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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Bill Buckley
To millions of readers, he was William F. Buckley Jr.: book author, magazine publisher, televised debater. To me, he was Bill: friend, ally, trailblazer.
You have to be my age — 121 or so — to remember Frank Meyer in his National Review prime: firm jaw; light-saber intellect; working the phones at 3 a.m. as he pieced together and sorted out the varied stripes and gradations of conservatism.
Political wise guys would have you believe that conservatives these days have but two options: either assisted living in a senior community or a bed in a hospice. We are headed for the ash heap of history, where we will be buried without honors — a footnote, at best, to 20th-century politics.
A bristling group of 25 traditional conservatives are out to protect one of their own in a new push against the "establishment Republicans" of Karl Rove's American Crossroads.
"Sex and God at Yale" is a title that just demands your attention. Sex sells, and when you plug God into the equation, the result is a Shakespearean human struggle played out on Yale's campus -- rightly described by the author as the "cradle of American presidents."
Milton Friedman, the great economist, was one of a handful of intellectuals whose work forms the foundation for the modern conservative movement. He has been dead since 2006, but this week would be his centennial. He lived a long and prodigious life.
For many of us, it was a tale of two Bills. In the late 1960s, when I was hired by Bill Buckley to come to work for National Review, my first assignment was to do a cover profile of New York City Mayor John Lindsay. I was told to go talk to NR's publisher, Bill Rusher, who had intimate knowledge of New York politics.
Tony Blankley was a convinced and convincing conservative. He knew he couldn't convince me, but he relished the debate. In that, he was like Bill Buckley - fierce, erudite, irreverent. Tony could quote Churchill perfectly and from memory, invoke Cicero in almost any context and, at any moment, sculpt a razor-sharp response to the latest issue.
Doubts persist among Republican Party professionals about the quality of this year's presidential field and the ability of the leading candidates to defeat an unpopular Democratic president struggling with a stubbornly bad economy.
Last weekend, I was given a hint as to how an erroneous idea is born and how it takes on a life of its own. I was at Yale University, as a guest of "The William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale." It is run by a group of extremely winning young Yale students who are all admirably conservative. Bill would approve. They all carried themselves like young ladies and young gentlemen. They were confident of their ideas and amused. One of their goals is to keep the name of William F. Buckley Jr. alive and a thorn in the side of Yale's smug liberal establishment.
It is a poignant and historic moment: Conservatives have paused to mourn the death of William A. Rusher, the editor of the National Review for 31 years and an intellectual and ideological stalwart who helped shape the movement for more than five decades. He died Saturday at 87.
Well, you're standing on the stage listening to Beverly Sills' mother coach the great soprano in Russian dialect, and somehow you wind up at a birthday party for her - the mother, that is - and eventually you get to know Beverly very well, to the point of lunching with and receiving correspondence from her, as well as various confidences, and so it goes, apparently, if you're Garry Wills.
MSNBC television host and former congressman Joe Scarborough offers an extended lament and heartfelt corrective wisdom in the wake of Republican failures during the past decade that have been gleefully celebrated as failures of conservatism itself by many left-leaning media outlets.
William F. Buckley Jr. described his son Christopher as a man of "singular warmth and grace" and "tough gentility," qualities much in evidence in this intense, beautifully written and often achingly personal account of his relationship with his parents, who died within a year of each other.
THE CONVICTION OF RICHARD NIXON: THE UNTOLD STORIES OF THE FROST/NIXON INTERVIEWS
In 1977, after the Nixon/Frost interviews — 28 hours of taped material edited down to four 90-minute sessions and seen on prime time television by more than 50 million viewers — Bill Buckley wrote: "It is probably inevitable that no matter how often one takes the pledge not to write again on the desolate and sad subject of Richard Nixon, it is bound to happen: again and again and again. . . . an endless succession of books."
Her set pieces are superb — the banquet at the Great Hall of the People, for instance, where the People's Liberation Army band played "Turkey in the Straw" and "Oh! Susanna" and a flushed Nixon toasted Communist functionaries individually, apparently fueled by a particularly potent variety of Chinese white lightning — a performance that caused Bill Buckley to write a brilliantly scathing critque of Nixon's behavior.