. Buckley said and did many things over the course of his career that were disgusting as well. I’ve written about some of them. But this is not the time to go into all that. My friend just passed away at the age of 82. He was a good and decent man. He knew exactly what my politics were about—he knew I was an implacable ideological adversary—yet he offered his friendship to me nonetheless. He did the honor of respecting his ideological adversaries, without covering up the adversarial nature of the relationship in false bonhommie. A remarkable quality, all too rare in an era of the false fetishization of “post-partisanship” and Broderism and go-along-to-get-along. He was friends with those he fought. He fought with friends. These are the highest civic ideals to which an American patriot can aspire.

AllahPundit, meanwhile, feels the best way to mark Buckley’s passing is to show a video of him calling Gore Vidal a queer.

Different strokes, different folks.


Update: As numerous folks have pointed out in the comments, Bill Buckley was not a saint. My point here was not to lionize him, but rather to acknowledge his significance in the recent history of American discourse.

Gavin adds: I dunno; Buckley might not have been a force for good in the world, but his was a conservatism of principles — one far more substantial and measured than the one of stances and shibboleths that today’s young conservatives learn to swallow whole and regurgitate. Buckley came out against the War in Iraq awhile ago, for instance, even as the young goblins at the National Review were wrecking his legacy, spending down its credibility in trying to rationalize every new flagrancy, every new heart-dropping catastrophe as a ‘victory’ for Bush and for people-like-themselves.

On a similar tip, one of Ace’s identical Popeye-nephews posted the same video of Buckley and Gore Vidal.

This is hardly his most important moment, but I love the fact that he told Gore Vidal he’d punch him in his fucking prissy face.

That seems to be how they conceive of him: as a hyuk-hyuk dog-whistle conservative who once brashly said the word ‘queer’ on national TV — as something like a genteel Rush Limbaugh (or a less-dickified Ann Coulter) of the 1960s and ’70s. But Buckley usually had far more class than that, in more than one sense of the word. The guy at Ace continues:

Not nearly an adequate tribute, but I do love this so.

Because an adequate tribute would require, like, reading actual books and understanding the intellectual history of conservatism, and stuff. They don’t value that; they already know what they’re supposed to believe, to cheer for, and (mostly) to revile. They know what side they’re on, and all else is tactics.

If you ask me, all their virtues together wouldn’t make a Buckley. That’s my two cents on’t.


Clif adds: We should probably not praise Buckley too fulsomely before remembering some of the charming things he said in National Review back in the late 50s. Like this editorial from August 24, 1957, titled “Why the South Must Prevail.”

The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists

The wingnut bloggers never cease to point out that, some 13 years before Buckley’s editorial, Sen. Robert Byrd was in the Klan. There is, however, one significant difference. Byrd renounced his Klan membership; Buckley never renounced the racist crap he wrote.

UPDATE: I see some of Buckley’s racist legacy was being kicked around in the comments, which I hadn’t read before I posted this. Still, I think it’s worth having this particularly odious quote from the old crypto-Nazi upfront and forward where it won’t be missed.


Leonard adds: I’ve said my piece about Buckley elsewhere, but I did want to add a couple of things:

First, it’s a howling irony that some right-wingers are using that Vidal clip as a memorial to Buckley, as if it were a proud moment in his life or something. In fact, it was a moment of complete embarrassment: the network yanked him off the air and it made him into a national joke for weeks. Buckley, a spineless patrician of the first water, was the least threatening human being on the planet; even Vidal is openly smirking at his pathetic threat, in which we can see the birth of the ridiculous phony tough-guy bluster of today’s conservative bloggers. The genesis of the whole argument between them was Buckley’s defense of the reprehensible brutality of the Chicago police, which pretty much turned off the entire country. And best of all, in an early chickenhawk moment, the clip ends with Buckley displaying calculated outrage that Vidal would call him a crypto-Nazi; why, after all, he, Buckley, fought in the war! (As a non-combatant in the US Army. Just like Gore Vidal.) The whole episode his nothing but a non-stop humiliation of Buckley, and the idea that some people would use it as a his-finest-hour memorial is stupefying.

Additionally, you don’t have to cast all the way back to the dark ’50s to find the old bastard saying intolerant things. Aside from his lifelong belief that it was perfectly acceptable to sacrifice thousands of American lives and kill millions of non-Americans if they showed the slightest sign of sympathy for, or even proximity to, any of the tenets of communism, he was arguing as recently as the 1980s that we should forcibly tattoo people with AIDS as a “warning” to the general public. He was also behind the YAF back when it really was a hippie-bashing bunch of crypto-fascist street brawlers, and he did plenty both directly and through advocacy to overthrow democratically elected regimes all over the world.

There’s no question that compared to his intellectual heirs, Buckley was a giant. There’s no doubt that the National Review, a respectable publication when he founded it, is now a shameful joke. But the fact that he seems decent by comparison is just a sign of how far the discourse has been allowed to degrade. Sure, he was sincere and consistent after his way, but I hope we haven’t fallen far enough that we think phoniness is the only crime; Buckley was sincere, but he was sincere in pursuit of some pretty ugly goals, and we can memorialize him to the extent that we don’t forget that.

167 Comments »

  1. Susan of Texas said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:07

    Perhaps Buckley was ashamed, later. I bet Allahpundit won’t be.

  2. Professor Booty said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:07

    Despite my respect for Rick Perlstein,

    This is where the party ends
    I can’t stand here listening to you
    And your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    And your racist friend

    It was the loveliest party that I’ve ever attended
    If anything was broken I’m sure it could be mended
    My head can’t tolerate this bobbing and pretending
    Listen to some bullet-head and the madness that he’s saying

    This is where the party ends
    I’ll just sit here wondering how you
    Can stand by your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    You and your racist friend

    This is where the party ends
    I can’t stand here listening to you
    And your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    And your racist friend

    Out from the kitchen to the bedroom to the hallway
    Your friend apologizes, he could see it my way
    He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking
    Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding

    This is where the party ends
    I can’t stand here listening to you
    And your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    And your racist friend

  3. Me said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:12

    For a real good primer on how far our discourse has fallen, and particularly how far “conservative” discourse has plunged, take a look at this conversation between Buckley and Noam Chomsky back in 1969:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYlMEVTa-PI

    I happen to think Buckley was a racist dick, but notice in that video how he’s utterly unafraid to face down a pre-eminent liberal intellectual, giving him plenty of time to talk and respond. Now imagine such a thing happening today.

  4. Snowwy said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:12

    Well said, Professor Booty.

    ihnjh;ijls

  5. Me said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:16

    Oh, and the fact that AllahPundit chose perhaps Buckley’s most hateful public moment to pay tribute to him–yep, that pretty much says it all about where the “conservative” movement has come.

  6. Brad said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:16

    Note also that guys like Chomsky and Vidal simply aren’t invited on television talk shows anymore. Buckley was always a tee vee mainstay, looking relatively mild compared to the Michelle Malkins of the world.

    This is what’s called the Overton Window, peeps. And it’s moved way, way to the right.

  7. fardels bear said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:18

    Bill Buckley was the best they had to offer. The very best. Now, quick, can you think of any piece of his writing that is remembered or quoted often? Maybe GOD AND MAN AT YALE is still referred to, but no one reads it anymore, I doubt most conservatives could even summarize its main argument.

    Can you think of any stance he took that has been shown to be correct in retrospect? HIs defense of HUAC? His opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act? His attempt to destroy First Amendment’s protection against religious establishment? Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

    And he was their Bright Shining Star, Jonah Goldberg can only dream of being as bright as Buckley was. And every stance Buckley took during his long life has been shown to be absolutely and completely misguided.

  8. mikey said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:20

    This is what’s called the Overton Window, peeps. And it’s moved way, way to the right.

    And may I just state for the record that it’s completely fucking up the feng shui in my world.

    You ever try to get drapes to match the Overton Carpet when the goddam Overton window keeps MOVING??

    To say nothing of the Overton La Z Boy…

    mikey

  9. SamFromUtah said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:20

    This is terrible news for the Locust Valley Lockjaw Preservation Society.

  10. Principal Blackman said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:20

    Buckley exhibited an intelligence, honesty, and integrity that contemporary movement conservatism considers downright wrong. The very people who are destroying those qualities are going to claim that they are continuing Buckley’s work, which would be funny if it weren’t so grotesque.

    RIP WFB

  11. Ugly In Pink said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:29

    “Aren’t you embarrassed by the absence of these weapons?” Buckley snaps at Podhoretz. He has just explained that he supported the war reluctantly, because Dick Cheney convinced him that Saddam Hussein had WMD primed to be fired. “No,” Podhoretz replies. “As I say, they were shipped to Syria. During Gulf War One, the entire Iraqi air force was hidden in the deserts in Iran.” He says he is “heartbroken” by this “rise of defeatism on the right.” He adds, apropos of nothing, “There was nobody better than Don Rumsfeld. This defeatist talk only contributes to the impression we are losing, when I think we are winning.”

