William F. Buckley Jr. , the King of All Conservatives, died this week at 82. He's the man who basically invented the modern conservative pundit platform when he created The National Review in 1955. Those were the days when conservatives were basically of the "small government, fiscal responsibility" variety.
However the world that Buckley came up in, that of Goldwater who beget Reagan, has gone off the rails of the Crazy Train. Buckley was nothing if not a gentleman, but today's neo-cons love to throw barbs and make outrageous statements (i.e. Bill Cunningham, Ann Coulter). Even today certain conservatives are questioning John McCain's CITIZENSHIP.
Coulter is not worth my time to explain how she's just a hate monger. Cincinnati radio host Cunningham (pictured) is impressive in his destructiveness – not only did he put the future Republican nominee in a bad situation by hammering home Barack Obama's middle name when introducing McCain but he's also made anyone who's ever made a living in radio look like a complete tool.
In Robert Semple's obit of Buckley he writes that he "hated most of what the liberals stood for. He didn’t hate them." That's a powerful statement. Every college frosh loves to throw around Voltaire's famous quote about free speech when the issue of uncivilized discourse is brought up. But with every overused example there lies a certain truth. Disagree yes, be disrespectful, no. And there's no way you can convince me that Buckley was the least bit satisfied with his offspring: Limbaugh, Cunningham, Hannity, Fox News, Coulter et al.
Hateful attacks, smears, rumor mongering these are the weapons of today's conservative. Hardly the legacy Mr. Buckley thought he'd leave behind.