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William F. Buckley, Jr.

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 10, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "Hannity & Colmes" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And another page tonight from the "Hannity & Colmes" notebook.

Senator Ted Kennedy has been receiving tax breaks that he didn't really qualify for. According to the Associated Press, the senator stood to receive an extra $7,000 tax exemption this year on his house in Washington, D.C. But Kennedy shouldn't have received the exemption at all because Washington is not his primary residence. Kennedy's office says the D.C. government incorrectly calculated the taxes that he owed. And he will repay any deductions that were erroneously given. Does this mean maybe he will support tax reform?

Our next guest is no stranger to exposing political hypocrisy. In both print and on television, he has been one of the more articulate voices of the conservative movement. Joining us now, the author of the brand-new novel, "Last Call for Blackford Oakes," is the founder of National Review (search), Bill Buckley.

How are you?

WILLIAM BUCKLEY, JR., CONSERVATIVE AUTHOR: Well, pretty good. All the better from seeing you both.

COLMES: Thanks for being here.

BUCKLEY: You haven't said anything obnoxious yet.

COLMES: We haven't spoken yet.

(LAUGHTER)

COLMES: Is that nice, Mr. Buckley?

HANNITY: That was funny.

COLMES: Is that nice?

HANNITY: You spent years really as a pioneer of this craft. Look at what's happened. Look at the conservative movement and conservative media (search). Is that something that you take pride in or are ashamed of?

BUCKLEY: No, I take great pride in many developments, as you do. But what I focus on here in this novel is — Blackford Oates, who is the mythical spymaster of my work, and he comes on the scene this time at age about 62, 63. He is still dashing and enterprising.

But he goes to Moscow. And he crosses paths with the single most conspicuous traitor in western history, Kim Philby. Kim Philby, who at age 19, and came to the university, became a communist. He very much resented people saying that he defected. No, he says, he never defected. He was always a communist.

And he worked for many years for the Soviet intelligence. And he was even nominated by MI-6 to go to Washington to be the representative of the anti-communist forces looking for spies. So the ironies were extraordinary.

So when my guy sees this guy, it's written that they have to have a challenging, challenging collision. And it's one, I think, that is exciting and also tells you a huge amount about the culture of a Brit who became an ardent Soviet intelligence agent, and of course, Blackford Oakes.

Now, what are you going to make me say now that you allowed me to plug my book?

HANNITY: No, I'm just interested in hearing you. I'm not going make you say anything. I want to see you fight with him. I think that's your great tradition.

COLMES: Have I ever been obnoxious to you?

HANNITY: Yes, he has. Tell him. Be honest.

BUCKLEY: You have been practicing that just now.

(LAUGHTER)

COLMES: I don't think that's been the case.

HANNITY: But back to the issue of "Firing Line" (search) and National Review. I mean, now you look at the conservative — you look at talk radio, the conservative new media. You look at blogging, you look at Internet sites, fair and balanced, we have FOX, you didn't imagine this explosion?

BUCKLEY: No, I certainly didn't.

HANNITY: What do you think of it?

BUCKLEY: When National Review was founded 50 years ago, we were the only rightwing thoughtful journal of opinion in the country.

HANNITY: That was it, right?

BUCKLEY: The notion that people like you would one day be talking to us four hours a day was simply unthinkable.

HANNITY: And some say it still is.

BUCKLEY: But you're certainly welcome. And we celebrate the fact that you're here. There have been, of course, enormous developments, most important probably in the academic world, the research foundations, the work with the University of Chicago (search).

And what happened, of course, was a creeping acknowledgment that what the Soviet Union held out for wasn't something that we wanted. And this Blackford Oakes made the center of his career to help us to press our point in the international arena and protect ourselves and our vital possessions.

So it's an exciting story, quite apart from the fact that it was an apocalyptic story. We finally prevailed, but it wasn't inconceivable there for many years that it would be a nuclear exchange.

COLMES: I was reading one of your recent columns. And you know, I wanted to quote something you said. You talked about how liberals aren't doing too well right now.

HANNITY: Thank God.

COLMES: You threw your voice. And you say, "Let liberals die. Meanwhile, the conservatives will keep our eyes on President Bush and stop him before he campaigns for compulsory baptism." Can you please explain that?

BUCKLEY: Well, I was trying to make fun of people who are so concerned about the fact that George Bush is a believing Christian that they're afraid he is going to launch America in a theocratic direction. I think that's, of course, preposterous.

And even since I wrote that, he has rejected certain ideas that would advance — not by him, by others. The point simply being that the gradual diminution of liberal strength has to do with the sort of evanescence of their ideas, and there isn't a lot there.

And under the circumstances, people who continue to campaign hoping for a liberalized America don't quite know what to do, free toothpaste and so on.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCKLEY: But beyond that, they just don't have many...

COLMES: We only have about 30 seconds. Would you have any advice for liberals?

BUCKLEY: 30 seconds? I was going to read you a couple of chapters from my book.

COLMES: Well, that would be terrific. So you'll come back tomorrow night?

BUCKLEY: Well, it was nice to see you both.

COLMES: I see we're not getting that advice.

HANNITY: You've got to admit, though, they keep doing what they're doing, that's lose. That's good thing.

BUCKLEY: Yes, provided we don't become slovenly about the defense of our position. Because to do that would invite the kind of lassitude which ultimately is suicidal.

HANNITY: I agree with you. Very good point. A great admonition.

BUCKLEY: Do you agree?

HANNITY: Good to see you.

COLMES: I'll get back to you on that.

BUCKLEY: Nice to be here.

HANNITY: It's always good to have you. Thank you for being with us.

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