    The audience cheers Podhoretz. The nuanced doubts of Bill Buckley leave them confused. Doesn’t he sound like the liberal media? Later, over dinner, a tablemate from Denver calls Buckley “a coward.” His wife nods and says, “Buckley’s an old man,” tapping her head with her finger to suggest dementia.

    Poor Buckley. Et by the monster he helped create.

  12. Jamey said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:32

    Mikey:

    The Overton La-Z-Boy?

    It’s Tim Russert.

    And if Russert’s the La-Z-Boy, then Chris Matthews is the matching stool…

  13. DrDick said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:36

    The last true conservative intellectual is dead. He was an often horrible man and supported many morally indefensible positions, but he was intelligent, educated, and well informed. The best they can do today is the pathetic Jonah Goldberg.

  14. Smut Clyde said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:39

    the goddam Overton window keeps MOVING??
    A similar phenomenon explains my difficulties with finding the door when I come home from the pub.

    Chris Matthews is the matching stool
    It is breakfast time here and I did not need that mental image.

  15. Barry Puppert said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:46

    De mortuis nihil nisi bonum…No, fuck that. Buckley was a pig of a person, posh accent and twenty-dollar words notwithstanding. He was one of the true architects of the “Southern Strategy,” and he did incalculable harm to this country. If there is a hell, I hope he can go to and roast in the company of his idols, like Franco and Pinochet.

  16. PeeJ said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:46

    Buckley. Pheh. Good riddance, I say. Does it make me a bad person to speak ill of ther dead? Even though the “ill” is mere fact? I’m glad he’s gone – am I a bad person?

    Fuckit. If I’m a bad person, so be it. I’m only sorry he didn’t croak fifty years ago. I think I’ll celebrate by tracking down and reading my ancient copy of Myra Breckenridge.

  17. jk said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:47

    That comments thread is a study in paranoid delusion.

    Somebody funnier than me should do a post on the ratio of “oh I bet the lib dem traitors are already dancing on his grave” posts to any other comment reactions. Ten posts in there were already about three. Then they started fighting about shooting Mexicans.

    End of an era for sure.

  18. mikey said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:47

    A similar phenomenon explains my difficulties with finding the door when I come home from the pub.

    The mikey recommended solution to this particular problem is to never leave home without a chain saw. The ability to create a door where none previously existed can be quite handy in a variety of situations…

    mikey

  19. gbear said,

    February 27, 2008 at 21:50

    Mikey, have you ever woken up wondering where you mislaid your leg?

  20. Nim, ham hock of liberty said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:01

    See, I think Buckley gets even some respect from the left for the non-racist parts of his beliefs, because he was one of the last few conservatives whose beliefs were formed by reason plus their observations of reality.

    Today’s conservatives tailor their “reason” and reality to fit their beliefs. That’s the problem.

  21. Smut Clyde said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:01

    Have you ever woken up wondering “Who left this gnawed-off arm in my bed”?

  22. Five of Diamonds said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:04

    At least Chris Hitchens is still alive so we won’t have to go without ideological perverts with funny accents.

    RIP…may God have mercy.

  23. agc said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:05

    My first exposure to Buckley was on Firing Line. He was on the side of drug legalization, and I thought he was great. Only later did I learn that he was politically conservative. I imagine most people here would find some of his positions reasonable and some reprehensible, but liberals should mourn the loss on an honest and basically decent opponent, if only because someone worse will surely take his place.

  24. Seitz said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:05

    First Georgia Frontiere, and now Bill Buckley? Man, hell is really getting crowded.

  25. s9 said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:11

    I think Patrick Nielsen Hayden has the right idea.

    “A poisonous, wicked man. Good riddance.”

    Enough said right there.

  26. mikey said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:12

    Mikey, have you ever woken up wondering where you mislaid your leg?

    Upon checking, it turns out I still have the two I was originally issued.

    I have, however, on multiple occasions woken up wondering why my heart was broken…

    mikey

  27. Chasm said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:15

    I LOVE that Buttload’s animated book banner is right next to the video. Sort of closes the circle.

  28. g said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:29

    Can you think of any stance he took that has been shown to be correct in retrospect?

    He thought marijuana should not be illegal. That alone is enough to justify a doffing our hats to him.

  29. Rheinhard said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:33

    I remember seeing Buckley years ago in a roundtable discussion with henry Kissinger and several others about the reunification of Germany. The main topic of the discussion was the “flaw in the German character” (you know, why they’re all Stahlhelm wearing warmongers and all). I got pretty furious pretty quickly, wishing I could pose these “learned men” the question “How is this any less ignorant or offensive that a discussion about the fundamental flaw in the Jewish character, again? Don’t you pricks know that this simplistic negative stereotyping of whole peoples based on race or national origin is what led to the Holocaust in the first place?!?”

  30. billy pilgrim said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:37

    The mikey recommended solution to this particular problem is to never leave home without a chain saw. The ability to create a door where none previously existed can be quite handy in a variety of situations…

    mikey, I know several building contractors who use that same theory….

    And for Buckley, I can only hope that upon death, he achieved transcendental understanding of justice and truth, and how far away from them he lived his life; microseconds before realizing there would be, in fact, no afterlife to repent for his misdeeds or to gloat over his enemies. Just as epic regret filled his consciousness, eternal oblivion claimed him as one of her own.

  31. harmfulguy said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:40

    Are you sure he’s dead? After all, how could you tell?

    Maybe somebody needs to bring a Person of Color close to the body to make sure it doesn’t recoil in fear.

  32. pedestrian said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:42

    I remember seeing Buckley years ago in a roundtable discussion with henry Kissinger and several others about the reunification of Germany. The main topic of the discussion was the “flaw in the German character”

    Look, just because Kissinger is a bloodthirsty old war criminal, that’s no reason to condemn Germans as a whole.

  33. Incontinentia Buttocks said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:57

    I happen to think Buckley was a racist dick, but notice in that video how he’s utterly unafraid to face down a pre-eminent liberal intellectual, giving him plenty of time to talk and respond. Now imagine such a thing happening today.

    Not to be all nit-picky, but Chomsky, a proud man of the left, is no more a liberal than Markos Moulitsas is a leftist.

  34. Jim said,

    February 27, 2008 at 22:59

    Are you sure he’s dead? After all, how could you tell?

    He was sitting up straight, and his jaw was unclenched.

    First time in decades.

  35. William F. Buckley, Jr. said,

    February 27, 2008 at 23:02

    “The central question that emerges … is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”

  36. National Review, 1964 said,

    February 27, 2008 at 23:06

    “But whatever the exact net result in the restricted field of school desegregation, what a price we are paying for Brown! It would be ridiculous to hold the Supreme Court solely to blame for the ludicrously named ‘civil rights movement’ — that is, the Negro revolt … But the Court carries its share of the blame. Its decrees, beginning with Brown, have on the one hand encouraged the least responsible of the Negro leaders in the course of extra-legal and illegal struggle that we now witness around us…

    Brown, as National Review declared many years ago, was bad law and bad sociology. We are now tasting its bitter fruits. Race relations in the country are ten times worse than in 1954.”

  37. g said,

    February 27, 2008 at 23:09

    Maybe somebody needs to bring a Person of Color close to the body to make sure it doesn’t recoil in fear.

    Nonsense. He probably felt quite comfortable with his servants.

  38. Anne Laurie said,

    February 27, 2008 at 23:14

    Me, I’m just glad Gore Vidal is still here to gloat.

    Although it might be entertaining to start a rumor that the Doughy Pantload’s book is what finally broke Billy Buck-o’s tiny, shriveled heart…

  39. William F. Buckley, Jr. said,

    February 27, 2008 at 23:15

    “We see in the revolt of the masses in Africa the mischief of the white man’s abstractions: for the West has, by its doctrinaire approval of democracy, deprived itself of the moral base from which to talk back to the apologists of rampant nationalism….Democracy, to be successful, must be practiced by politically mature people among whom there is a consensus on the meaning of life within their society….If the majority wills what is socially atavistic, then to thwart the majority may be the indicated, though concededly the undemocratic, course. It is more important for a community, wherever situated geographically, to affirm and live by civilized standards than to labor at the job of swelling the voting lists”.

  40. Dayv said,

    February 27, 2008 at 23:32

    I come here not to bury Caesar, but to praise him.

    Somebody pass me that shovel?

  41. g said,

    February 27, 2008 at 23:33

    Me, I’m just glad Gore Vidal is still here to gloat.

    Yeah, is that great or what?

  42. professor fate said,

    February 27, 2008 at 23:35

    I have only Vague memoires of Buckley on TV – his urpping stupid brother became Senator from New York for one term I remember. I also remember Second City Telivision doing a parody of Firing Line where they had Buckley debating school busing with an 8 year old black chlild.

