William F. Buckley Jr.

A significant milestone in the history of American conservatism passed largely unnoticed last month: the fiftieth anniversary of William F. Buckley Jr.’s editorial attack on Robert Welch, the head of the John Birch Society. Buckley’s successful effort to read the conspiracy-minded anti-Communist organization out of the conservative movement deserves to be remembered by the Republican Party. Indeed, the fact that today’s GOP has paid the anniversary little heed is a telling indictment of a party gone seriously astray.

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Paul Goodman Changed My Life Le Havre Young Goethe In Love A familiar shock arrived with a documentary called Paul Goodman Changed My Life. (He touched my life, but he didn’t really change it.) The shock was in realizing yet again that a figure once important is now virtually forgotten. In the middle of the last century, Goodman was very widely recognized as a kind of polymath critic. His sharp comments on a surprising range of topics, his analytical writings on education, politics, city planning, psychology, meant much to many.

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It was not so long ago that George W. Bush seemed to embody the future of conservatism. He had entered office amid doubts about his rightful place there, but pressed ahead nonetheless with grand ambitions, conducting an ideologically potent foreign war while also promising much at home. Which led some to wonder: Was this lavish spender really a conservative? Bush’s champions rushed in to explain.

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Norman Podhoretz has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, "In Defense Of Sarah Palin," and it's every bit as entertaining as one might hope. The heart of Podhoretz's argument rests upon eliding the distinction between a necessary and a sufficient condition: True, she seems to know very little about international affairs, but expertise in this area is no guarantee of wise leadership.

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The Republican Obama

Politicians who hold or aspire to high office have learned the hard way (e.g  Trent Lott speaking at Strom Thurmond’s birthday party) that when you speak to a select group of loyalists in these viral times, you are also addressing a national audience, including people who would like nothing better than to latch onto some gaffe or fringe conviction.

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Conservatism Is Dead

An intellectual autopsy of the movement.

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The Remnant

In the last years of his life, William F. Buckley Jr., who died on February 27 at the age of 82, broke with many of his fellow conservatives by pronouncing the Iraq war a failure and calling for an end to the embargo on Cuba. He even expressed doubt as to whether George W. Bush is really a conservative—and he asked the same about neoconservatives. To Buckley's liberal admirers, these sentiments suggested that the godfather of the Right had, like Barry Goldwater, crept toward the center in his old age.

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William F. Buckley Jr. passed away earlier today. Almost a year ago, Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of The New York Times Book Review, wrote a long and thoughtful piece about the great conservative in his twilight years, with a particular focus on the Iraq war. The war that has unhinged so many has curiously revitalized Buckley, not as the administration's most eloquent defender but as perhaps its most forceful in-house critic.

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William F. Buckley Jr. died this morning at the age of 82.  While liberalism was his favorite target, liberals could not find a more gracious intellectual opponent than WFB. He disarmed even the most radical activists.

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MARCH 9, 2006, was a bad day for the White House. Weeks before, Claude Allen, the president’s chief domestic policy adviser, had resigned, saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family. Then, on March 9, Allen was charged with having stolen some $5,000 worth of merchandise from Washington-area department stores during a months-long shoplifting spree.

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