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.