  43. SpotWeld said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:06

    He may have been wrong, he may have been right.
    Everyone seems to agree he wasn’t incompetent.

    … I kinda miss that sort of thing.

  44. jimmiraybob said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:13

    Any word on whether or not he had a boney death grip on the Doughpant’s throat at the end? I’m looking for something redeeming.

  45. jimmiraybob said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:18

    Anne Laurie said, Although it might be entertaining to start a rumor that the Doughy Pantload’s book is what finally broke Billy Buck-o’s tiny, shriveled heart…

    Damn, I just alluded to this over at the Rising Hegemon. I called it the Coup de Doughpants.

  46. ice weasel said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:18

    When I was eighteen I registered as as republican. I watched Firing Line and read Buckley. When he came to speak at a UCSD I bought a ticket and went to see him.

    As I grew up I moved away from conservatism and far, far away from republicans. Reagan sealed that deal for me.

    I still enjoy Buckley’s spy novels.

    I’m disgusted by some of the heinous things my one-time hero supported.

    Now I find that I disagree with much of what he wrote and believed in but I can still respect him as an adversary. I think he was a political foe I could do business with.

    It’s a shame that the good parts of his influence, intellectualism and honesty, are completely missing from modern conservatism and the republican party. It’s made the job of citizen a much more difficult one.

    I don’t give a fuck if anyone Buckley’s death means anything to anyone here. If you think he was an unreconstructed pig of human being, enjoy it. You may be right. I feel differently. My goal isn’t convince anyone of anything. I just wanted to say a few decent words about someone who had a lot of influence in my life.

    Thanks Bill. I do hope that you’re resting peacefully. If there’s a hell it’s the one created by Buckley’s undeserving successors. Sadly, both the living and the dead are tainted by their reprehensible acts and words.

    Requiesat In pace Bill.

  47. Brando said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:20

    I don’t think he’s a “burn in hell” person. I’d like to think you have to do more to get that invitation. But he was extremely overrated. He said in 500 syllables what smarter people said in 50. He was very smart and educated, yet still held some of the most backward beliefs of the post-WWII era. He is more refined than the knuckledraggers carrying his torch, but he lit that torch.

    He was Harvey Korman in Blazing Saddles, but without the great lines.

  48. ice weasel said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:20

    And Gavin, cheers for saying what you did. Thanks.

  49. fish said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:20

    This is terrible news for the Locust Valley Lockjaw Preservation Society.

    SamfromUtah is my new hero.

  50. Bob said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:24

    “Gavin adds: I dunno; Buckley might not have been a force for good in the world, but his was a conservatism of principles — one far more substantial and measured than the one of stances and shibboleths that today’s young conservatives learn to swallow whole and regurgitate. Buckley came out against the War in Iraq awhile ago,…”
    Wow, it’s amazing what manners and time will do. Buckley was a repugnant figure who sided with the Bull Connors, Joe McCarthy’s and Richard Nixon’s of the world. Yes – he had principles – such as blacks should be treated as second-class citizens, women belong at home and the Vietnamese needed to be bombed into submission. These were principled stands; but I have to disagree with the principles being articulated. I hate to say it, but if Limbaugh and Coulter live long enough, we’ll see the same sorts of tribute paid by people who should know better. Don’t let the passage of time blind you. A repugnant thug who is wrong on just about every major issue of his lifetime isn’t redeemed by virtue of patrician manners and an erudite writing style.

  51. mndean said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:25

    So, that dead bastard is “principled”, or “substantial” and “measured”? Try selling that argument to a black man. Few posts here have disappointed me, but this one sure does, bitterly.

  52. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:30

    So, that dead bastard is “principled”, or “substantial” and “measured”? Try selling that argument to a black man.

    In comparison to “anything we do is good and anything you do is bad” he was obviously all of those things. That it was in the service of despicable assholism is noted throughout the thread.

  53. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:32

    You know what’s sad? I think Pat Buchanan is now the principled conservative.

  54. Kevin Hayden said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:36

    So he was a libertarian conservative and was bright? He still reeked of hate and snobbery, and was a McCarthyite, to boot.

    James Kilpatrick is still alive and by my standards,he’s a far nicer guy.

  55. pedestrian said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:41

    I come here not to bury Caesar, but to praise him.

    Somebody pass me that shovel?

    Not too deep. Plenty of hungry wolves out there.

  56. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:46

    Hey, Buckley wasn’t a totally bad guy. He did say this:

    “The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class… Let the South never permit itself to do this. So long as it is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function.”

    I mean, is that principled or what?

  57. SamFromUtah said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:46

    SamfromUtah is my new hero.

    Hee hee

    It’s nothing. My wife is a sociolinguistics student and that sort of thing rubs off.

  58. OB-GYN Kenobi said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:49

    Somebody pass me that shovel?

    Be sure he’s actually in the coffin before you start shoveling dirt into the hole. And a stake through the heart wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

  59. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 0:50

    I mean, is that principled or what?

    For a racist, obviously.

  60. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:01

    This is pretty principled, too. From National Review, 1957:

    “Violence and the threat of violence; base emotions; the cynical exploitation of members of both races by ruthless ideologues; the shameful spectacle of heavily armed troops patrolling the lawns and schoolyards of once tranquil towns and villages; the turgid dregs of hatred, envy, resentment, and sorrow — all these are part of the swelling harvest of Brown v. Board of Education.”

    Emphasis added. See how Bill notes the exploitation of both races by cynical ideologues like, say, Martin Luther King on the one hand and, for example, Orval Faubus on the other. It was more in sorrow than in anger that Bill handed down his verdict for Jim Crow…

  61. Duros62 said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:03

    Shorter Gore Vidal: Who’s laughing now, fat boy?

  62. Gavin M. said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:08

    Oh come on, if you had to choose between Buckley or Norman Podhoretz…

    At least Buckley never got a literal boner at the thought of a third world war.

    Okay, I shouldn’t say ‘never,’ but it didn’t make him sit with a book on his lap and back carefully out of rooms with a sheepish grin on his face for over forty years.

  63. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:15

    Gavin it is obvious that you must repudiate William F. Buckley, who is the true face of the radical left.

  64. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:16

    “If the majority wills what is socially atavistic, then to thwart the majority may be the indicated, though concededly the undemocratic, course.”

    That’s the kind of principled, perspicacious reasoning that leads to the installation of the Shah, which leads to the Iranian revolution, which leads to…

    I like S,N! and Rick Perlstein a lot, and I am looking forward to reading Nixonland in May. But let’s recognize Buckley for what he was, and let’s recognize the damage that he did. I’m sure you know the saying about politicians, whores, and ugly buildings.

  65. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:19

    “Principled” does not mean “only says and does things I like”.

  66. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:21

    Oh, come off it, Bubba. Buckley is one of the principal architects of the misery in which Americans, including you and me, now live. I don’t have any patience with efforts to whitewash that prick.

  67. Smut Clyde said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:23

    but I love the fact that he told Gore Vidal he’d punch him in his fucking prissy face.
    This is hardly Wittgenstein’s most important moment, but I love the fact that he told Russell he’d whack a poker upside of his fucking prissy head.

  68. Susan of Texas said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:25

    This is the delimma the freaking conservative party gives us—we look back with nostalgia to when our enemies had manners, even if nothing else. The younger generations don’t even have that, yet feel quite as comfortably superior as their elders.

  69. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:26

    Once again, the tide rises again, merciless in its determination to stamp out nuance.

    “Stop” it cries out. A thing cannot be two things.

    A thing can be bad or good. A thing can be a patriot or a terrorist.

    How can you make these vile claims that a man can hold vile ideologies and still have principals? What do you think this is, 1964?

    We are in the post bush/rove era. If one changes one’s mind, it is a sign of weakness and must be designated as a “flip flop”

    And all things must be identified as occupying one or the other end of a two dimensional scale. Black/White. Up/Down. Good/Bad. Liberal/Conservative.

    I was startled to learn a couple weeks ago that this new reality, this modern enforced simplicity has a name.

    It is called, I was told, Duality.

    And while it serves no purpose of value, it advances the ability to communicate or understand not one whit, it can frequently be used to bludgeon one’s ideological opponent – a rhetorical blunt instrument…

    mikey

  70. Bob said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:27

    Righteous Bubba said, “Principled” does not mean “only says and does things I like”.
    That is certainly true. So, is the man who said “It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class…” principled? I guess that’s a principle he’s upholding. Do I agree with the principle he’s upholding? No. Do I think the upholding of said principle makes him a repugnant person? Yes.
    Does that put all this in perspective for you?

  71. Susan of Texas said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:28

    Nothing’s more conservative than a closed mind.

  72. Gavin M. said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:28

    Gavin it is obvious that you must repudiate William F. Buckley, who is the true face of the radical left.

    Do you mean ‘repudiate’ or ‘denounce?’

