William F. Buckley, Jr. is certainly not beyond criticism and I think there is a case to be made that the modern American conservative movement did not succeed (or, more optimistically, has not yet succeeded) in accomplishing its policy goals to the same extent as New Deal liberalism. But this Timothy Noah column about Buckley, besides being graceless, overstates the case quite a bit. Noah appears to suggest that rolling back the New Deal and stopping the civil rights movement were bigger conservative/Buckleyite goals than winning the Cold War, ending 1970s stagflation or stopping the postwar slide to European-style social democracy.
Now why would he frame the issue in this manner? Partly because it makes it easier to portray conservatives as racist crypto-fascists. And partly because it downplays conservatism's biggest successes ("by the time Buckley's man Ronald Reagan entered the White House... communism was dying of natural causes").
Or maybe Noah just wrote too fast, as he did when he penned this sentence: "Shortly before he died, David Frum, a National Review writer, published a book that called for a carbon tax and promoted government action to combat obesity." The "he" must be Buckley, since Frum wrote Dead Right but isn't dead. Right?