About Chris McCoy's cover story, "Best of Enemies" ...
Thanks for a good article. Having known Mr. Buckley and written at length about him, I can assure you that this infamous moment with Vidal was highly uncharacteristic. In fact, he had great friendships with many of the leading liberal/left-thinkers of the era: John Kenneth Galbraith, Murray Kempton, Norman Mailer, Al Lowenstein, etc.
Vidal, on the other hand, managed to alienate seemingly everyone with whom he engaged, including Mailer, Podhoretz, Truman Capote, and Robert Kennedy. I look forward to the film, but the reality is that Buckley set the standard for civil discourse for decades, but for his exchanges with Vidal.
About Susan Wilson's column, "Gen X Marks the Spot" ...
Generation X is considered to be anyone born between 1962 — sometimes 1961 — and 1981.
I've heard 1964 ended the baby boom. So I've considered myself a boomer for years. You're messing with my claim to curmudgeonliness.
About Bruce VanWyngarden's column, "Master Debaters, Near and Far" ...
I like the Trumpster being in the midst of the current slate of GOP presidential candidates. There's never a dull moment with Trump's politically unorthodox behavior and tactics he uses against the cowering blue-blood establishment — milquetoast Republicans and the in-the-Democrats'-back-pocket media.
I think there's deep resentment of the political scum in Washington, who have been governing over the last nine years or so against the will of the majority of Americans. Trump's ever-rising poll numbers are indicative of their angst and disgust. The more Trump rants about illegal aliens, closing our borders, Marx-Obamacare, tax rates and structures, foreign enemies, the higher his numbers.
The RNC, DNC, and media have to be scratching their heads about Trump's poll numbers. None of their playbooks have instructions on how to deal with non-politicians like him. Especially ones worth $10 billion.
Will Trump make it to the White House? Not likely. But candidates are definitely paying close attention to Trump — his poll numbers and his tactics — and they're taking notes. Needless to say, the next 14 months of American politics should be interesting and entertaining.
Abortion was certainly a major topic during the recent Republican debates. There were passionate denunciations of abortion made by most of the candidates. But I think much hypocrisy is shown by these "pro-life" candidates who are so concerned with protecting unborn life but who seem to lack compassion for people after they are born. The candidates would all repeal Obamacare and offer no plan to help the 50 million people who would then lack access to health care. The suffering of millions of Americans and the deaths of thousands of others each year because they lack health coverage does not seem to be a problem for them. These candidates and other conservatives look at the poor as deadbeats waiting for government handouts, when the overwhelming majority of poor people work and pay taxes. Poor people struggle, because they are paid wages a person cannot live on. Sister Joan Chittister recently said a person can be against abortion but not deserve to be called "pro-life," because they do not care about a child after it is born. She said instead of being truly pro-life that these people are really just pro-birth. I would characterize all Republican presidential candidates as pro-birth, not pro-life.
The fact that Trump can rise in the polls after supporting a single-payer heath-care system at the RNC debate ought to establish once and for all that the Republican base is driven more by animus than by any concern for policy. He can run to the left of Bernie Sanders if he wants, as long as he keeps saying mean things about women and minorities.