Would Buckley be laughing nowadays?
That was great! How did you find it?
Twitter does tend to lead one to fritter their time, but sometimes a gem is unearthed.
The source for this was http://driftglass.blogspot.com/. I think you’ll find there a worthy diversion now and then. I bet that were he still with us that Buckley would tout that Conservatism cannot fail, but that it has been failed by false practitioners. Sort of like rcocean claims!
Oh, yes, I know Driftglass and Blue Gal. Nice couple.
Yes, that was entertaining.
Less funny, but there are a number of old Firing Lines (or bits and pieces thereof) on YouTube. I almost posted one with Saul Alinsky, but it cut off before they got into the good stuff. Buckley’s overrated these days (there was a pretty good discussion of him at TNC’s blog a few days or so ago), but there are positives about him and his show that seem to be lacking in the conservative world today, one of which is a willingness to actually talk to people of other political views in a format in which they can express their ideas.
He’s probably overrated in that conservatives are grasping for legitimacy in light of their typical inconsistent and suspect modus operandi. So they’ve put him on a pedestal that is rather flimsy upon close inspection. In the TNC comments it was interesting to see that a consensus formed about his technique of avoiding direct rebuttal and going for the rhetorical flourish instead. It’s quite entertaining but really raises the issue of the depth of his commitment to conservative principles . Do you think rcocean would concede that Buckley is a true conservative?
As for his willingness to engage with oppositional ideas; that’s what bhtv claims to try to do. It’s easier said than done. Buckley didn’t always succeed as much as his reputation suggested. In that most interlocutors try to score decisive points rather than attempt to find common ground or delineate the differences. Perhaps Don Zeko the debate aficionado is in range to chime in? The talking points are almost predetermined and offered on cue.
I have the whole Saul Alinsky episode, and need to watch and review it. The beginning seems as if he’s preparing for an ambush, but Alinsky looks as if he’s perfectly comfortable with that and ready for it. The thing that strikes me now, though, is that he is willing to have Alinsky on and let him speak his piece, even if Buckley isn’t always fair in response, in a way that legitimizes him. That seems quite different than using him as a boogeyman as done today, although different times may be as much the reason for that as anything else.
I do think that the elitism that Buckley represents is negative in some ways, but also lends itself to more willingness to exchange ideas with the left — what was then the liberal and left elites, anyway — than we get now, where the idea seems to be to drown out anything that might seem to be an exchange of ideas with cultural war.
Culture war was important in the Buckley Republican Party, obviously (see Nixon, etc., and Buckley’s own response to civil rights), but there seems to have been a difference. I admit that a good bit of this may be simply that it’s in the past.
Re rcocean, I suspect he wouldn’t have liked Buckley much. He’s too openly an elitist and rcocean is nothing if not a pure cultural conservative (Reagan Dem type, probably), who likes to pretend like there’s some conflict between elitism and conservatism. Plus, he had too many libertarian leanings — I don’t see rcocean liking Goldwater, although perhaps the Cold War would have made different bedfellows.
I thought Buckley’s show got better and more even-handed during its Michael Kinsley period, after Buckley changed the show’s format. Prior to that time, I always felt that Buckley avoided doing one-on-one interviews with liberals who could stand up to him, that he chose relatively weak targets, essentially. Gore Vidal does not fit into this characterization, but their relationship became very strained.
That was interesting. My favorite aspects. 1.) Using “neck” as a verb? I feel like I’m watching Mad Men! 2.) LBJ portrayed by the Right as Socialist (worst prez ever!) Seems like a pattern that might be repeated once (Carter) or twice (Clinton) or even thrice (Kenyan Overlord.) It’s especially rich, given that aside for Vietnam, LBJ gets one of the best scorecards from historians nowadays. But then again, it’s because of legislative achievement (big “no no” to WFB) most notably Civil Rights Amendment. 3.) Buckley predicts that Israel/Palestine situation will “tranquilize” eventually. Well, it’s only been half a century, so it’s still too early to judge. And finally, we see the old “they’re afraid to have honest debate” charge for why liberals don’t go on a conservative tv show. The more things change…
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