I’m in Los Angeles to give a talk tomorrow night, thanks to my New America comrade Gregory Rodriguez. The talk is on — believe it or not — the future of the Republican Party. Being a contrarian by nature, my verdict is that the prospects are pretty good, provided, of course, that Bobby Jindal and I are nominated president and vice president respectively in 2016. Much to my chagrin, I think I’ll be constitutionally eligible at that point. We will form the first all-Asian presidential ticket of a major political party. In a strange twist of fate, Ramesh Ponnuru will be the Democratic nominee, or perhaps he will serve as the nominee of the Constitution Party, which by that point will command 15 to 20 percent of the vote in the wake of the “intellectualoid” takeover of the GOP.
But yes, I’d be really honored if you’d come to the talk, even if you’re just there to heckle me (quietly).
So yes, please come to the
Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium
630 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071
by 7:15 pm on October 29th.
I’ll do my best to be stimulating. I have to say, there are times when I can be a really wonderful and charismatic public speaker (and humble), and other times when I’m a complete disaster. My main problem, judging by audience feedback, is that “I speak too quickly.” Also, I’ve been accused of using “$20 words.” I remember “10 cent words,” a sure sign that inflation is taking a devastating toll on America’s rhetorical pocketbook. My speed is particularly problematic when I’m talking to non-native English speakers, but it seems that natives have trouble making sense of my torrential infodumps as well. In my defense, the speed derives from not wanting to filibuster, and also from having lots of things I’d like to say. (Of course, it now looks as though the filibuster is doomed, so perhaps I should use the next week to languorously describe the downsides of card-check legislation.) I’m very self-conscious about excess prolixity, yet that doesn’t stop me from pursuing lots of different tangents.
Fortunately, I’ll have a lot of time tomorrow night. I realize that this might deter you from coming, but I promise not to last much longer than an episode of CBS’s Two and a Half Men. I also promise to be as provocative and insightful as three and a half men, though of course I’m talking about Charlie Sheen equivalents, so the bar isn’t too high.
I also wanted to let you know that I’m gearing up to write a technology blog for The Atlantic, and I’d love to hear any blogroll recommendations if you have them. I think you know how to reach me. I’m trying to finish a couple of web dispatches too. Not sure if you’ve been reading The Atlantic’s web dispatches, but you should.
I won’t lie to you — I’m eager for this election to be over, and to begin the rethinking and regrouping process in earnest. There are a lot of projects I’d like to pursue and stories I’d like to cover, and also a lot of conversations I’m excited to be a part of in the center-right universe.
Also, I’m very proud and pleased to tell you that you’ll be seeing some more bloggers here at The American Scene, including the brilliant Jeremy Reff, one of my very dear friends, and others who will be familiar to you.
I’ll note, briefly, that I’ve had a chance to see some great friends out here, including a few of my favorite writers. I really love Southern California, and I’m hoping my last couple of days here will be similarly rewarding. Next I’ll be in Austin, where Ross and I will take part in a panel at the Texas Book Festival. While there, I also hope to “rock out,” as Austin is one of my favorite American cities. I need some kind of Halloween costume. I’m not one for dressing up, generally speaking, as my eyebrows alone fill most Americans with terror and dread, but I figure I ought to get in the spirit of things. I’m also hoping to meet some Democratic strategists, to get a sense of where they intend to take the party in Texas. Bill White looks formidable. We’ll see.
I’m in a strange mood. It’s not exactly like being in love — which for me involves a lot of insanity, so it’s generally frowned upon in the Reihanosphere — but there’s a related sensate uptick: I feel slightly more sensitive or receptive to what’s going on around me, and I sense neat opportunities for people I care about and for America and for Earth. This could be because I’ve been unwittingly exposed to some New Age stones or crystals. Not sure. I kind of hope not. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been meeting really cool people, or because I believe Casey Mulligan is roughly right. Also, Casey Mulligan is just generally fantastic. His post on the presidential election is, in my view, weirdly brilliant and astute as to how a lot center-right metropolitan types are feeling.
I estimate that an Obama presidency would, relative to a McCain presidency, reduce economy efficiency by less than $50 per person per year (you can read about the details here, but please wait until Nov 5). That small loss in economic efficiency is almost outweighed by Oprah Winfrey’s enthusiasm alone! Seriously, judging from campaign contributions and rally-turnouts, I think it is likely that the intensity of preference felt for Obama by a significant minority of America is worth $50 per person per year.
I should stress — this is by no means a knockdown argument! But I do think the mood of the country matters. I like and admire John McCain too much to be an Obamacon. But let’s state the obvious: if McCain wins after running this campaign, at least half of the country will feel pretty damn alienated. And the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan need to be owned by both political parties, not just one.