Matt Taibbi is a whipsmart political writer with a wonderfully nasty streak who is being hailed as the new Hunter S. Thompson -- meaning irreverent and beholden to no one, not addicted to booze and pills and handguns. He gleefully takes on the powerful and greedy Republicans with surgical precision, as well as the bloated old Democrats who don't keep their promises. His targets vary, and he focuses on the familiar flag-waving ogres of the military-industrial complex, but he doesn't stop there, and lately he has infiltrated conservative Christian fundamentalists, and angered the cottage industry of the so-called "9-11 Truth Movement." He writes regularly for Rolling Stone, where his stories have been accompanied by great illustrations by Victor Juhasz.
Taibbi's latest book is The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story Of War, Politics, & Religion At The Twilight Of The American Empire.
On the presidential election:
I think we're in a situation now where the Bush people have done so much damage to so many different aspects of our society that this is an important election just in that respect...Bush in particular has done a lot of damage to our ability to have a national discussion about things, because they have so frequently insisted upon having their own reality when it suited them. Remember that famous quote, 'We're in the reality-making business,' from one of his aides? When it suited them, they just changed the facts and told their supporters 'Stick with us,' and 'We want you to subscribe to this faith-based politics where what we say is true because we say it is.' That's an enormously damaging way of operating the White House. You really need to have appeal and try to talk to the entire country, and not just your constituents. I think Barack Obama—as little faith as I have in his ability to actually change the system—he does at least have the opportunity to repair that aspect of things, and to talk to the whole country, and bring us back to reality. That would be a huge step. I think John McCain is a guy who's got his own psychological problems that would prompt him, for instance, to continue this war under very cloudy, illogical circumstances, and that would be very destructive."
On the 9-11 Truth Movement:
"I love when you ask them, 'Okay, so let's just say for instance that it wasn't collapsed by the fire. Why would you demolish Building 7? What would be the propaganda purpose of doing that?' They're like, 'Oh, you know, they're hiding the evidence.' I'm like, 'They need to blow up a whole building to hide the evidence?' It's just crazy. But whatever. I mean, once you jump on board that train, you're on it for life."
The A.V. Club just spoke with Taibbi about Christian fundamentalism, blowing up buildings, patriotism, change, Joseph Heller, and the death of Tim Russert. To read the interview, follow this LINK.
An archive of Taibbi's stories on AlterNet are located HERE.