  73. Patterson Hood (in "Demonic Possession") said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:28

    “[The devil] says the only thing that’s buggin’ him,
    is Hell’s fillin’ up with Republicans”

    and paraphrasing “George Wallace”:

    “Throw another log on the fire, boys,
    [Bill Buckley] is comin’ to stay”

    F him, and the movement he created. A well-spoken devil is still a devil.

  74. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:30

    Okay, Mikey has chastened me. Here is my nuanced view of Buckley. He was a reactionary asshole who used his not inconsiderable intellectual gifts to help wreck this country.

  75. Gavin M. said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:33

    So, is the man who said “It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class…” principled? I guess that’s a principle he’s upholding. Do I agree with the principle he’s upholding? No. Do I think the upholding of said principle makes him a repugnant person? Yes.

    I’m not sure you’re reading that right. Buckley was saying that the fact-on-the-ground of Southern black people being disproportionately poor, uneducated, and other such things shouldn’t be used as ‘proof’ that black people are naturally that way, and should therefore be kept in such a condition.

  76. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:33

    Who’s whitewashing him? I think he was a principled man: that does not mean that I think he was nice or smart, as I think he was a monster who has done the damage you describe and obviously much more.

    In short, his principles suck, and I don’t think anybody on this thread has said or believes anything different. When I heard the news I was imagining (and I’m hoping for) a vicious obit by HTML Mencken, who’d probably convince me that nope, Buckley was simply a whore.

    The biggest current joke regarding the Republican party is that the hypocrites got the candidate they were pretending to love in Mike Huckabee and are appalled; if you don’t think a wingnut can have principles then this lovely irony is lost on you.

  77. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:33

    I guess that’s a principle he’s upholding.

    Yes, the “principle” that he’s upholding is that niggers are naturally inferior to whites and will have to be uplifted by their betters in the due course of time. Does that put it in perspective for you?

  78. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:39

    …and in the meantime a bunch of people say a bunch of good stuff rendering my comment unnecessary. I appreciate that Barry and/or mndean don’t want anything marginally nice said about the guy; peeing on Buckley’s grave is not unreasonable.

  79. Gavin M. said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:41

    Yes, the “principle” that he’s upholding is that niggers are naturally inferior to whites and will have to be uplifted by their betters in the due course of time. Does that put it in perspective for you?

    I believe he’s saying something toward the opposite of that.

    Like Bubba, I despise most of his principles. But my God, at least he had some. Can anyone say what K-Lo or Jonah actually believe — as opposed to the trickily manipulative bad-faith arguments they’re always spinning?

  80. dSmith said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:45

    If Buckley is remembered fifty years from now it will be as a music critic. He championed Bach back when Bach was more neglected than he is today. He wrote beautifully about Rosalyn Tureck’s handling of the Goldberg Variations(Bach’s not Jonah’s) and the Well-Tempered Clavier.
    Also, Gore Vidal is a tall man who was a physical fitness buff and had served in the Armed Services. He could have taken Buckley with no problem

  81. Smut Clyde said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:47

    Do you mean ‘repudiate’ or ‘denounce?’
    Renounce him and all his works! ‘Abjure’ is good, too. We need a good abjurgation.

  82. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:50

    We need a good abjurgation.

    I can help with this. Just have a bowl of my Venison Chili.

    You’ll be abjurgating the rest of the night…

    mikey

  83. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:51

    Also, Gore Vidal is a tall man who was a physical fitness buff and had served in the Armed Services. He could have taken Buckley with no problem

    Well Buckley had that secret agent stuff, so it would have been interesting. But yeah, I remember seeing the footage and thinking “Go on Gore, punch his fucking face in!”

  84. pedestrian said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:52

    But this quote:

    “The central question that emerges … is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”

    precedes this quote:

    The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class.

    in the same fucking article. He is agnostic on the question of whether “negroes” can be “improved”, but the thrust of his argument is that they were inferior at the time and therefore should not be allowed to vote. If he throws in a bit at the end about how white people should be good, kind, enlightened masters who try to improve the condition of their semi-savage black brothers, that is just salve for the conscience of his readers. It is also the exact same thing that slave owners said before the Civil War: “Oh, sure, one shouldn’t take advantage of the slaves, but as long as they are being treated well and Christianized, we are actually doing them a favor!” Bull. Shit.

    He was an intelligent man and a gifted writer; that does not mean that he wasn’t disingenuous.

  85. Screamin' Demon said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:56

    First Georgia Frontiere, and now Bill Buckley? Man, hell is really getting crowded.

    Nah.

    Best bumpersticker I ever saw:
    “Speed on, brother – Hell ain’t half full!”

  86. Malignant Bouffant said,

    February 28, 2008 at 1:59

    My crypto-fascist parents held a cocktail party for WFB sometime in the early ’60s (he may have been speaking at the Hoover Institution, or somewhere on the Stanford campus, as we lived in the area) & Mr. Buckley did not not attempt to perv off w/ me (seven or eight yrs. old at the time) so I guess he wasn’t completely evil.

  87. J C Garner said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:02

    My guess, he was probably glad to have departed a world that has deteriorated to this level of discourse. Unbelievable…

  88. HTML Mencken said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:11

    Buckley was simply a whore.

    He was a whore in the sense that he sold out his small-government principles for the sake of anti-communism; but of course he did this from pretty much day one, being an early and unrepentant McCarthyite and never really moving from that ground.

    I think Gore could have taken Buckley in a straight fight, though as someone alludes to above, who knows what kinda secret CIA assassination device Buckley had in his pocket to use, courtesy of his good pal Howard Hunt. (And if he had, think of the wingnet’s — and Andrew Northrup’s — cheers.)

    I spent most of last night and early morning in the emergency room while my date got stitches in her foot, so I’m late getting to all this, but I’ll post something eventually, if for no other reason than Rick Perlstein’s comments disturb me.

  89. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:17

    I spent most of last night and early morning in the emergency room while my date got stitches in her foot

    *AHEM*

    ‘Scuse me. Mr. Mencken?

    This is NOT the kind of thing you can drop in without any goddam explanation at all. I mean, you don’t need to spend an hour describing all the details in technicolor, but would it have killed ya to provide a TINY bit of context?

    You know, something alone the lines of “…a gator bit it”. Or something?

    Sheesh…

    mikey

  90. History said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:17

    That’ll teach you to stand athwart me, sunshine.
    Yell “Stop!” all you like.I’m still gonna mow you down like a granny crossing I-95 in rush hour!

  91. Smut Clyde said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:20

    something alone the lines of “…a gator bit it”.
    Blame it on the chainsaw.

  92. HTML Mencken said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:21

    Buckley had a habit of nurturing depravity then disowning it — or “disowning” it — only when it had reached a cartoonish level of insanity.

    He was fine with the Birchers’ red-baiting, fine with Robert Welch calling liberals commies until the cows came homw. It was only when Welch asserted that Ike was a commie that Buckley disowned Welch. (Myth has it that Buckley wholly disowned the JBS; no, he didn’t.) Likewise, when Norman Podhoretz (whom Gavin is right to say is worse than Buckley, on the excellent grounds that anyone who agitates for immoral wars which kill thousands or millions is worse than any sort of mere bigot or racist), went-a witch-hunting for “anti-Semites” (meaning, people not holding the Likudist view of the middle east), Buckley was fine with it when the victims were liberals, but when The Pod started attacking what we would now call paleocons, Buckley told him to knock it off.

    This pattern, I believe, is grounds for the charge of opportunism and calculation, about which ‘principles’ play little part. Buckley knew what monsters he was making.

  93. billy pilgrim said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:22

    mikey, given the earlier chainsaw comments, maybe Mencken was just creating a new door and things got a bit over zealous….

  94. HTML Mencken said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:23

    Just an accident mikey; she stepped on something sharp.

  95. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:25

    Now, now, it’s true I had one date that ended in an armed confrontation (no shots were fired) and two that ended in riots. But I can’t recall ever having a date ending up a casualty.

    If you need to keep a medevac on call on date night?

    You’re doing it wrong…

    mikey

  96. moondancer said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:28

    Without him K-Lo would be manager of a all-you-can-eat Tiki lounge, Doughy Pantload would be happily single living in mommys basement, I could go on, but am too depressed.

  97. Smut Clyde said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:33

    In view of the earlier discussion of windows, doors and chainsaws, I urge that some recognition for an early discovery of the Overton Window should be given to E. T. A. Hoffmann.

    Krespel paced thoughtfully around, the masons following him with hammer and mattock, and whenever he cried: “Here a window, six feet high, four feet wide! There a small window, three feet high, two feet wide!” the required window-space was at once knocked through the wall.

  98. pedestrian said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:38

    There is a common misconception that gay men are
    A) not violent, and
    B) not sports fans

    It just ain’t true. Last week my friend ended a first date at the Emergency Room getting his jaw sewn up. He is from NY and I guess he hasn’t learned not to speak disparagingly of the Patriots.

