Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Russert Salutes WFB at Notre Dame

From Bob Costa via Phi Beta Cons at NRO:
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tim Russert, Washington bureau chief of NBC News and moderator of Meet the Press, described the late William F. Buckley Jr. as an “extraordinary, complicated, intelligent, singular force in American life” on Monday in a lecture at the University of Notre Dame honoring late New York Times reporter Walter W. “Red” Smith. Russert added “I think that when we find that, we should salute it.”

Russert shared personal anecdotes of Buckley during the audience’s question period following his address on American journalism in front of over 500 students and faculty members.

"It was extraordinary talking to him," said Russert, recalling that he sat near Buckley at past social functions, including the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York.

At the dinner table, Buckley “was someone who did not engage in long conversation,” said Russert, before noting that the late National Review editor “was the quintessential observer” who could “come back and just say something that was so spot on.”

Russert also addressed what he sees as a common simplification of Buckley’s work and thought.

"I realized the suggestion that, well, he was a conservative writer," intoned Russert, "he was far more than that."

"He was someone who was a conservative and proud of it,” said Russert, “who understood the rhythms and changes in history — that there was a race worth running in 1964 with Barry Goldwater that would probably be unsuccessful but it would lay the groundwork for a successive conservative takeover of the Republican Party, and the White House, to wit Ronald Reagan — and he was right."
Read the rest.

I was at the event last night -- very well attended with a lot of older folks who I'm guessing were from town. There were lots of students there that I recognized, however, and I was surprised to see so many groups represented. Russert, who gave the keynote at Commencement 2002, seems to genuinely enjoy being at Notre Dame, even though (as he mentioned) his son is attending Boston College.

1 comment:

Joe Lindsley said...

Of course, Russert still has to explain away Buckley's conservatism, as though it were some benign quark, attachment, or disfigurement. Were WFB a liberal (or, say, were Russert speaking about Arthur Schlesinger Jr.), I'm sure he would find no need to say, "He was proud of being a liberal, true, but he was more than just a liberal...," etc.

Thoughts?