Pin It

De-Based Conservative 

by Robert Stokes & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & M & lt;/span & y first conservative hero was William F. Buckley. I was 12 when he launched The National Review in 1955. I have read that journal and Buckley's writing ever since. As I learned more about conservatism, I realized my childhood attachment was part of a much larger movement within my (now graying) generation.

During the cold war, Buckley had the courage to face reality while retaining principle. Questioned about the implications of deterring Soviet expansion with nuclear weapons, he said, "We do what we must do -- if we die, we die."

I don't remember exactly when he said that. But it had particular impact because I was then one of the doers. My little part in the Cold War was that of a junior officer in the U.S. Army Special (nuclear) Ammunition Support Command. We were the other end of the President's "nuclear button."

My list of conservative heroes has shortened since then, especially since 9/11 and the Iraq war. Writers I once respected for independence of thought and principle turned out to be toadies to presidential power, Republican hack politics, and the brainless paranoia and jingoism of the post-9/11 American public. Robert Novak and William Kristol come immediately to mind, but there are many others.

My hopes for conservatism hit rock bottom when presidential political advisor Karl Rove announced (almost casually) that he intended to run George Bush as the "Warrior President." We all remember the sickening campaign that followed, made worse by John Kerry's pandering to the same base public impulses.

Spring is here and my hero is back. I quote William F. Buckley Jr. on the Iraq war.

& lockquote & "Mr. Bush['s] ... challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy ... [He must] ... face the current development as military leaders are expected to. ...They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies ... different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat." & lockquote &

For Buckley's commentary, visit

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Bridging 
the Gap
  • Bridging the Gap

    Bridge Avenue stands as the dividing line between the swanky Kendall Yards and impoverished West Central. Is that about to change?
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Rematch
  • Rematch

    Once again, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Joe Pakootas face off for her seat in Congress. Here are some ways they differ
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Hail to the Chief (Again)
  • Hail to the Chief (Again)

    Craig Meidl again gets the nod from Mayor Condon; plus, a WSU football player in Domino's brawl won't be charged
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Spokane Chiefs Home Opener

Spokane Chiefs Home Opener @ Spokane Arena

Sat., Oct. 1, 7:05 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix

green zone


Readers also liked…

  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • Taxes: Idaho vs. Washington
  • Taxes: Idaho vs. Washington

    How do the two states stack up?
    • Feb 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation