William F. Buckley, Jr.

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William F. Buckley Jr. was the conservative movement in America before Ronald Reagan brought it to power — before George W. Bush added “compassionate” as a prefix to the ism, which Buckley would have scorned as pandering.

He was the scourge of the public sector who became a household presence through public television: the sesquipedalian reactionary with a common touch nonetheless and a personal charm that seemed to melt all his political enemies except perhaps Gore Vidal.

A successful political revolutionary in semi-retirement has lots to do for an encore: Buckley has had spy novels and religious confessions to write, issues to rethink around the Cold War and McCarthyism — in which he was a zealous player.

Is it too late, you wonder, for William F. Buckley to give some direction and style, even ideas perhaps, to his Republican heirs in the 2000 campaign?
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


William F. Buckley, Jr.