Richard Viguerie: William Buckley Gave Birth to the Conservative Movement and Changed the Course of History
Contact: Bob Sturm, 703-396-6974; after 6 PM Eastern, Cynthia Chambliss, 703-930-5154
MANASSAS, Va., Feb. 27 /Christian Newswire/ -- Richard A. Viguerie, publisher of ConservativeHQ.com, issued the following statement on the life and death of William F. Buckley Jr.:
"Today my hero and role model died. Across the world, many, many others are thinking the same – not just among members of the conservative movement.
"William F. Buckley Jr. was the man who gave birth to the conservative movement, who nurtured and guided it as it grew into a major political force. Now, he has gone to his reward, and he belongs to the ages.
"All those who cherish freedom are forever in Bill Buckley's debt. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan were the political fathers of today's conservative movement, but Buckley was the movement's intellectual father.
"Without Buckley's pioneering work, including his first book, God and Man at Yale (1951), and his launching of the National Review in 1955, there very well may never have been a successful conservative movement. Today, we often take conservative alternative media for granted, but for many years Buckley's program, 'Firing Line,' was almost the only conservative show on TV.
"During a flight from Washington DC's Reagan National Airport to LaGuardia Airport in May 2006, I told Bill Buckley that I wanted him to hear this: that I and every conservative would go to our graves not even beginning to understand the debt we owe him.
"It was Bill Buckley, flying under the radar, who watched over the young conservative movement, providing encouragement to generations of young activists, writers, and politicians. It was Buckley who provided the intellectual foundation for, and drew a bright light onto, the conservative cause.
"And, whenever an extremist would claim falsely to be a conservative, it was Buckley who took the lead in differentiating true conservatives from opportunists and kooks. Buckley guided our movement in ways that will never be known to the public, or even to most conservatives. Often, his was an invisible hand behind conservative success.
"Every conservative – every person who loves freedom – should thank God for William Buckley... and thank God for not giving the Left a William Buckley.
"I am reminded of 2 Samuel 3:38: 'Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day?'"
NOTE TO EDITORS: Viguerie's book America's Right Turn (written with David Franke) details the history of the conservative movement, including information on Buckley's role.
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON RICHARD VIGUERIE
Viguerie's role in the development of grassroots organizing methods such as direct mail is well known. Thanks to Viguerie, it is possible for campaigns and causes to rely on millions of small contributors rather than a few fat cats. That's why John F. Kennedy Jr.'s political magazine, George, called the founding of Viguerie's organization one of the "defining political moments of the 20th Century."
Viguerie used these techniques to help organize the conservative movement, from the 1960s forward, and to change the course of U.S. political history. Barry Goldwater's 1964 communications director, Lee Edwards, wrote in The Washington Times that Viguerie was one of 13 "conservatives of the [20th] century." During this year's coverage of the Iowa caucuses, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann called Viguerie "one of either the greats or the demons, depending on your point of view of the conservative movement." Alexander Cockburn of The Nation recently called him "one of the creators of the modern conservative movement." Last week, the Copley News Service called him an "icon of the Republican right."
He is the author of several books, including Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause (Bonus Books, 2006).