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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008)

Mr. Buckley said that the Iraq War was a mistake.

NEW YORK (AP) - William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right's post-World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82.

His assistant Linda Bridges said Buckley was found dead by his cook at his home in Stamford, Conn. The cause of death was unknown, but he had been ill with emphysema, she said.

Editor, columnist, novelist, debater, TV talk show star of "Firing Line," harpsichordist, transoceanic sailor and even a good-natured loser in a New York mayor's race, Buckley worked at a daunting pace, taking as little as 20 minutes to write a column for his magazine, the National Review.

Yet on the platform, he was all handsome, reptilian languor, flexing his imposing vocabulary ever so slowly, accenting each point with an arched brow or rolling tongue and savoring an opponent's discomfort with wide-eyed glee.

"I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition," he wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 1986. "I asked myself the other day, `Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?' I couldn't think of anyone."

After hearing the news, President Bush remembered Buckley as one of America's finest writers and thinkers.

"He influenced a lot of people, including me," Bush said in the Oval Office. "He captured the imagination of a lot of people."

Bush said he talked with Buckley's son, Christopher, on the phone to express condolences. "Christopher said his dad died at his desk," Bush said. "He said his dad died a peaceful death."

Buckley had for years been withdrawing from public life, starting in 1990 when he stepped down as top editor of the National Review. In December 1999, he closed down "Firing Line" after a 23-year run of guests ranging from Richard Nixon to Allen Ginsberg. "You've got to end sometime and I'd just as soon not die onstage," he told the audience.

"For people of my generation, Bill Buckley was...Read more>>>

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