    Testosterone in double doses can be dangerous.

  99. HTML Mencken said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:41

    There is a common misconception that gay men are
    A) not violent

    It just ain’t true.

    As anyone who’s read of the Gore Vidal-Jack Kerouac tryst can attest.

  100. Suedehead said,

    February 28, 2008 at 2:57

    Wm. F. Buckley did not toe ‘our’ particular line but he did respect those who didn’t toe his. That’s the difference between him and the cretinous crop of current conservative critics and commentators (sorry) and for the somewhat deferential tone from Gavin et al (me). The continually eroding tone vis a vis public discourse today is tiresome and frustrating for many of us that remember some semblance of civility in journalistic punditry.
    And…for those of you who haven’t clicked the Youtube/Chomsky link; do so at your own erudition and amusement.’ Bitch was funny too.

  101. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:07

    Why is Buckley better than Podhoretz? Because Buckley favored CIA-organized coups in the Third World rather than nuclear attacks?

    Also, Gavin, I respectfully dissent from your excessively charitable and, in my opinion, naive assessment of Buckley’s racist comments. Buckley says,

    “So long as [the South] is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function.”

    Buckley was parroting a line I’ve heard a number of times from southerners of a certain age, usually well-to-do people older than fifty who used to belong to the Citizens Councils: if the Guvment wouldn’t have interfered in our bidness, we would have figured out a plan for the darkies. That’s what Buckley meant. The benevolent rich white people would have figured out a way to lift the Negroes from their darkness, if the feds hadn’t interfered with their guardsmen and marshals and whatnot.

  102. HTML Mencken said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:16

    Because Buckley favored CIA-organized coups in the Third World rather than nuclear attacks?

    Pod also favored coups. The point is that The Pod is a brinksman and ideologue in a way even Buckley was not — The Pod is of the sort quite willing to kill everyone on earth to prove his beliefs “right.” Buckley, not nearly so much.

    And both were racist, so that’s a wash (actually, if I had to, I’d give the nod to Buckley there, too, on the grounds that The Pod, as a former liberal, “knew” better).

  103. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:19

    The point is that The Pod is a brinksman and ideologue in a way even Buckley was not

    Point taken.

  104. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:20

    There may be a small selection bias at work here, but the gay guys I’ve hung with over the years have pretty much all been scary lethal, barehanded, with edged weapons, firearms and explosives, in chaps or not…

    mikey

  105. lawnguylander said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:27

    Smut, I believe it was Karl Popper’s prissy fucking head that was threatened with the poker by Wittgenstein. “You want philosophy to be about real world issues, I got your real world issue right here.” Russell’s contribution was the furious fap-fap-fapping sound in the background.

  106. Patkin said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:37

    Personally speaking, I only regret Bill Buckley dying because now if someone brings up his old bullshit, I can’t wish Bill Buckley was dead.

    He may have been a man of principle, but his principles were fucking bullshit and the idea that they’ll long-outlive him makes me angry as fuck.

  107. Realist said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:40

    You’ll notice that Vidal doesn’t appear particularly worried – looks to me like he’s smiling at provoking “public intellectual” Buckley into making threats of physical violence during a debate.

  108. Johnny Coelacanth said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:41

    Someone somewhere referenced Hunter S. Thompson’s eulogy of Nixon:

    “He has poisoned our water forever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand. By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.”

    Substitute “Bush” for “Nixon” and you’ll see why Thompson killed himself. He didn’t think it could get worse.

  109. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:54

    And the lesson here is first, how short our collective outraged memories are, and two, that the lesson that many took from the Nixon presidency was that he just simply didn’t go far enough.

    Hence? No consideration of impeachment for bush/cheney, despite so much more heinous crimes, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

    Nixons crimes are considered somehow kind of quaint, a small transgression in a simpler era. Clinton’s impeachment was always recognized as nothing more than a political attack, supported by innocent dems and complicit repubs, no one realizing what the larger meaning was going to be.

    And now? No option left to impeach. All personal and professional pride subjugated to party power. No willingness to express the will of the constitution. Just a sad little lockstep march into some helpless kind of oblivion.

    When viewed through the lens of political history, this sad creature that the United States has become is the worst expression of personal aggrandizement valued over commitment to an ideal. Even Nixon would be appalled…

    mikey

  110. billy pilgrim said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:55

    Now, now, it’s true I had one date that ended in an armed confrontation (no shots were fired) and two that ended in riots. But I can’t recall ever having a date ending up a casualty.

    now mikey, you can’t chide HTML for not talking about his suggestive announcement and drop one of your own with this much romance and danger….. although it sounds like you have more tale than would fit in a simple comment thread.

    Might I suggest serialization over at your own joint? There would be a certain subset of SN readers – the romantic, the casually disoriented, the cynics- who would make the link to hear the (non)-gory details.

  111. (Lex) Skink Tyree (Azagthoth) said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:59

    That’s it, now it’s my turn! Now I’M going to “stand athwart history and yell”, well if not stop then something else, that’s for damned sure!

    OK, I’ll yell, “Stop the War on Drugs, you assholes!!

  112. Barry Puppert said,

    February 28, 2008 at 4:01

    I’d give the nod to Buckley there, too, on the grounds that The Pod, as a former liberal, “knew” better).

    I think Buckley recognized very early on that the discontent of the Dixiecrats with LBJ and the civil rights legislation was a political opportunity for the conservative movement. He was key in creating the conditions that brought the racist southern Democrats eventually under the wing of an established political party (the Republicans, of course), where, as we know, they have remained ever since.

    And this is why Buckley deserves to burn in hell (if there is one).

  113. NobodySpecial said,

    February 28, 2008 at 4:10

    When viewed through the lens of political history, this sad creature that the United States has become is the worst expression of personal aggrandizement valued over commitment to an ideal.

    Which pretty much matches Buckley’s career arc.

  114. Snorghagen said,

    February 28, 2008 at 4:42

    The last I saw of William F. Buckley was his appearance a few months ago in the Johann Hari piece about the National Review cruise-ship vacation, quoted upthread by Ugly In Pink at 21:29. I have no love for Buckley, but I almost pitied the poor devil when I read that. He lived long enough to see that the cause he’d dedicated his life to had been taken over by paranoid, simple-minded louts who despised his intellectualism as a sign of weakness.

    Buckley knew what monsters he was making.

    Yes, I think so, too… but he didn’t understand that guys like him would have no place in the world he was creating.

  115. Rightwingsnarkle said,

    February 28, 2008 at 4:57

    Bill Buckley? Pfft. Fuck him. He was an arrogant twit, a poseur, a fraud. I don’t know what he was fuller of – shit, or himself. They’re probably the same thing.

    More oxygen for the rest of us, I say. Bill Buckley didn’t do shit for me.

    Now, my friend Bill Lucky? That’s a fucking loss. That’s a fucking tragedy.

    But Bill Buckley? Fuck him. Good riddance.

  116. I should be ashamed said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:13

    Maybe Lucianne is next.

  117. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:14

    Here’s where I’m gonna hide behind my lack of erudition and education. I honestly don’t know crap about Buckley.

    That said, I tend to forgive people who made statements that were acceptable in the prevailing environment. ie, racist statement in the early sixties. I mean jeez, you have read Tom Sawyer, right? So understand that you can’t overlay your millenial values on a persons fifty year old writings, right? Now, if I missed something, or I’m just generally an idiot, please don’t be too hard on me. I’m not going to crack the books big time on this guy. I get that he was a racist thug, and I’m fine with his historical judgement.

    Maybe, more than anything else, its JUST that simple, black and white definition of any thoughtful human as evil is going to “stick in my craw”. People aren’t “BAD”. They also aren’t “GOOD”.

    Maybe I fear judgement on that level because I stand to be judged wanting. As, obviously, is this Buckley character. But it seems sad that it’s so hard to accept that there might have been something to admire, along with something to rail against, in his persona.

    Then I think of Kissenger and I think, hell, man, maybe there just WAS no redeeming factors in his life.

    Look. I don’t know shit. But I do know that I WANT to find something redeeming in everybody. Just as I’d sure hope that everybody will look hard enough to find something redeeming in me….

    mikey

  118. slippytoad said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:17

    Poor Buckley. He lived long enough to see the movement he spearheaded turn into a grotesque caricature of itself, a miserable, soul-crushing failure on every possible level.

    When he started the National Review, people were still hearing seig heil echo bitterly across barely a decade. Buckley learned as so many of us do that the world is a wheel and everything comes around again, and as he left this world he watched a stuttering imbecile, a phony aw-shucks propaganda frontman turn the Nation that he sought to Review into a horrid, muddy, sloppy echo of the Fascism that marred the first half of the 20th Century.

