It is often said that he founded the modern conservative movement. Ehhh. We're not so sure that's fair to McCarthy, Goldwater or Satan. Nor have we ever been much impressed either by Buckley's own sesquipedialian ramblings on television, or by the ranting of the National Review crowd in general.
That said, Buckley had some undeniable charms. Take, for instance, his "Blackford Oakes" spy thrillers. We at the Egg were especially touched by one in which the villainess had attended our own alma mater, and the villain lived on our own street in Brooklyn Heights. Buckley certainly knew his enemies' demographic.
And at a more earnest level, in his last years Buckley was an eloquent and thoughtful advocate for the legal use of marijuana by people with a medical need. (Click the link for an example.) His case was not only clear and sharp, which one expected from Buckley -- it was also compassionate, which one did not always expect.