Politics & Policy

R.I.P. Reid Buckley

A brilliant man and a class act

I was very saddened by the news of the passing of Reid Buckley, whom I had the privilege of meeting and befriending when attending his legendary Buckley School of Public Speaking a number of years ago.

Like his more famous brother, Bill, Reid was a consummate communicator, a prolific author and public speaker, and a championship debater. Like Bill, he was known for devouring liberals for sport in his debating days.

I learned of Reid’s school when my friend, Brent Bozell, recommended it to me. I attended the school and was impressed with it in every respect.

Through years of publicly debating liberals, Reid honed his skills as a debater and became an enthusiastic evangelist of the formula he developed to help people become effective communicators. His training took place over a few short days, but it was as power packed as any instruction I’ve ever received. We not only had to put in long hours at the school, but he also loaded us up with homework for our nighttime pleasure.

#ad#He was a hands-on teacher who delighted in his trade and in imparting his skills to his students, from untrained neophytes to leaders of major corporations. He personally evaluated and critiqued every student and provided them detailed notes on their strengths and weaknesses, which were enormously instructive and practical. He also surrounded himself with extraordinarily competent and cheerful employees, who made his school all the more valuable and enjoyable.

Reid was full of personality, wit, and charm. As serious as he was about his craft and in imparting his technique, he always made it fun. He sometimes came to class, which I attended in the dead heat of summer, in shorts. He was invested in each and every one of his students, fiercely committed to making them better communicators. He sincerely believed that creating better communicators would lead to a better society.

Also like his brother Bill, Reid was a passionate conservative with a formidable intellect. He wrote books on the art of communication, on his family, and on American culture and politics, several of which I own and have read — to my great profit. He was a fierce advocate of traditional values and was loyal to the core, especially to his family.

His love and admiration for brother Bill — and his keen sense of humor — were on full display when he included among his tips for becoming better writers that we should intimately familiarize ourselves with (and emulate) anything and everything Bill had written. He was openly proud of Bill’s accomplishments, including National Review, and unapologetically beamed about his other siblings as well.

It wouldn’t be honest for me to pretend that I knew Reid well, but I knew him well enough to develop great respect and affection for him. I knew him well enough to know that he was a man of the highest integrity and a man who obviously loved life.

It was my great privilege to have met Reid Buckley. What a gentleman and a class act he was. May he rest in peace.

— David Limbaugh is an attorney and author of The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama’s War on the Republic, among other books.

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