What do you think about the debt-ceiling deal? It’s a start, and that’s all you can charitably say. It really doesn’t get to the big numbers. It doesn’t get to the big spending issues. It doesn’t get into Medicare, which is on automatic pilot, which is just gonna eat through the whole budget. It doesn’t get into Social Security solvency. Defense is not sacrosanct. For heaven’s sake, we found enough fat in there that would choke a horse.
Do you recall a fiscal battle anything like this one during your time in the Senate? No, it breaks your heart. It's almost akin to disgust, but it's more than that. It's heartbreaking. One possible outcome was tax reform—closing loopholes and expenditures. But all of a sudden some Republicans said that was a tax hike. Oh, yeah. Well, that’s old Grover Norquist. He’s a good man with a damn poor idea. I tell people, “Look, Grover is powerful, and let’s just give him the kudos, but what can he do to you? He’s not gonna murder you. He won’t burn your house. The only thing he can do to you is defeat you for reelection. If your reelection means more than doing something for the United States of America and getting out of this hole, then you shouldn’t be in Congress.”
How’s your ex-colleague from Wyoming, former vice president Dick Cheney, doing? He’s got a new book out this month. I’m just gonna love it because it’s gonna be his side, and his side is a remarkable side. Because old Dick Cheney, he is a piece of work. When it’s all over, there’ll be people who will say, “I didn’t know that about him because his views were distorted by people who hated his guts.”
You and Cheney represent an old tradition of Western conservatism. What happened to those views? I say clearly abortion is a terrible, terrible thing, but it’s a deeply intimate and personal decision, and I don’t think men legislators should even vote on it. Now, that takes you immediately from a conservative to a commie. Now I also think that we all have someone we love who’s gay or lesbian. There should be no special prejudices, no special penalties, no special privileges. And so that’ll knock you into the commie box, too.
I heard there’s an Alan Simpson for President Facebook page. That’s a thrill. I just get goose pimples all over.