A lot of wit, wisdom and political theater. As for Vidal, I find him a fascinating character, first-rate essayist, second-rate writer (A Thirsty Evil?), but I don’t follow his thinking to his grimmer vision of America, the empire. He has been condemning it for well over 40 years now, and he’s still around (here’s the Nation’s bio of him, which in the best sense, I wonder if he didn’t write himself).
Maybe being a hero to some is better than a leader to all.
Addition: The debate gets heated. Really heated.
Another Addition: Buckley will be missed. One deeper dispute between the two men stems from Vidal’s adherence to certain principles (I will call them aesthetic and politically left), which allow him to illuminate the plight of the poor and the racial divide, as well as observing (too cynically for me) the nature of politics. What I admire in Buckley is that he, perhaps through compassion though more through honor and nationalistic pride, stands for the troops in Vietnam and the political realities this created.