At the end of his presentation, [Buckley] allowed questions. The first supplicant approached the microphone and hopefully inquired, "Mr. Buckley, what do you think about Rush Limbaugh?" This was during the time when Rush was still something of a rising star. His rhetoric was bombastic, hard-edged, and wickedly funny. Members of the audience shifted forward in their seats expectantly as Buckley answered by telling the following story.
There were two Spaniards sitting in a bar. One asked the other, "What do you think about General Franco?" Instead of answering, the man gestured for his friend to follow him outside. Once on the sidewalk, he motioned for the friend to follow him to his car. They got in the car and drove to a forest. Deep in the woods, he parked the car and beckoned the friend to hike with him down to a lake. At the edge of the lake, he pointed to a boat which they boarded. He grabbed the oars and rowed to the
center of the lake. Finally, he sat still, looked his friend in the eyes and paused for a moment. "I like him." Buckley told the story so brilliantly and created so much suspense, the denouement brought the house down amid gales of laughter and happy applause.
As a veteran conservative, Buckley captured himself very well. When Buckley retreats deep in the forest for privacy and then rows to the middle of a lake to make doubly sure nobody overhears, he doesn't need all the cover stories that the right tells to make themselves palatable in a democracy like the United States. Buckley doesn't talk about freedom being God's gift to humanity, the beauties of a color-blind society, the need to go back to JFK liberalism, the suspending of habeas corpus under Abraham Lincoln, or the Christianity of the "classic feminists."
Instead, he traced his own lineage back to Franco and the fascist regime in Spain and expressed his affection for Limbaugh in terms of an analogy with affection for Franco.
Of course, Franco's not the only reference point for authentic feeling on the right. There's British colonialism, Israeli rule over the Palestinians on the West Bank, Confederate figures like Jefferson Davis, military dictatorship, absolute monarchy, or the segregation South. If the Nazis weren't so awfully taboo, there'd probably be a few nostalgic references for them as well.
These are the things the right-wing longs for when they think the rest of the world isn't listening.