So Long, Skipper

Sad to report that one of my favorite political commentators, the legendary William F. Buckley, Jr., passed away earlier today. He passed away while at work, and I suspect he would have liked to have gone out that way, doing what he loved.

RIP William F. Buckley

William F Buckley Jr

1925-2008

Mr. Buckley had a long and wonderful career, with his thoughtful advocacy for conservative principles. He founded National Review in 1955, a political journal that has been at the vanguard of mainstream conservative throught.

A complete account of his long career is beyond the scope of The Silver State Chronicles, so I’ll just direct readers to National Review’s website, which will no doubt have a very thorough analysis of his life.

That being said, there are some real standout moments in his career I will briefly mention. He ran for the mayor’s office of New York City back in 1965. challenging incumbent Republican/Independent John Lindsay along with famed NYC bureaucrat Abe Beame. In one of my favorite moments in American politics, he was asked what he would do first were he to win the race, and he responded “demand a recount!”

But he was ahead of his time in many ways. In that race he proposed charging a fee for autos entering midtown during business hours, and a network of bicycle lanes to ease urban congestion. Both proposals have found their way into the debate in the 21st Century.

Buckley appeared in a series of televised debates with Gore Vidal during the 1968 Democratic Party convention. In their penultimate debate on August 22 of that year, the two disagreed over the actions of the Chicago police and the protesters at the ongoing Democratic Convention in Chicago.

At one point Vidal called Buckley a “proto- or crypto-Nazi,” to which Buckley replied, “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I will sock you in your goddamn face, and you will stay plastered.”  Haha!

He hosted the excellent television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and penned a nationally syndicated newspaper column into 2008.

Going down William F Buckley, Jr.’s memory lane is indeed a treat! So long, skipper! Thanks for all your contributions to the political discourse over the decades.

You shall be missed.

VV