Anyone who is a conservative -- especially a conservative writer (or even blogger) -- owes tremendous a debt of gratitude to William F. Buckley. He made it cool to be a conservative, and in the modern age, he made it possible to be both an intellecutal -- and a conservative.
Here's what Morton Blackwell has said about him:
Those who came of age politically in the 1980s or later can hardly comprehend the influence Bill Buckley had on the modern conservative movement.
He was, by far, the most attractive and thrilling conservative intellect for decades, and more than equal in debate to any liberal intellectual, as we learned on many occasions. Conservative students of my generation, confronted with an overwhelming liberal (and often unbearably smug) faculty, were greatly reassured by the knowledge that Buckley could smash the arguments of anyone on the liberal side ...