The “War on Women.” “The Year of the Woman.” “Sisterhood is beautiful.” “Woman power.” The Left thinks it owns femininity — or if not femininity, then the assertive, confident, authoritative style of womanhood supposedly embodied by the likes of Nancy Pelosi.
Maybe one of the reasons my head was never turned by that kind of appeal was that I had the privilege to know (in addition to my mother who had earned a Ph. D. before feminism supposedly paved the way) Priscilla Buckley: foreign correspondent, editor, spy, golfer, hunter, raconteur, patriot, and wonderful friend. For decades, as she presided over National Review and its often fractious and eccentric cast of characters, Priscilla demonstrated what it meant to be a professional woman with tremendous skills, and also a most gracious and delightful lady.
Did I say golfer? I don’t mean the weekend, casual type. In one of her charming memoirs she records playing hooky from the CIA and sneaking off to enter a major tournament in Washington, D.C. Her absence might never have been noticed by her boss, except that she won!
As she golfed, so she wrote. Her books should be assigned in English classes for grace, precision, and liveliness. She was my dear friend, mentor, and inspiration. It is no exaggeration to say that Priscilla was everything a woman, a person, should be. RIP.
— Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist.
Priscilla and I served together for seven years on President Reagan’s U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. We met monthly in Washington, and we travelled to Guantanamo (before its current fame), to Berlin (before the Wall came down), to China (before it was popular), and elsewhere. Her insights, her unfailing good humor, and her ability to talk with kings and commoners alike, was an inspiration to all of us. Mostly, her unwavering commitment to the principles of the free society and to the republic kept us all on the straight and narrow.
— Ed Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation.
WILLIAM F. GAVIN
In 1960, when I was a college student, at Jersey City State College, she picked out my unsolicited satirical article from the slush pile, read it, liked it, and sent me a brief letter saying she would publish it. My first sale (I think the going NR rate was $25). You have no idea — or maybe you do — what that letter meant to me. My dream had come true. I was soon to be a published writer. True, not yet an “author.” But a writer for National Review, which had by then become my school away from school. And I owed it all to Priscilla, a woman I had never met.
“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive and conservative (even if you weren’t quite certain yet what that meant)/ But to be young — and have your first piece published in the best magazine in the world — was very heaven!” (What Wordsworth would have written had he known better).
Twelve years later I went to work with the sainted junior senator from New York. God bless Jim in this, his latest trial. And God bless Priscilla who was there when NR was still a dream and, through the decades, helped to make it what it is today. Pioneer! O pioneer!
— William F. Gavin is author of Speechwright and a former assistant to Senator James L. Buckley.