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Gore Vidal: America is the crookedest place on earth

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Says Republicans ‘are the small-town enemies of everybody’

Acclaimed novelist Gore Vidal was no friend of the Bush administration. After President George W. Bush gave his first inaugural address, Vidal told Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman that it was “the most un-American speech I’ve ever heard a chief executive give to the United States.” He also claimed in 2008 that 9/11 was “a coup d’etat” to overthrow the government, allowing the Bush administration “[to] make legal each and every breach of the constitution that [they] had in mind.”

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On the election of President Obama, Vidal told The Independent that he was initially optimistic, but after witnessing the administration at work he’s relegated himself to despair. “[He’s] incompetent. He will be defeated for re-election. It’s a pity because he’s the first intellectual president we’ve had in many years, but he can’t hack it. He’s not up to it. He’s overwhelmed.”

Time hasn’t mellowed Vidal any.

The New Statesman‘s Daniel Trilling writes, “Melvyn Bragg has interviewed the American author Gore Vidal many times over the years – including for three separate South Bank Show films. For his guest-edit of this week’s New Statesman, Bragg called Vidal at his home in Los Angeles, where Vidal claimed to be working on perfecting ‘the telephone essay.'”

A year ago, Vidal said that his homeland was “rotting away.”

The UK Sunday Times spoke to Vidal, during a rare 2009 trip to England.

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Today religious mania has infected the political bloodstream and America has become corrosively isolationist, he says. “Ask an American what they know about Sweden and they’d say ‘They live well but they’re all alcoholics’. In fact a Scandinavian system could have benefited us many times over.” Instead, America has “no intellectual class” and is “rotting away at a funereal pace. We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is. Benjamin Franklin said that the system would fail because of the corruption of the people and that happened under Bush.”

Now Vidal warns the world, “Anybody who tries to hang on to America’s coat-tails is going to find himself up to his eyeballs in, well, deceit and corruption. This is the crookedest place on earth – and I never thought I would go that far, having been to many other countries at least south of our borders.”

I should not in the least be surprised if there were a kind of dictatorship at the end of the road, which seems to be coming more and more quickly as we lose more and more wars.

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But Republicans still get the worst of it. Vidal calls them “the small-town enemies of everybody.”

They just dislike everyone. They couldn’t come out and say: “We don’t want a black president” – we’ve finally got past that roadblock. So what they did was set out to slaughter the opposition party, the Democrats.

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“Vidal’s contention is that Obama’s opponents, motivated by racism, have set out to discredit him,” Trilling writes.

Repetition. They keep saying he’s really a terrorist and they even deny he’s black. He’s obviously brown in some way – a vicious way – because we know what they are like; those are terrorists.


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