He really was as bad as we thought at the time. And Reagan comes across in these recent tapes as a bland and lawless vacuity without a shred of integrity of allegiance to anything but power. And Nixon and Reagan gave birth to George W. Bush. All the characteristics are the same. The idea that the executive is above the law; a world view built on the worst of 19th century social Darwinism; and utter incuriosity about other people and other places. I have a such a visceral reaction to these creeps, perhaps, because my step father was a sort of cheap knock-off version of the same cluster of attitudes. I take these sons of bitches personally. Which is why it’s such a relief to have Barack Obama as president, despite the fact that he has deeply disappointed me on civil liberties issues, particularly the half-measures he’s taken to do away with torturing people in my name. With Obama, I at least get the impression that he has thought through the issue and made a conscious decision based on what he believes to be the good of the country. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Obama works through health care reform. I fear that he will compromise away significant change and wind up serving narrow interests; whereas venality drove Nixon and Reagan and Bush, a dangerous idealism may turn out to be Obama’s weakness.