Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Monday, October 26, 2009

Where are you Bill Buckley?

I was watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart the other day and, in between laughs, was forced, when confronted with witty and intelligent liberal satire, to bemoan the sad state of affairs when it comes to witty, intelligent conservative satire.

As a conservative (small c) with a thirst for pithy, political discourse I think I am in my rights to ask, "Where are you Bill Buckley when we need you?" Buckley, who died last year was the "Godfather of Modern Conservatism". His mind was razor sharp and he used it to turn the tide of liberal thought in this country. He did it with charm, humor, and a little twinkle in his eye that seemed to say, "When I'm done embarrassing you, I'd like to buy you a drink."

But where are the intelligent voices on the right these days? I know they are out there but they tend to get drowned out by the bombastic ravings of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the like. Now don't get me wrong, I am amused when I watch Beck or listen to Limbaugh. I can even enjoy the same way I can enjoy a WWF wrestling match for a few minutes; but I would never call it a sport.

It is what it is...lowbrow entertainment. They will continue to feed the piranha that swirl beneath them awaiting their next frenzied feeding, but will never create a conservative shift in the cultural arena in the way Buckley could.

To put it in a nut-shell...Bill Buckley made it hip and cool to be conservative in way that the current host of talking heads could never do.

But don't dispair, there are some bright lights out on the horizon but you do have to look for them:

Dennis Miller: I've loved Dennis since the 80's when he did Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. I used to go see him as well in the comedy club circuit and have always enjoyed his clever word play. Unfortunately he is more libertarian than conservative, but in a desert, beggers can't be choosers. I love listening to him anyway. Lately he has camped out on FOX News and my advice to him is that I know he has to pay the bills...but aim higher. Check him out at:

Dennis Prager: Another very smart Dennis. Dennis Prager hosts a syndicated morning radio show out of Los Angeles. I used to catch it in Denver and loved it. I may have to pay up for his podcasts as I can't listen to the live broadcast anymore here in China.

Joe Scarsborough: Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarsborough hosts "Morning Joe" on MSNBC and is the token conservative on that rather interesting little cable news channel. I'm able to catch the Itunes podcasts here and I always love his perspective on political and cultural situations. If all conservatives were like Joe the Republican Party wouldn't be in the mess they are in.

Dinesh D'Souza: Recently a conservative friend who was citing the positive qualities of Rush Limbaugh to me asked who Dinesh D'Souza was when I suggested he give one of his books a try. The fact that he knew Rush but didn't know Dinesh shows you the uphill battle conservatives with a brain are fighting. Dinesh is an American of Indian descent who is primarily a writer but is also featured regularly on the lecture circuit. I'm currently reading his book, Letters to a Young Conservative which is outstanding. I suggest you read one of his books or check out the many entries he has on Youtube.

Now I don't endorse every position these four gentlemen take and it is certainly not meant to be an exhaustive list BUT it should get you started. None of them can replace the great Bill Buckley, but we can try to emulate the culture of wit, reason, and humor he brought to the conservative argument.


Michael G. said...

I still recommend Mark Levin, he is a true intellectual. While he can get loud, his analysis is brilliant. He never behaves like an idiot; he can't stand idiots and openly mocks them. His writing is especially sharp and to the point.

For example, carefully listen to ALL of 1:36 thru 30:25:

Michael G. said...

Right click & save it here

Redlefty said...

I do like the Dennises you mentioned, but D'Souza's massive ego seems to always turn me off. Hits a little too close to home to the way I used to treat people outside my belief system.

Bob said...

Totally agree about Buckley. He could nail a liberal to the wall and the liberal would not even know it. Of course that probably says something about liberals in general . . . ;-)

Steve H. said...

Michael G.: I listened to the podcast. Very informative. I must admit when you first recommended him I downloaded a couple podcasts and listened to them in the car. Levin spent a lot of time trashing Speaker Pelosi (of which I'm no fan mind you) but over a lot of silly stuff like her looks and thought, "Na". First impressions...This was much better.

Michael (Redlefty): I'm sure D'Souza has a bit of an ego, but I never felt it was out of control or that he treated people rudely. I saw him speak at the University of Colorado and he was very gracious even to students who were trying to ridicule him.

Mouse Wife said...

Scarborough quotes Buckley quite often in his book The Last Best Hope. I imagine he was a source of inspiration to him.