Roger L. Simon

Nervous Time at the Kerry Corral

I remember when I was a kid the Village Voice used to have a regular political column… or was it just a generic headline… called “Runnin’ Scared.” Kerry sounds a bit that way already, jumping on Bush and calling him ‘unfit to lead this nation’ minutes after the balloons had barely fallen on Madison Square Garden. It’s clear we’re going to see a new “Fighting Kerry,” at least for the next few days. Who knows what next?

Bush is the opposite, the original WYSIWYG candidate – for good or nil. He knows that too and that’s the best part of him. He said as much at the end of his speech last night, acknowledging many of us don’t agree with him on everything, but still soliciting our votes. I appreciated that candor because I certainly don’t. Of course it’s hard for me to imagine a candidate I would agree with on everything, but I admit I wince particularly when he addresses the social issues. Still, that was hardly a surprise and that is the pill I will have to swallow when I vote for him.

Of course that is also why I enjoyed the stomping War on Terror speeches… Giuliani, Miller, McCain… more than I did the others. I didn’t want to be reminded of the parts of Bush’s program with which I disagree. Such is life in the Big Tent. At least they had balloons.

But I am pleased to say I am feeling better this morning now that it is all over. Even New York is looking better to me as I stare out the kitchen window of my sister and brother-in-laws apartment at the north end of Central Park, a view I grew up with. People have said I seemed uncomfortable at the Republican Convention. I’m sure I would have been more uncomfortable at the Democratic Convention, getting into screaming fights with old friends. I’d like to think I’m good at compromise, but maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m too idealistic for that… or too bullheaded. I don’t think I could be a good party guy for any party, not that I ever was. You remember Groucho’s famous line: “I’d never join a club that would have me as a member.” That’s me.

Does this mean I am grudgingly voting for Bush? Not at all. The man said ‘I will never relent in defending America’ and I believe him. That’s more than enough for me in these times of suicide bombers in school houses. No wonder he’s way ahead in the polling in households with children. He damn well should be.

Meanwhile, though, some very good personal news. In part due to this blog, I will be writing my first non-fcition book, a kind of political memoir of the Hollywood left. I will announce more of the publishing details on here next week as they are finalized. See you tomorrow… from LA>