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Friday, October 13, 2006

Surprising news: I'm a Republican

Today I would like to write, briefly, about politics. Tonight, the Santa Monica Public Library hosted a talk with John Dean. As he put it, "For those of you under 45 years of age", John Dean was counsel to President Richard Nixon.

Mr. Dean, if nothing else, was a brilliant speaker, and full of interesting comparisons between today's political climate and that of 1973. He continued to be terribly critical of the current conservative Republicans, and has written some interesting articles which you can read on findlaw.com. At some point during the presentation he mentioned the notion of 'Goldwater Republicans', referring to the political leanings of Senator Barry Goldwater, as Mr. Dean claims to be very close friends with Senator Goldwater's son. He also claims that the title of his recent book, which I will give below, is something that Senator Goldwater coined. 'Goldwater Republican' is something I had heard about before, and wondered what it meant, and I wrote it down to research later. Finally, we purchased a copy of his book "Conservatives Without Conscience" which I intend to move to the top of my list.

My wife absolutely loved the talk. When she was young, she spent the summer of 1973 stuck in front of the television watching the televised presentation of the Watergate congressional testimony. When she had Mr. Dean autograph a book to her mother, she told him that watching him on TV helped her become a legal services attorney; that his honesty and public accountability made a long-lasting impression on her.

After the talk, Beth and I walked to get something to eat, and I asked her: "What's a Goldwater Republican?"

"Well, it's sort of like Schwarzenegger. You know, socially liberal, big on privacy. Kind of like you You're a prototypical Goldwater Republican".

Clearly my wife was both complimenting me and answering my question at the same time. Fascinating. I've only done minimal research on Barry Goldwater, including only briefly perusing his entry in wikipedia. Being labeled like that is a little disconcerting, for sure, but something I can label myself will help me believe there's a political stance I can take, even if it's one that has had no power since 1980. The following is obvious: I've no objection to the notion of Republican politics, I just can't stand what it's become. Being too young to understand Republican politics pre-Reagan, I merely understood there was an alternative, I just never knew what it was.

I don't know what this is going to do to my political leanings at all, but this talk did exactly what it should; I've walked away with very important questions, as well as a couple of answers.

In addition Mr. Dean also confided in me that he loves Google Desktop Search and tells his friends so. According to his bio in findlaw.com, he works in Beverly Hills. I hope to bring him to the Santa Monica office sometime soon.

Finally, thanks to the folks at the Santa Monica Public Library for the great work they are doing providing a great service by educating the public, and particular thanks to Robert Graves, whom I understand did all the work making this event happen.

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