April 11, 2002

RED VS. BLUE :

Journalist Jeffrey Toobin discusses his profile of Attorney General John Aschroft, published in this week's issue of The New Yorker (Terry Gross, April 11, 2002, NPR) We heard a lot of talk about how America was a divided nation after the 2000 election, that we separate into the Red states and the Blue states. Today I heard perhaps the best illustration of the difference that you're ever going to find. On Fresh Air, Terry Gross asked Jeffrey Toobin if there was anything he found surprising about John Ashcroft when he interviewed him. Mr. Toobin said that the Attorney General was much less forbidding in person, even homey. He related how at one point General Ashcroft told him, there are only two things you need in this world : "WD-40 and duct tape. WD-40 to get things apart and duct tape to put things together." This was met with dumbfounded silence by the host, until Mr. Toobin said he wasn't sure what it meant either. Then the two laughed (as I heard it, condescendingly, but mind you, I was stuck behind a manure spreader at the time) and Ms Gross said you probably had to hang around hardware stores to understand it. Huh? I realize this was a conversation between two citified East Coast intellectuals, but if you blue state folks really don't comprehend WD-40 and duct tape, you've got to get out more and you sure as Hell shouldn't be running the country. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2002 4:39 PM
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