William Buckley belonged to that almost extinct species, people I could get mad at.
It always puzzles me when people get personally mad at Bush or some other contemporary figure. It is like kicking a washing machine. These are totally plastic people, and we know where every utterance of every public figure today comes from.
Buckley INVENTED respectable conservatism. Almost everything he said since 1970 was pure plastic. Every non-liberal spokesman today is a pure plastic Buckley.
I am incapable of getting really mad at a non-liberal public figure in exactly the same way I am incapable of getting personally involved with a sewing machine. I could have gotten mad at Singer, but if I got upset at the sins of sewing machine, I’d turn myself in for treatment.
Unlike Buckley, today’s plastic conservative deals with all disagreement the way his liberal masters do, he screams for a lynching. I upset Buckley terribly. I insulted him in my first books so much that his close friend William Rusher had to except himself from what I said in his Foreword to that book.
But the point is that Buckley was Rusher’s employer. He did not get mad at him for doing that Foreword. He published a review of that book in National review, his wholly owned publication, called “Read This One!” Then he published a front page article attacking me in National Review, cartooning me and making Pat Buchanan look like a minor figure behind the Ultimate Villain Whitaker.
Liberals are nice about allowing respectable conservatives to attack them, but conservatives earn that by leading the lynch mob against people like me.
That never occurred to Buckley.
With his death, I am left with no living on whom to vent my fury. A man can get mad at the puppeteer, but nothing is quite as unsatisfying as yelling at the puppets.