The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.
1. What one thing would you do as President "just because you could"?
I don’t have a US birth certificate – I don’t know whether that’s still a deal-breaker – but I’d restore the constitutional balance between federal and state authorities as it stood before the Civil War. Then, like President Obama, I’d repair to the golf course.
2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.
The most useful lesson I learned in a classroom was from an English teacher called Mr. Harman when I was 13. He taught me the simple lesson that, when speaking, you don’t need to fill the space between words with noise. Instead of saying “uh, um”, just fill the space with silence. Come to think of it, that’s something else President Obama could usefully have picked up.
3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?
I’d be a theater critic. There is more humanity in one Shakespeare play than in a lifetime in politics.
4. Tell me about a public or private moment when you thought to yourself, "This is what Elvis felt like every day.”
Eating a cheeseburger in front of the TV. I think the King did that rather a lot in his latter years.
5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
America’s Dumbest Criminals.
6. What's the best present you ever received?
My Labrador, Max, when I was 8. Sweetest-natured dog I’ve ever known.
7. What’s the best present you ever gave?
I love giving my god-children hideous, garish plastic toys that they adore, but that their parents would never buy them. Obviously it’s not nearly as funny when people do the same for my kids!
8. What are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving?
I can’t answer this one light-heartedly. All Anglosphere peoples, not just Americans, should be grateful for our shared patrimony of liberty under law.
9. Who would be on the perfect "Red Eye" panel?
John Milton, Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, Margaret Thatcher
10. What books are on your reading list?
I can’t wait for the fifth and final volume of Robert Caro’s LBJ biography. There are some non-fiction works by the amazing Canadian novelist Robertson Davies that I’ve been storing up. And I still have one or two unread P G Wodehose stories on my Kindle.
11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?
Britain votes to leave the European Union.
12. What do you want people to take away after reading your new book?
That we’re luckier than we know. The common lot of our species, through the ages, has been oligarchy, oppression and slavery. We are exceptionally fortunate, we English-speaking peoples, to live in a place and at a time when people can hold their rulers to account, and when the individual is elevated above the state.
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