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Veronique de Turenne

Gore Vidal

Al Gore's cousin came to Malibu yesterday (he calls him "Albert" in a tone that somehow conjures velveteen knee pants and a bright red balloon) to rouse local Democrats, sell some books, and launch a few barbs at the Bushies.Gore Vidal This is Gore Vidal, of course, historian, novelist and essayist, whose long-held view of the U.S. as an imperial empire run by a bunch of monied thugs has found its greatest purchase yet in the current administration. (That's Vidal on the left, Dick Van Dyke on the right. Click the photo for a larger version.)

"There's been a coup d'etat," Vidal told the crowd. "I never thought it could be done so smoothly and easily but it's been done."

He spoke of the "P.T. Barnumization of the American people," and called Bush ("He's so busy in Crawford. What does he do down there? Help illegals across the border, then arrest them and send them to Abu Ghraib?") a man who "babbles about democracy and freedom for everyone, eliminating it, meanwhile, for the folks at home."

And about his cousin Albert: "Why shouldn't he serve in the office to which we elected him once?"

For more than a few snippets of Vidal, check out a recent interview in The Progressive.

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