    A statist, top-down, media-manipulating, war-mongering bunch of unprincipled hacks took over his movement and ripped shit all over it until it was so indefensible, so unappealing, so disgusting an excrescence of our baser human instincts that it fractured into smoldering, stinking pieces, a smoking wreck of its former self, all but certain to crash, burn, and die during the next election cycle.

    And if I had any sympathy for the miserable fuck who tried to make all of these ugly things about human character into acceptable political impulses, I’d feel sorry for him that his last view of the world was of his movement in a state of catastrophic disarray.

    But then I remember what the miserable nutfucks who populate his movement have done to our country, my world, and my childrens’ future, and feel my mouth filling up with hot, angry spit.

  119. Smiling Mortician said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:26

    Buckley. Hm. For me it comes down to the two broad definitions of “good.” He was “good” at argument — meaning, pretty competent at composing a reliable mix of claim and support and even underlying it all with warrants that he often (but not always) articulated.

    But his arguments almost never were for the “good” — meaning, of course, that he very, very rarely argued in favor of something that would be helpful to the cause of bettering the condition of humankind.

    It’s tempting, in this age of conservatism that’s just bad on both levels, to feel a degree of nostalgia for a guy who got the lesser part of the equation right. At the moment, however, I’m immune to such temptation. The fucker oozed disdain for those who weren’t like him and who threatened his sense of entitlement. The fact that he also occasionally said some reasonable things, and that he couched his abhorrent views in clearly diagrammable syllogisms doesn’t make me mourn him.

  120. Hoosier X said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:28

    … Mr. Buckley did not not attempt to perv off w/ me (seven or eight yrs. old at the time) so I guess he wasn’t completely evil.

    Well. That sets him head and shoulders above the average Repug asshole, doesn’t it?

    A very disciplined and prinicpled man, I see.

  121. MarktheSpark said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:29

    Accd. to the NPR panegyric I heard earlier today part of his legacy is “hand-picking” the odious turd & chickenhawk Mark Lowery (spelling?) as his successor for NRO editor.

    Thus dies the legend of a “conservative intellectual”, a true oxymoron since the days of Edmund Burke, no matter what Buckley did. May he rot in Hell, with the other racists & war criminals.

  122. Hoosier X said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:33

    Mikey …

    In my own honest opinion …

    Buckley was a piece of shit.

    Just because he was about a thousand times better than your average Limbaugh or Coulter or Doughy Pantload says nothing about Buckley’s “principles.”

    But it speaks volumes about the great many varieties and differing qualities of conservative pieces of shit.

  123. National Review, 1957 said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:33

    ”‘Integration’ and ‘Communization’ are, after all, pretty closely synonymous. In light of what is happening today, the first may be little more than a euphemism for the second. It does not take many steps to get from the ‘integrating’ of facilities to the ‘communizing’ of facilities, if the impulse is there.”

  124. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:42

    In my own honest opinion …

    Buckley was a piece of shit.

    Being, sadly, poorly informed, I’m happy to accept this judgement from people who’s opinions I value and have learned tend to be accurate.

    But the question still niggles at my mind. People in this very thread, while recognizing his contributions to the worst kinds of discourse, while effectively villifying him on every level, have merely chosen to say that there were some things about him that were admirable, even if, on balance, they could in no way redeem him for his rhetorical and journalistic crimes.

    And as someone who has done bad, but who has also done good, I am attracted to that argument. The philosophical thought that perhaps, within the most foul, repugnant of characters, their is a bit of redemption to be found. Certainly, not enough to win them accolades and an invitation into the heaven so many of you have secured for yourselves, just a thought that their charcoal black soul might, upon further, more careful examination, have a few spots of grey or even white flecked upon it.

    I don’t know. But I know it’s easy to judge someone, and find them wanting in every way. It’s harder to recognize that people bring an accumulation of knowledge, wisdom, fear and prejudice into every endeavor, and we used to find a path through that thicket of predisposition and cowardice to a place of understanding.

    We seem to know so much more now. But it sounds like so much less…

    mikey

  125. William F. Buckley, Jr. said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:45

    “[T]he South’s premises are correct… It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.”

  126. SamFromUtah said,

    February 28, 2008 at 5:53

    It does not take many steps to get from the ‘integrating’ of facilities to the ‘communizing’ of facilities, if the impulse is there.

    That’d be the Totalitarian Temptation, I reckon. Funny Buckley should bring that up 50 years before the Pantload discovered it.

  127. pedestrian said,

    February 28, 2008 at 6:05

    RedState reviews a Buckley obit:

    ‘In a 1968 television debate, when left-wing novelist and critic Gore Vidal called him a “pro-war-crypto-Nazi,” Buckley snarled an anti-gay slur and threatened to “sock you in your … face and you’ll stay plastered.”’

    First of all, anyone who wouldn’t want to sock Gore Vidal in the face is a closet Communist who has been thoroughly brainwashed, but why include something that is obviously meant to make him look mean-spirited and “anti-gay” to those who don’t realize how detestable (and effeminate) Gore Vidal is?

    Yeah, stop making conservatives look like neanderthals.

  128. HTML Mencken said,

    February 28, 2008 at 6:10

    mikey, I understand and appreciate your point, i agree with it, but it’s also irrelevant for the context of the argument.

    when people say Buckley was a Bad Person, they mean he was a horrible public figure. and that’s it, because that’s all that matters in this context.

    that Buckley may have been kind and generous in private life, good to his friends, etc, simply doesn’t matter except to those people. it’s true that everyone has good and bad points, that no human has a thoroughly black character — yes, we know that and take it as a given.

    the point is that, with exceptions for hypocrisy and for the understandable human desire for gossip, the private lives of people like Buckley don’t matter. it’s the public life that demands critique, and in Buckley’s case it was vile to the core, not just because of what he believed and proselytized, whom he nurtured and advanced, what causes he championed and denigrated, but in WFB’s special case, what he did as praxis: Buckley was CIA and stattioned south of the border at a very rotten time (thus my reference to his connection to E. Howard Hunt); that he could have lent a hand in toppling a democracy (let’s say, Guatemala) is possible, even probable. just what we know is a substantial list of crying sins, then there’s what we don’t know..

  129. mikey said,

    February 28, 2008 at 6:25

    I am entirely on board that bus, HT.

    I get it, and I don’t dispute it.

    Oddly, what I was taking issue with was not the people taking issue with Buckley.

    It was with people taking issue with people who were finding something, well, forgivable with Mr. Buckley. That was the thing I found somewhat foul, and uncharitable.

    If someone wants to find something redeemable in a criminal, and you don’t? I’d say, go ahead and make your case. But don’t think that person’s viewpoint has no value, because it’s only your own viewpoint that you crap all over. You see that, right?

    mikey

  130. Anne Laurie said,

    February 28, 2008 at 6:35

    RIGHT from the start, Buckley was forthrightly defending the most basic conservative principle: “I’ve got, mine, Jack, bugger the rest of you.” The ensuing half-century of flapjaw and flapdoodle were all about defending Bill’s every last personal privilege, prerogative, and pique by whatever means necessary. Buckley and his fellow Aryans from Darien (ex: the Bush crime family) were perfectly happy to rally the slackjawed heartland morons in the Grand Cause of protecting Bill’s “god-given” RIGHT to a place at Yale, a sinecure at an old-money firm, townhouses in all the best cities, a steady supply of properly humble servants, all the chic-est forms of entertainment (including the occasional coup or insurrection in some raggedy thirdworld country), and no estate tax to unduly burden his heirs’ enjoyment of the same advantages. Even his privileged fellows were not safe from Buckley’s core nastiness if he felt his enormous self-satisfaction threatened, as Gore Vidal so brilliantly exposed. If Buckley eventually came to regret the monsters he did so much to create, it was small punishment for the enormous damage he, his co-conspirators, and his creatures have unleashed on America and the world.

  131. Hoosier X said,

    February 28, 2008 at 6:54

    My Mom is a committed conservative who can say some pretty looney things. And some very embarrassing racist things. And she can back off and dissemble with the rest of them when confronted with someone who starts hacking away at her talking points (gleaned mostly from syndicated columnists in the local North Florida newspaper she reads) with a little personal experience.

    She has many good points, and I can defend her in any number of ways and just be glad that she hasn’t fallen for ALL of that nonsense.

    William F. Buckley isn’t my Mom.

    But Buckley, and people like him, constructed the environment that made it possible for my Mom, and so many like her, to waste their lives and energy full of delusions and useless hatred of many things that they know very little about.

    He may not have been the worst offender, but his efforts made the world suck just a little more.

    RIP, William F. Buckley Jr.

    May the afterlife be kinder to you than you deserve.

  132. pedestrian said,

    February 28, 2008 at 7:14

    I wonder why we are so certain that calm, reasoned arguments are always nobler than brute force. That is why Buckley compares more favorably, isn’t it? What do we mean when we say that there has been a decline in our national discourse? We mean that big words have been replaced by small words and logic has been replaced by visceral propoganda. Pundits aren’t talking to the educated anymore, they are talking to the mob. Calling liberals “traitors” is just one step from stringing liberals up in trees.

