I worry that the American right will become funny. The left has Michael Moore, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. The right has no one. Except for Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley Jr., former speechwriter for George H. W. Walker, and the conservatives' Jonathan Swift. At the center of the conservative agenda since the 30s has been privatizing Social Security, which was possibly the greatest achievement of the left in the 20th century. And now Buckley has written Boomsday. The heroine, Cassandra Devine, is a smart, sexy, twentysomething who works by day for a K Street lobbyist while spending feverish all-nighters blogging against the Social Security tax burden on her generation. She incites a tax revolt with the Swiftian modest proposal that Boomers voluntarily kill themselvesin K Street spin, "transition"to balance the Social Security deficit. Of course, Buckley ignores the fact that Social Security could be stabilized by the trillion dollars being wasted in Iraq. But his humor stays with me nonetheless, as I prepare to go fishing on a Monday with my Social Security card safely in my wallet. Hope the baby entrepreneurs are too busy online to read him.
Hayden is the author of Ending the War in Iraq.
reported by Maxwell Bryer, Laura Fitzpatrick, Amy Lennard Goehner, Lev Grossman, Belinda Luscombe, Meg Massey, Tom Mintz and P.G. Sittenfeld