The Breakfast Table

Impersonating a Republican

I’m not a Republican, but I play one online.

You don’t think people should be entitled to make as much money as they feel like and spend it as lavishly as they wish, and you think that some people have way too much money and should give most of it away. Are we talking about the power of custom and moral suasion? Or do you mean “legally permitted” by “entitled” and “legally obliged” by “should”? Do you mean that there should be, say, a 100 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over, say, $1 million a year?

I didn’t vote for Bush (nor any other Republican presidential candidate, ever), and I find his speaking manner more irritating than any president during my lifetime, but how is he doing a “terrible job”? On the other hand, it’s true that if Al Gore (who I hope to God is not the 2004 Democratic nominee) were president and had done precisely what Bush has done so far in every respect, the right would be flaying him mercilessly and relentlessly.

I had never been to a college reunion, but last year was my 25th, which I’d always assumed I’d attend, so I did. I didn’t love it. I’m not really a college reunion kind of guy, I realized. And in my normal life, as it happens, I regularly or occasionally see most of the college classmates I want to see. Plus, living in a denuded, dirty, uncomfortable dorm room with my family was not the charming adventure it’s intended to be.

You really think the intifada and the suicide bombings are not in some substantial measure a response to the settlements and West Bank security policies? You think it’s just a Night of the Living Dead assault that will continue at this level no matter what? Surely not.

But your plug for my radio show yesterday was so astoundingly sweet that I will refrain from getting into that argument with you.

By the way, apropos Old Money’s coexistence with New Money: Did you see the story today about the charity benefit tonight, of which Tyco’s Mr. Kozlowski is a co-chairman? Mrs. Henry Frick III and Wendy Vanderbilt are on the benefit committee with him.