James L. Buckley, Iconic Conservative Senator, Passes Away at 100 in Liberal New York

By | August 19, 2023

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death – Obituary News : James L. Buckley, a conservative politician from Connecticut who made waves in the 1970s by winning a United States Senate seat on the Conservative Party line, has passed away at the age of 100. Buckley’s death, which occurred in Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, was a result of complications from a fall, according to his nephew Christopher Buckley, a well-known author and political satirist.

Buckley’s victory in 1970 was particularly notable because he became the first third-party candidate to secure a seat in the Senate since 1940. His win was against the odds, as he invaded the Democratic and liberal Republican strongholds in New York. However, despite his initial success, Buckley only served one term, from 1971 to 1977, and never won another election, despite efforts to draft him for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976.

However, Buckley’s political career was not over. President Ronald Reagan brought him back into public life by appointing him to a State Department post in 1981. He was later named president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in 1982. In 1985, President Reagan appointed him to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he served as a federal judge for 15 years.

Born into a wealthy family, with his father being an oil tycoon, James Buckley did not possess the same eloquence and rhetorical flair as his younger brother, William F. Buckley Jr., a well-known conservative author and commentator. However, he possessed other qualities that resonated with voters, including his military service in World War II and his reputation as a patient and tenacious voice during a tumultuous era of racial violence, campus unrest, and protests against the Vietnam War.

Buckley’s opponents in the 1970 election were Representative Richard L. Ottinger, a three-term Democratic congressman from Westchester County, and the incumbent Republican-Liberal, Senator Charles E. Goodell. Both Ottinger and Goodell opposed the Vietnam War, making Buckley the candidate who supported President Richard M. Nixon and emphasized “middle-class values.”

Despite sounding like a carpetbagging ideologue to many New Yorkers, Buckley’s attractive qualities, such as his athleticism, charm, and wit, won over voters. On Election Day, he secured a surprising victory with a 38.7 percent plurality, as Ottinger and Goodell split the liberal vote.

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In the Senate, Buckley aligned with the Republicans and generally supported the Nixon administration. However, he did voice alarm when Nixon announced overtures to Communist China. When the Watergate scandal engulfed the presidency, Buckley publicly urged Nixon to resign.

Although he lost a re-election bid to a Democrat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in 1976, Buckley made another attempt at a Senate seat in 1980, this time running as a Republican. However, he was defeated by another Democrat, Christopher J. Dodd. This marked the end of his political career.

Born in Manhattan on March 9, 1923, James Lane Buckley was the fourth of 10 children. He attended Yale University and Yale Law School. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Buckley practiced law in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1953, he married Ann Frances Cooley, and they had six children together. Buckley joined the family business, the Catawba Corporation, in 1953, where he traveled the world and became fluent in French and Spanish.

In addition to his political career, Buckley was known for his love of nature and bird-watching. He even considered pursuing ornithology as a profession. He went on two scientific expeditions to the Arctic. Buckley also wrote several books, including a memoir and reflections on politics, liberty, and the state.

James L. Buckley leaves behind a lasting legacy as a conservative politician who defied the odds and made his mark in the political arena. His achievements and contributions will be remembered by those who admired his pragmatic approach to conservatism and his commitment to public service..

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