"While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for," Buckley wrote. "Eight years of 'conservative' government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case," he also wrote.Now I know what you're thinking, "what would his father say?" But Dad may not have been far behind him, had he lived.
But the conviction hinted in the columns only hardened during the last year of Buckley’s life, when he arrived at a tragic view of the Iraq War. He saw it as a disaster and thought that the conservative movement he had created had in effect committed intellectual suicide by failing to maintain critical distance from the Bush administration.