Although William F. Buckley, Jr., died more than three and a half years ago, his spirit clearly lives on in the National Review, the neoconservative political magazine he founded in 1955. The September 19 cover story, “Ron Paul’s Last Crusade,” by Kevin D. Williamson, purports to be an investigative piece about Congressman Ron Paul and his latest run for the presidency, but is instead a snide character assassination of Paul and an all-purpose smear on anyone who shares his convictions, including The John Birch Society. “Ron Paul is kind of a dork,” Williamson declares in the article’s opening paragraph — this allegedly in favorable contrast to “Mussolinian” Barack Obama, “cowboy” Rick Perry, and “self-parodically ‘presidential’ ” Mitt Romney. Decrying the “raging personality cult” that has supposedly elevated Ron Paul far beyond what his limited natural merits could possibly justify — the congressman checks his watch too often, according to the article, and isn’t much of a public speaker, transgressions that make him America’s “most successful awful retail politician,” whatever that means — Williamson effuses paragraph after paragraph of scornful prose intended to portray Ron Paul supporters as nut jobs and ignorant wackos. Dislike the Federal Reserve? How dare they, those ignorant booboisie! Oppose interventionist American foreign policy? What are they thinking, given the shining success of America’s incessant warmaking in the Middle East and Central Asia over the past generation!