Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In memoriam: William F. Buckley, Jr.

Say what you will of Bill Buckley, he was quite an extraordinary character. Through two of his vehicles -- the National Review magazine and his long-running PBS show Firing Line -- Buckley became one of the builders of the modern conservative movement in the States.

While I profoundly disagreed with him on many of his viewpoints, I did like him for his gentlemanly character as well as his wit. Firing Line was one of the best opinion talk shows on TV and there was a huge gap in the prime time schedule, not just that of PBS, when it went off the air. Unlike so many of the bombastic media characters we associate with conservative media these days, it was hard to find a progressive or liberal who didn't at least respect him. He almost never gave them a reason not to; unlike Limbaugh or O'Reilly, both of whom get cited almost daily in Media Matters.

Buckley died last night in Stamford, Connecticut at the age of 82 still doing what he did best -- writing another column, at his desk. This year's American election and campaigns to come won't be quite the same without his insights.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.

1 comment:

The Mound of Sound said...

Buckley was an unrepentent racist. That much was clear from editorials he wrote for National Review from 1957 right up to 1969.
Here's an excerpt from a 1957 piece defending the denial of voting rights to southern blacks entitled "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.”

Those who respect Buckley probably don't know all that much about the geezer.