Electile Dysfunction: The 50th Anniversary Of WFB’s Failed Mayoral Race


Last week the National Review posted a story in honor of the 50th anniversary of William F. Buckley’s failed run for mayor of New York. In the photo above, it looks like he’s pulling one out of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s playbook, looking artistocratically bored while his opponent speaks. It’s not hard to imagine him closing his eyes and feigning to snore.

His opponent, John Lindsay, was the subject of a post in Ivy Style’s first year.

Buckley never expected to win, and didn’t. Here’s a terse synopsis via Wikipedia:

In 1965, Buckley ran for mayor of New York City as the candidate for the new Conservative Party. He ran to restore momentum to the conservative cause in the wake of Goldwater’s defeat. He tried to take votes away from the relatively liberal Republican candidate and fellow Yale alumnus John Lindsay, who later became a Democrat. Buckley did not expect to win; indeed, when asked what he would do if he won the race, Buckley responded, “Demand a recount.” And used an unusual campaign style; during one televised debate with Lindsay, Buckley declined to use his allotted rebuttal time and instead replied, “I am satisfied to sit back and contemplate my own former eloquence.”

To relieve traffic congestion, Buckley proposed charging cars a fee to enter the central city, and a network of bike lanes. He opposed a civilian review board for the New York Police Department, which Lindsay had recently introduced to control police corruption and install community policing. Buckley finished third with 13.4% of the vote, possibly having inadvertently aided Lindsay’s election by instead taking votes from Democratic candidate Abe Beame.

And here’s the link to the lengthy National Review piece.

Finally, below is a short clip from “Meet The Press” in which Buckley casually explains why he should get your vote. — CC

2 Comments on "Electile Dysfunction: The 50th Anniversary Of WFB’s Failed Mayoral Race"

  1. What a great way to begin the week. Buckley’s book of the race, The Unmaking of a Mayor is even more relevant and instructive today while anything Lindsay said is of interest only to one conducting an autopsy as to what happened to our cities. Lindsay did become a Democrat and ran for president without consequence.

  2. I wonder if I would be allowed to post a link to a higher definition footage of the same video: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/23376657#23376657

    Buckley always fascinated me. He was never really a libertarian (after watching Ron Paul’s appearance on Firing Line, you’ll come to this conclusion too) and by today’s standards he would be considered “moderate.”

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