I’m sure even now some New York Times type is tutting that Buckley’s movement has fallen into the hands of vulgar bullies like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter who lack his dash and élan. As it happens, back in 2000 some fellow in the San Francisco Chronicle made exactly that point about a lout called Steyn disfiguring Buckley’s National Review. But, in reality, Bill was, as he would say, the fons et origo of a conservatism that came out swinging — sometimes literally, as in a famous TV encounter of 1968. “As far as I am concerned,” drawled Gore Vidal, “the only crypto-Nazi I can think of is yourself.” “Now listen, you queer,” replied Buckley. “Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.” Indeed. And, if “You Nazi!”/”You queer!” isn’t exactly up there with Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward in the devastating repartee rankings, well, Vidal started it, and Bill’s epithet, unlike Gore’s, at least has the merit of being true. The idea that William F. Buckley represents a civilized conservatism lost to uncouth savages will no doubt become received wisdom in the same way that, upon his death, Ronald Reagan’s success was universally ascribed by the media to an avuncular geniality wholly alien to the vengeful knuckledraggers of the Bush era.