I grew up watching Buckley, and I have to admit there was something appealing about how strongly he cut against the grain of conventional political wisdom of the time. He spoke and argued well and was extremely charismatic, which often masked how impoverished his ideology was.
I remember (hazily) the arguments between Buckley and Gore Vidal on television during the 68 convention, and how charged and relevant they seemed. Watching the intellectually shiftless hackery of Tim Russert and Brian Williams last night I thought "Jesus, have we become this stupid?"
And FWIW, although he didn’t write it he popularized the phrase "immanentize the eschaton," so condolences to Duncan.
Update: Rick Perlstein:
My friend just passed away at the age of 82. He was a good and decent man. He knew exactly what my politics were about–he knew I was an implacable ideological adversary–yet he offered his friendship to me nonetheless. He did the honor of respecting his ideological adversaries, without covering up the adversarial nature of the relationship in false bonhommie. A remarkable quality, all too rare in an era of the false fetishization of "post-partisanship" and Broderism and go-along-to-get-along. He was friends with those he fought. He fought with friends. These are the highest civic ideals to which an American patriot can aspire.
The whole piece is quite moving.