Roger L. Simon

"Fear of Republicans" or "Fear of Flying"

Airplane Blather – On the Way to the RNC

Most of my life I rarely talked to Republicans — not seriously anyway. If I did it was without the full knowledge that they were Republicans. I didn’t think they would have much to say that would interest me, that they were intellectually bankrupt and probably greedy, possibly even racists. I was that prejudiced. Of course, secretly I read Milton Friedman, realizing that the educated man should be aware of his economic theories. I did admire William F. Buckley’s prose. And P. J. O’Rourke did make me laugh – although I didn’t want to admit it. But these were the exceptions.

Lately, however, I have been talking to a lot of them and (shock of shocks) many of them are pretty bright, even funny. Also, I have discovered the Weekly Standard, the National Review and Commentary are at least as interesting to read as The Nation and Mother Jones and frequently (in fact I’d say close to invariably) more surprising in their viewpoints. So when I ran my eyes over (quickly, I can promise you) Howell Raines’ much talked about column of the other day in which the former Times editor derided the intellectual capacity of George W. Bush, I could only roll those same eyes. Let me put it to you directly, Howell. I got a 780 on the verbal GSATs (not bad, huh? okay, the math wasn’t so hot – I’m a writer), but I don’t think for a split second that I’m the intellectual superior of Bush 43. Those kind of thoughts are, well, intellectually inferior and [Here you go again.-ed.] reactionary.

Anyway, enough bile. At the convention, I am going to be confronted with something far more significant, my deepest fear about Republicans – that they are really and truly square. As a card-carrying member of the Generation of 68, I have an allergy to square that makes me break out in hives and lose my lunch in dark alleyways. I’m cool. Don’t ever forget it. And that lineup of entertainment these Red Staters are advertising, I wouldn’t wish it on a ‚Ķ [You like country music.-ed. Shhh‚Ķ don’t tell anyone.]

MEANWHILE… I am now in NY, obviously (no demonstrators so far, but plenty of Republicans)… only to discover that those Kings of Cool (‘babacool’ in their parlance) the French are in trouble in Iraq. And they were in the ones opposing sending troops. If they don’t learn something from this, they will never learn anything.