Irving Kristol, the "godfather" of neoconservatism and a key intellectual force behind the Reagan Revolution, died today from lung cancer in Arlington, Va., the Washington Post reports. He was 89. Once a New York liberal, Kristol grew disaffected with liberalism in the 1940s and founded conservative magazines like Encounter and the Public Interest, which had small circulations but influenced powerful audiences.
Kristol's star rose in the 1980s, when Reagan officials adopted neocon policies like tax cuts and eliminating programs for the poor. The second President Bush even awarded Kristol the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Dubbed a "neoconservative" by social critic Michael Harrington, Kristol—the father of commentator Bill Kristol—embraced the term that was intended as an insult. But "we are not a movement," he once said. "There has never been a meeting of neoconservatives."
(Read more William Kristol stories.)