    Here is the thing that we easily forget: in the 50′s and 60′s, in the South, black people were actually being strung up in trees, and in large numbers, thanks in part to the efforts of William F Buckley. Jim Crow wasn’t just “the different standards of a different era”, it was a deep historic injustice. The entire world was scandalized by what happened here. Can you imagine if the our government today unleashed dogs on peace protestors, or rescinded the voting rights of Boston and San Francisco, or put liberal students into internment camps? What if wingnuts today were launching terrorist attacks against liberal churches and the homes of professors, knowing that no jury would convict them?

    Of course I believe that fighting with words is preferable to fighting with guns. However, keeping it civil and erudite excludes a large segment of people from the conversation, and it excluded even more people when schools were still segregated and black people couldn’t vote. William F Buckley looks safer to us because he never threatened educated white people; with his pupils, we can’t be so sure. But when he said that white people are “entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically”, he is talking about far worse crimes than the Bush Administration ever dreamed of.

  133. George Johnston said,

    February 28, 2008 at 7:16

    Bill Buckley was an asshole. Hell won’t a be a trial for him because he has been sucking Satan’s cock for decades.

  134. Dr Zen said,

    February 28, 2008 at 7:42

    Yes, crypto-Nazis with “principles” are just so much more palatable than the ones without. That really helps the boot on the neck feel that little bit less heavy.

  135. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 7:45

    I wonder why we are so certain that calm, reasoned arguments are always nobler than brute force. That is why Buckley compares more favorably, isn’t it?

    Reason is something desirable, is it not? This was a guy who could, and did, reason. He didn’t shrink from opposing views. Some people I admire very much were on his shows – he was much happier with the people I think were scum – and he took their arguments seriously. It’s not wrong to think that he brought more open-mindedness to the table than his current crop of bastards. That’s not wishing him back – and certainly I wish he never existed – but acknowledging a truth.

    It’s not just about civility, which most of us think is bullshit. It’s about having an honest argument. He could have one and indeed hosted many.

    http://hoohila.stanford.edu/firingline/programList.php

    Where else did anybody see an hour of debate about animal rights?

  136. Hugely said,

    February 28, 2008 at 9:03

    RB:

    re: animal rights – Diane Rehm does shows on that topic quite often. I can do linky if you want…..

  137. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 9:11

    Thanks for the offer Hugely, linky away. But what I meant was in 1968 Buckley was doing an hour nationwide on stuff like that, pot, protest, whether the Republican party had a future, and so on. His guests were people like the ACLU head or one of the founders of Amnesty International or Chomsky or a variety of despicable right-wing shits.

  138. skippy said,

    February 28, 2008 at 9:29

    gee, i dunno, i remember when i was a kid, watching buckley eviscerate some white trash klans guy who tried to prove that evolution proved that negroes were inferior to whites.

    i’m not an intellectual, i’m a blogger. i haven’t read any, let alone all of buckley’s writings (tho i liked the movie made from his son’s book).

    but the national post seems to bear my thesis out:

    http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=339273&p=1

    yet buckley did in fact change and renounce racism by the mid-1960s, in part because of his horror at the terrorist tactics used by white supremacists to fight the civil rights movement; and in part because of the moral witness of friends such as garry wills, who confronted buckley with the amorality of his politics…

    there are a host of other issues on which buckley moderated his politics. in the 1980s, he said that if he were a black south african he would probably support the african national congress, a statement that shocked fellow conservatives. this independence of mind continued to the end of his life. not too long ago, he admitted that the iraq war was a ghastly mistake, again annoying his intellectual fellow travellers. he was learning until his last days.

  139. Tehanu said,

    February 28, 2008 at 10:21

    This has been a great thread. mikey, Susan of Texas, Righteous Bubba, Smiling Mortician, Anne Laurie, Hoosier X, and many more — everybody’s had something thoughtful to say. . I have nothing original to add about Buckley, I just wanted to thank the rest of you for your contributions.

  140. Pinko Punko said,

    February 28, 2008 at 11:06

    Wordzoes to Anne Laurie.

    Skippy, interesting point, but I think such independence from Buckley was only used to add a tinge of humanity to some really bad people. Even though Buckley said that about S. Africa, we had Cheney arguing vociferously against divestment and the like, basically fighting to prop up the apartheid government. He assembled a monster and did nothing to disassemble it. He may have renounced some previous views, but they had already been incorporated into the fiber of the party’s being.

  141. Zuzu said,

    February 28, 2008 at 11:09

    I’m sorry, this just never computed:

    Mrs. Buckley

  142. flawedplan said,

    February 28, 2008 at 13:21

    Great thread, I looked forward to this all day. I get mikey’s sensibility and appreciate html mencken’s response. I felt only angry and judgmental about what WFB did with his life all day til I saw Charlie Rose holding back tears in his farewell tonight, he clearly loved the man and now he’s dead so I cried too, and felt strange about that but one doesn’t cancel out the other. Love is love, when it walks in the room, everybody stand up.

  143. Susan of Texas said,

    February 28, 2008 at 14:52

    Read Glen Greenwald on this. I think the important thing is to point out as Glen does that Buckley never changed his conservative values—and that is why he was so at odds with the modern Republican party. He didn’t change. The party mutated into what it is today. (An inevitable consequence, considering what its principles are, however.)

    Condemn Buckely entirely and this point becomes lost. Use him to attack modern republicans.

  144. Don Drennon said,

    February 28, 2008 at 15:39

    Those cretins at NR, The Corner, and elsewhere in right blogistan wouldn’t make a pimple on Buckley’s ass.

  145. El Cid said,

    February 28, 2008 at 15:43

    It is truly a sad day when people feel the urge to commemorate W. F. Buckley’s National Review crowd of malignant ***holes from back in the day as some sort of moral model for todays drunken caveman right wing.

  146. Righteous Bubba said,

    February 28, 2008 at 16:55

    From Crooked Timber:

    Surely no matter what our politics are, we all have at least some fond memories of the man who was William F. Buckley. I’ll never forget that time in 2008 when he died.

  147. kiki said,

    February 28, 2008 at 17:47

    I’ve read mercifully little Buckley and no Perlstein, but what jumped out at me were these two phrases, three sentences apart:

    “William F. Buckley said and did many things over the course of his career that were disgusting.”

    “He was a good and decent man.”

    Um, really? To me this smacks of a fairly fundamental wingnut tactic, and one they use every time one of their own is caught with his pants down. Ken Lay didn’t rip anyone off, because Ken Lay is a wonderful person, despite ripping all those people off. America doesn’t torture and murder people, because America is a moral nation, no matter how many people it tortures and murders. Simply saying “good person!” or “noble country!” is the magical balm that excuses all ills, despite the self-evidently false, nonsensical, circular nature of the statement.

    Isn’t there something about knowing a man by his actions? It seems to me that “good and decent” people by definition don’t “do or say disgusting things” – that’s what makes them “good and decent” people. Duh.

  148. r4d20 said,

    February 28, 2008 at 18:03

    So, lets see, judging by some comments…

    This is stupid: “Mussolini was a socialist once + Mussolini founded the fascist party = Fascism is Socialism”

    But somehow this is smart: “Buckley believed in racial inequality in his youth + Buckley founded the conservative movement = Conservativism is racism”

    Sadly, No!

    As much as I love SN! I knew that Buckley was going to bring the stupid out of some people here.

  149. Hugely said,

    February 28, 2008 at 18:43

    RB et al:

    sorry for the late followup. Here is a quick google search of WAMU on animal rights. I didnt mean to be contrary on your point its just that when i think of journalistic biases i always laugh that Diane Rehm is biased…. she loves animals. (And that Terri Gross is biased too, she loves lesbian talmudic scholars who unionize sex workers in lebanon) so some random synapses fired and i posted a comment (not unlike this rambling comment)

    so way way OT just thought id put the linky up

  150. Lawnguylander said,

    February 28, 2008 at 18:46

    r4d20,

    Judging by which comments? If you want to argue that modern day conservatism isn’t racist at its core go ahead but saying he bears responsibility for how things have turned out is no Goldbergian leap. You don’t see any difference here? And Buckley believed in racial inequality in his youth? He may have moderated his views on race over the years but he was writing pro apartheid opinion pieces in the 80s.

    I will credit his column in the NY Daily News with making me sit up and take notice of what a shitpile conservatism was in my teen years though and for motivating me to launch my angry letters to the editors career at 16. On politics anyway. There were those embarrassing letters about Dondi and the Dr. J and Tom Seaver trades published under my name but I swear on my autographed Murray Kempton picture that someone was name stealing me.

  151. Susan of Texas said,

    February 28, 2008 at 19:09

    Meanwhile, everyone is totally missing the stupidity going on at the Corner.

