June 03, 2004
Roger L. Simon
A world traveler, Simon lived in France for a few years, and had considered moving there again. But the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism and corresponding entrenchment of reflexive anti-Americanism have soured him on its appeal.
He recently journeyed to France to conduct research, and found anti-Americanism to be rampant. "To them, it's almost like breathing." He continues, "Some of it is inevitable because we're so powerful. The French are masters of envy."
Simon supports Bush's reelection because, he says, "I don't want the world to see us repudiate what he's done." Moreover, Simon's distrust of Kerry has roots in his college days in the '60s. He attended Yale at the same time as Joseph Lieberman, Oliver Stone — and John Kerry.
The Vietnam War debate was raging then, and "I was militantly antiwar," Simon recounts. So was Kerry, publicly and vocally. But Kerry really threw Simon for a loop when he volunteered for service. Among those opposed to the war, it was a matter of principle to avoid serving: "If you were at Yale and you didn't want to go to Vietnam, there was always a way out of it," Simon recounts.
So when Kerry volunteered it struck Simon, then and now, as a supremely hypocritical act. Because Kerry's actions didn't match his expressed convictions, "it proved [to Simon] that his values weren't really deep."
Interestingly, it was the O.J. trial that first caused Simon to begin questioning his leftist political beliefs.
April 25, 2004
David Brooks reviews the new Ron Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton.
April 21, 2004
Can Bob Woodward Be Saved?
Gregg Easterbrook wonders: "Does Woodward crave attention so badly he can no longer write a book that conforms to the standard disciplines of nonfiction and to standard distinctions between truth and conjecture?"