They don’t call him the father of the conservative movement for nothing!

Conservatives, upset about Ron Reagan’s Jr. lack of adoration for George Bush, have unleashed what Robert Novak calls a public flogging. At Outside the Tent, clifburns deals with some of the responses to Reagan Jr. offered by William “Punch you in the goddam mouth” Buckley. Surprisingly he leaves out this “counterpoint” offered by Bill:

RR Jr.: Having three cats while being childless ”is like having children.”
Buckley: ”No, it’s not like having children.”

Zing! (Sadly for Buckley, that’s the best counterpoint of the lot.)


Comments: 10

I wish that Vidal had just punched him in the gut or hit him on the head with a tumbler glass, like he did to the less-deserving Norman Mailer (IIRC).

Also, Sully would do well to consider the first thing Buckley thought of to call Vidal in that fight.

clifburns is right to mention Buckley’s segregationist credentials — it cant be overstated that NR was opposed to Dr. King, Brown vs BOEOTK, etc. That considered, I have little doubt what Buckley, in his little fit, would have called Vidal had GV been black. I DO have some doubt that that if Vidal had been black and gay, Buckley’s sneer would have been as witty as the Kennedy brothers’ name for James Baldwin : “Martin Luther Queen”.

Blah, I could go on and on — I really hate Buckley — but I’m glad this little story gets a larger audience not just to further cheapen Buckley’s “legacy”, but to show what supposedly evenhanded, chilly, smug, “reasonable”, “thoughtful” conservatives actually have boiling beneath their veneer.

I suggest we become more shrill (of course!) and sarcastic and annoying so that we may similarly blow the fuses of neo-Buckleys like, say, Tacitus or the Oxblog dorks.


So we agree Oxblog is basically The Corner only with better writers?


RR Jr.: Having three cats while being childless ”is like having children.”
Buckley: ”No, it’s not like having children.”

I am crushed to learn having 3 cats really isn’t like having children. Man, if only somebody had told this before, I could have saved all that time I spent trying to homeschool them, and getting them to dress modestly. But thank God Buckley had the guts to finally tell Ron and me the truth about this difficule issue — he truly is the Godfather of Soul.


As a dog owner, this was the only point on which I agreed with Buckley. And, of course, I felt deeply cheapened by agreeing with that pretentious twit on anything.


The June-July 2004 issue of the newspaper Freethought Today, put out by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (, quotes Ron Jr. as saying on the Larry King Show on June 23, 2004 (I assume in response to a question about whether he intends to ever run for elective office), “I’m an atheist. So there you go right there. I can’t be elected to anything because polls all say that people won’t elect an atheist.”


I only have two cats, but I’d like to say its a lot like having children. Children who puke on the floor and poop in inappropriate places, bite the doctor.

On top of it, people keep telling me that they are “weird”. Dammit. I adopted them as adults, so its not my fault that htey have emotional issues that require them to try and sit on your face. Or bite you.

And now I find out that my marriage to my Box Turle, Harry, isn’t even legal. I swear to god, I don’t know how much more of this I can take.


Perhaps Buckley doesn’t quite understand the concept of “like.” Anything can be described as being “like” anything, but you have to give the reasons for being alike. Somehow Buckley’s Either/Or switch couldn’t comprehend that having three cats is like having children in the regard that they depend on you for food.

They are also not alike, because nursing of kittens from a human breast doesn’t quite work, or at least leaves scars.


Bill Buckley: from reds-under-the-beds, to defending McCarthy, to the 10-feet tall Soviets, to riding the Christian fundamentalist tiger, his whole career and magazine were founded on error.
Would that we all could prosper from our dark fantasies.


I dunno… my cat is almost 18 and it is a lot like having a small child. I have to freaking cook for him all the time and deal with his digestive problems… and forget about getting him up in time to go to school.


This could be quite a debate. For example, unruly children are still more cooperative than cats so while different the experience of making them mind is alike. Likewise, Nixon speech writers are like cockroaches.


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