“There will be plenty of eulogies from people who knew William F. Buckley better than I did — and certainly from those who agreed with him more than I did,” Time‘s Joe Klein has written. “But he was an honest man, an actual conservative — who, in the end, was quietly appalled by George W. Bush’s radicalism, in Iraq and when it came to the federal budget.
“He was a lovely writer, of course. His book, The Unmaking of a Mayor, an account of his own wry run for mayor of New York in 1965, is not only hilarious but also an early — and accurate — critique of the political correctness, unionized sclerosis and wasteful bureaucracy that almost killed the world’s greatest city in the 1960s and 1970s. He was an excellent man. My condolences to all the Buckleys.”
Consider this Charlie Rose retrospective to get a measure of the man. Buckley wasn’t as earthy or plain-spoken as Barry Goldwater, whose rep was sharply elevated by Mr. Conservative, the HBO doc that ran last year, but his disdain of the Bushies certainly made him seem a lot more appealing than he did 40 years ago when he lost his cool and physically threatened Gore Vidal during an on-air debate during the Democratic National Convention.