Dylan Jones: View from the West Wing

If you ask me: America has to choose between the world's oldest white guy and an arrogant black rock star

Share
Related Topics

If you ask me, the basic difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is surprisingly simple. In broad brushstrokes, the ideologies have rarely changed – small government versus womb-to-tomb interference, a free-market society versus a high-tax welfare state, and so on – but recently the parameters of definition have substantially shifted. Firstly, this is because America's attitude towards its foreign policy has never been so important, and secondly because the definitions of what constitutes each party are about to change in exactly the same way as they have over here. And not only that: this year America also has to choose between the world's oldest living white guy and an arrogant black rock star who has already been on a European tour.

There was a time when things were far simpler. Peggy Noonan was once a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, and when she left the West Wing in 1986, she retired to her home in Virginia to write a book about her experiences (What I Saw at the Revolution). She was thrilled to be working on her memoir, especially as Reagan was still a commodity in the book market (he wouldn't leave office for another two years, and still had a few more books in him himself), although she was bemused by the reaction of former colleagues when told what she was doing. "What are you up to now?" they'd ask, keenly. "What are you doing with your days?" And when she said she was working on a book, they'd look at her, she recalled, as if she'd said "I'm in physical therapy to heal a badly fractured leg."

And then they'd ask, "But what are you actually doing? For a living?" After a while she told a friend about the reaction she was getting, confused at her ex-colleagues' obvious re-evaluation of her. "Why do they think writing a book isn't doing something?" she'd cry. "Because they're Republicans," replied her friend. "Democrats respect books because they respect ideas. Republicans respect money."

Before Noonan could express an opinion one way or another, the advice continued. She was told that the next time someone asked her what she was up to, she should take off her glasses, start cleaning them and then quickly cut to the chase and mention the advance.

And that, in a money clip, is the difference between the Democrats and the GOP.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: immigration past and present, in Europe and in America

John Rentoul
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones