William F. Buckley

'Tis indeed the season to be jolly, a discipline that requires a single abstinence, which is any thought given to Iraq. It is a good time to encourage lurking thoughts or diversions that can be important but are not driven by the day's tides.

The "Critics' Choice" merchandiser for movies offers 1,000 video and DVD selections, touching on everything. Including -- not to say saturated by -- explorations as gross as "The West Wing." You can have the whole of all seven seasons -- 45 DVDs -- which can be viewed before Christmas, though permitting you no time left over for Santa Claus. One hundred and twelve hours for $254.96.

I stared down sadly at "Edward R. Murrow: The Best of 'Person to Person,'" 7 hours, $33.96. The jacket photo is the famous one: Ed is smiling, a lighted cigarette in hand. Some will recall last year's "Good Night, and Good Luck," in which one saw, primarily, smoke -- Ed's, and that of his team. You get the crazy idea, Are we collecting carcinogenic materials that led to Murrow's death?

Moving on, a few weeks ago I recorded in this space that The New York Times had listed 88 percent of the Jewish vote as going for Democratic candidates on Nov. 7. Now Jason Maoz, senior editor of The Jewish Press, is prompted to recall that "no fewer than seven Jews ... were members of William F. Buckley's inner circle when Buckley launched National Review, his groundbreaking conservative magazine, in 1955. ... It remained for the next generation of Jewish conservatives -- or more precisely those one-time liberal Democrats like Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol who in the 1970s became known as neoconservatives (and whose political heirs would reach their pinnacle of power and influence during George W. Bush's first term as president) -- to bring a more affirmative Jewishness to their conservative politics." Though the preponderant Democratic bias among Jewish voters at large remains unexplained.

William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr. is editor-at-large of National Review, the prolific author of Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography.

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