The Passing of William F. Buckley

I must admit that when I heard the news today my first thought was to wonder what this means for Sam Tanenhaus’s biography, in the works even before he took the reins as the New York Times Book Review editor. Tanenhaus is taking questions at Paper Cuts and when asked directly about where he’s at with the biography replied, “I’m afraid I’ve not completed it yet, and have quite a ways to go on it.”

J. Kingston Pierce puts Buckley’s politics and novel-writing career in good perspective, while Terry Teachout has a heartfelt tribute. Jaime, I think, really nails why Buckley garnered so much respect from all sides:

People also came to like and respect him because in the age of Fox News

and Rush Limbaugh, the defining characteristic of conservative

commentary has been hatred of liberals, a message that liberals are out

to eat your children and turn you gay, and a determination to do the

opposite of whatever liberals want. (This contrarianism is found on the

left, too, but not so much in TV and radio punditry, where liberal

commentators tend to bash their own side a lot.) Buckley, who counted

liberals like John Kenneth Galbraith among his friends and clearly knew

and liked many of the liberals he argued with, has come to be seen as a

throwback to a time when ideas were more important than pissing off

your political opponents.

Many more reactions can be searched for here.