On political apathy:
The system is so screwed up, if you think it's not worth participating in, then give yourself credit for being alert. But not for being smart. How smart is it to throw away power? How smart is it to throw away the most magnificent political legacy any people has ever received?
On who controls the Republican Party:
There's a large extent to which the Christian right is being played for a bunch of suckers by country club conservatives who are interested in nothing more than their own pocketbooks.
On what makes George Bush tick:
If you want to understand George W. Bush you have to stretch your imagination around a weird Texas amalgam: religion, anti-intellectualism, and machismo. All big, deep strains here, but still an odd combination. Then add that Bush is just another li'l upper-class white boy out trying to prove he's tough.
On gun nuts:
Thomas Sowell, a right-wing [African American] columnist from the Hoover Institute, actually wrote a column in all seriousness saying, yep, the solution to these mass killings is more guns. Incredibly, he argues that the mass killings that have been taking place in white, middle-class settings wouldn't happen in the ghettos or barrios because more folks there are packing.
I hate to tell him this, but if the murder rate in white, suburban America were the same as that in the ghettos, we'd be confiscating guns by now.
On Lesser Evilism (in Election 2000):
Not to Texas-brag, but we are No. 1 in the art of Lesser Evilism. I have voted for candidates so putrid that it makes your teeth hurt to think about 'em. Why? Because they were better than the other guy.
So here you are, trying to spot the fine hairsbreadth of difference between the sanctimonious Gore and the clueless Bush, ready to damn both of them in favor of a straight shooter like Nader. Here's the problem: Government matters most to people on the margins. If I may be blunt about this, we live in a society where the effluent flows downhill. And the people on the bottom are drowning in it.
And it is precisely those citizens whose lives can be harmed by your idealism.
On the Israeli-Palestinian situation:
I am in no particular position to preach to American Jews (or anyone else, come to think of it), but as a deeply worried Christian supporter of Israel, I think American Jews have an important role to play in this delicate and dangerous situation. The impulse of Jews to support Israel totally — especially when Israelis are being blown up — is entirely understandable. But it's not necessarily helpful to Israel in this situation.
On the Florida debacle in Election 2000:
I was in Florida during that chilling postelection fight, and am fully persuaded to this good day that Al Gore actually won Florida, not to mention getting 550,000 more votes than Bush overall. But I also remember thinking, as the scene became eerier and eerier, "Jeez, maybe we should just let them have this one, because Republican wingnuts are so crazy, their bitterness would poison Gore's whole presidency."
The night Gore conceded the race in one of the most graceful and honorable speeches I have ever heard, I was in a ballroom full of Republican Party flacks who booed and jeered through every word of it.
On George W. Bush's presidency:
Poor Bush is in way over his head, and the country is in bad shape because of his stupid economic policies.
If that makes me a Bush-hater, then sign me up.