I understood Hart to be talking about some of the cookie-cutter Republican cheerleaders who are like Ann Coulter without the sense of humor, though I don’t think that description really applies to Rush. I agreed with some things in the article, disagreed with others, and mostly found it an engaging remembrance of Buckley written by a man disenchanted about having ended up on the minority side of some intra-conservative debates. It’s a position with which I have some familiarity.
As much as I love Reagan, I tend toward the gloomy side of conservatism myself rather than the sunny, optimistic side. So yes, as I see leftward trends in American politics, an overidentification of conservatism with the electoral interests of the Republican Party, and so many conservatives seemingly resigned to government growth, it’s hard not to feel a little gloomy. I take a certain amount of comfort in the fact that when Whittaker Chambers became a man of the right, he was convinced he was converting from the winning to the losing side. Where is the Soviet Union now?
I took no offense at Hart’s article. The jury is still out on us youngsters. As for Buckley’s sense of what the conservative movement is, I think this bit by Michael Brendan Dougherty puts it well.