A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


William F. Buckley & Eisenhower In The Shower
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.
Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen

Today I read in the NY Times of the death of William F. Buckley. Of Buckley I have written at least three times, here, here and here. But I have something small to add and that is about an ambivalent concern I have always had for admiring conservatives while being proud of not being one. It all started with a lifelong admiration for the humour and the oratory of the Republican US Senator Everett Dirksen in the late 50s and 60s when I read Time Magazine without missing one week. I later found a new conservative champion in the no nonsense speaches of Barry Goldwater. He had me in his pocket when I found out that he not only was a fighter jet pilot but a sensitive photographer of the native peoples of his home state of Arizona. My mother, a lifelong liberal, could not understand my abandoning the liberal field. After all, I had championed allegiance to Adlai Stevenson in the playground of the American School in Buenos Aires during his campaign for presidency in 1952 when I was 10. I distinctly remember screaming, " Eisenhower to the shower!"

My only conclusion is that I have admired some politicians (without concern for their political stance) because of their command of their language either in their speaches or in their writing. Anybody who could write nautical books as William F. Buckley did could do no real wrong for me. And then there was that spy novel of his: Spytime - The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton. It has been one of my favourites.


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