    Kathryn Jean Lopez, the stupidest person on the masthead (marvel at that), sez, “Another Face of the WFB Legacy From today’s New York Times: “Louisiana Governor Pierces Business as Usual” and a picture of Bobby Jindal.

    R. Emmett Tyrrell : Bill was one of the few who could qualify as a great man. We’re all very sad. Bill is famous for standing athwart history and shouting “Stop!” Today, I wish I could stand athwart history and shout “No! Don’t tell us Bill’s gone.”

  152. Hugely said,

    February 28, 2008 at 19:48

    i dont know much about Bill Buckley other than Joe Flaherty doing a spoof of CrossFire

    I always thought that the root of conservatism was to conserve – none of the fuckers running around calling themselves conservatives fit that definition…. unless they want to preserve privilege.

    Buckley is just one more old white dude that people seem to want to mythologize/worship… meh

  153. fish said,

    February 28, 2008 at 20:19

    If you need to keep a medevac on call on date night?

    You’re doing it wrong…

    On this we must agree to disagree…

  154. SamFromUtah said,

    February 28, 2008 at 20:37

    On this we must agree to disagree…

    I agree, but with a couple of provisos and quid pro quos.

  155. OB-GYN Kenobi said,

    February 28, 2008 at 20:38

    You’ll notice that Vidal doesn’t appear particularly worried – looks to me like he’s smiling at provoking “public intellectual” Buckley into making threats of physical violence during a debate.

    Well, a stuck pig will squeal, you know.

    It would seem that Mr. Vidal was on to something, and that Mr. Buckley knew it, too.

  156. Smut Clyde said,

    February 28, 2008 at 21:06

    I believe it was Karl Popper’s prissy fucking head that was threatened with the poker by Wittgenstein.

    This merely strengthens my point.
    …My point being that it’s rather odd if you [i.e. anyone] reckon your intellectual hero’s most heroic moment was when he was least intellectual. When he lost an argument and tried thuggery as Plan B. When the mask of civility slipped (not to mention the white gloves of vocabulary, and the unconvincing toupee of an Ivy-League education).

  157. Zuzu said,

    February 28, 2008 at 22:38

    R. Emmett Tyrrell : Bill was one of the few who could qualify as a great man. We’re all very sad. Bill is famous for standing athwart history and shouting “Stop!” Today, I wish I could stand athwart history and shout “No! Don’t tell us Bill’s gone.”
    ——————————————————–

    No, Emmett has his own kinky reasons for wanting to stand athwart things.

  158. Bill S said,

    February 29, 2008 at 1:02

    I know I’m a little late in commenting here (damn those pesky “job” things!), but I don’t a whole lot to say about him anyway. When I was in my teens I barely even payed attention to him-he just struck me as an old fart. Or as he’d say, “ancient expulsion of intestinal gas” (nah, even that’s not pretentious enough.) My limited exposure to his op-ed columns when I was older led me to think he was just an asshole with a thesaurus. I do remember his propsel to have people with AIDS tatooed-an idea he was still defending as recently as 2005. As for whether he ever changed his racists attitudes…well, all I can remember is the way he used the Susan Smith case as to demonize blacks. If you’ll recall, Smith’s story of her children’s disappearance, fabricated to cover up her murder of them, was a claim that they’d been kidnapped by a black man. When the truth was revealed, Smith’s racism might have been the lesser of two evils, but Buckley suggested that she wasn’t being racist, she was merely fabricating the most believable lie she could come up with, citingsome bullshit statistic to suggest that blacks are more likely to commit criminal acts.
    I realize that episode of racism is but a drop in the ocean off Buckley’s bigotry, but it has always stuck in my mind.

  159. Bill S said,

    February 29, 2008 at 1:04

    (always read all the way through before hitting “submit”)
    I meant to say, “used the Susan Smith case as AN EXCUSE to demonize blacks.”

  160. Gentlewoman said,

    February 29, 2008 at 6:35

    Let’s see now. Not speaking ill of the dead…OK, got it: Buckley had lovely manners. If he thought you were worthy enough (IOW, you were someone like him), he might even use them while you were around. He did some decent published work which was of great use to sailors. Welp, that’s it. That’s all the not speaking ill I can come up with right now. Perhaps others can do better.

    The entire Connecticut branch of my family is probably in mourning right now, but all I can think is, ‘wow, one fewer Connecticut Republican voter available to continue the ongoing and seemingly endless project of fucking the state up further.’

  161. Jelperman said,

    February 29, 2008 at 6:52

    Well, a stuck pig will squeal, you know.

    It would seem that Mr. Vidal was on to something, and that Mr. Buckley knew it, too.

    How right you are! If you listen carefully to the famous video clip, you can hear Vidal mention “what happened at Sharon”. What happened was this:

    On March 4, 1944, Mr. and Mrs. Sully Berman bought a house on the green at Sharon. The Bermans were Jews. Now in Sharon, there was a gentleman’s agreement to keep out Jews. Needless to say, the arrival of the Bermans was considered by village gentry to be a betrayal of that agreement, and the town’s wrath was directed not so much at the Bermans as at the real-estate agent who had done such an un-Christian thing as to admit Jews to Sharon. The agent was Mrs. Francis James Meadows Cotter. Her husband was the Episcopal minister at Sharon, the Rector of Christ Church. The Cotters were a well-liked family, and their two daughters were contemporaries and friends of the young Buckleys. Buckley Sr., however, was a most unforgiving man. He complained loudly and bitterly about what Mrs. Cotter had done and, like Henry II, vowed revenge. Shortly thereafter, on Saturday, May 13, Christ Episcopal Church was vandalized. Honey and feathers were poured over the velvet cushions of the pews. Prayer books were defaced. Obscene photographs were inserted in the Bible.

    There was considerable uproar the next morning when the Reverend Cotter and his flock assembled. Who had done it? The high-spirited Buckleys were immediately suspected. Acting on a tip, detectives went to the Buckley house and there found the magazines from which had been torn the nudes, the oatmeal and syrup containers still set out on the kitchen table. Minimal sleuthing revealed which of the young Buckleys had been in town that night. The detectives then confronted the three vandals and got them to sign confessions. The case came to court June 10, and the three (one was in college and two in prep school) were found guilty by a Justice of the Peace and each fined $100 for damaging the church. Buckley Sr. did his best to take further revenge on the Cotters, even going so far as to request the Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut to remove Cotter from Christ Church, but by then the village sentiment was entirely on the side of the Cotters and Buckley Sr. dropped the matter. But he had made his point as far as his family was concerned and therein lies the key to his son’s character. Buckley Jr. has never accepted any view of the world other than his father’s. He is forever the little boy trying to impress Daddy by hating what Daddy hates.

    –From Vidal’s “A Distasteful Encounter With William F. Buckley Jr.”

    So Buckley’s famous shit-fit wasn’t so much at being called a “crypto-Nazi”, it was an attempt to shout down Vidal before the TV audience could see that where the Buckleys were concerned, there’s nothing “crypto” about it.

  162. CJSmith said,

    February 29, 2008 at 8:12

    Johnny Coelacanth said,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:41

    Someone somewhere referenced Hunter S. Thompson’s eulogy of Nixon:
    …..
    I can’t resist adding my favorite part (which I discovered when the LA Weekly reprinted it on the occasion of Reagan’s death):

    If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

    Deliriously exquisite (and widely applicable).

  163. karen marie said,

    March 1, 2008 at 5:12

    over at wolcott’s blog, i learned that buckley’s Buckley “service” during world war II was as a non-combatant in the US Army all right — he was a sexual hygiene officer in texas.

  164. Allen said,

    March 5, 2008 at 22:06

    The essential fact still stands that the brand of conservatism for which WHB became patron saint, and which has devolved to present day neoconservatism was and ever more so, is, a political philosophy characterized by moral bankruptcy. Todays neocon spokespersons and theorists only lack the sophisticated erudition of Buckley, but they continue his lineage. Their knuckle dragging is more obvious than his, but his life should be ample evidence that the finest upbringing and education are often insufficient to shine a light into the recesses of a very dark soul. They say he was quite a sociable chap!! Well, der Fuehrer loved dogs and little children..

  165. Jethro said,

    April 6, 2008 at 22:03

    Since liberalism has devolved into the coupling of propagandist lies combined with calling anyone with an opposing viewpoint “racist” + epitath. Should I believe you believe all this psuedo-analysis of Buckley’s legacy, or perhaps as he put it, “should I not insult your intelligence by assuming that you acutally believe what you’ve just said.”

  166. Righteous Bubba said,

    April 7, 2008 at 0:02

    Question mark.

  167. Why Talking To Conservatives is Difficult « blueollie said,

    August 29, 2009 at 22:24

    [...] things that are now taken for granted, such as civil rights. Let’s remind ourselves of what Bill Buckley said so long ago, as recalled by a commenter: We should probably not praise Buckley too fulsomely before remembering some of the charming things [...]

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