I Have a Crush on Ed Rollins
by Rebecca Schoenkopf
I have a GOP crush on Ed Rollins. I do that sometimes. In fact, I do that a lot. There’s all kinds of Republicans I have not very secret things for, most especially including our disgraced ex-OC sheriff, and maybe sometimes Arnold Schwarzenegger too, at least when I see him in person (and let me assure you, he most certainly sees me).
So my crush on Ed Rollins is an exquisitely asexual one—I mean, how could it be otherwise?—and it is of short duration, since it only started yesterday. I remember my dad once mentioning how much he liked Ed Rollins—I believe on reading an op ed in the L.A. Times by Rollins, the former manager of Ronald Reagan’s campaign. “Shut up, DAD!” I probably spat at my dad. “Why don’t you go vote for Bush again?” You can’t put dad in a box; sometimes he votes Nader, then flirts with McCain. Oooh, how independent.
I didn’t mean to have a crush on Ed Rollins. I meant to attend his lecture at UC Irvine as merely one of the horde of liberal academic elite sneering down our elite liberal academic noses. Probably big honking Jewish noses mostly. You know how the colleges are.
But he got us all with his droll self-effacement—liberals are easy—about eking out the C average he needed to graduate after his six years of college at a state school. Aw! And he started talking about Watergate, when he worked for Nixon, and I was on the edge of my seat with the thrill of it all. Did he know Hillary back then? He didn’t say so, and he surely would have mentioned it one of the many times he complimented her this day. He was good friends with Fred Thompson at the time, though, and today called him a lazy piece of shit. He had choice words for Romney, whom he said everyone hates, and was entirely delighted by the fact that Giuliani spent $100 million for not a single delegate. He repeated this delightful factoid several times, delightedly. How could one not love Ed Rollins? Gossip and talking shit really bring out our common humanity.
But here’s the thing: talk shit though he did about Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson, Rollins—who is managing Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign—declined any chance to denigrate any Democrats, even the Clintons. “She has a real core of values,” he said. “I hate to say it like that, because it implies that he [Bill] doesn’t, but she really does.” He swanned on a bit about her smarts, too, and called Bill the greatest strategist in the country. While complimentary about Hillary, he was awestruck about Obama, going on and on and fucking on about what a great, inspirational candidate he is. “He’s run a flawless campaign,” he marveled. “There hasn’t been anything like it in modern history.” Republicans, he said, were going to get whomped.
I do like hearing what I want to hear.
And so there was more, and it went on, and I asked the best question—I always do, except when I’m actually interviewing someone, which should simply never be attempted by me—about how, if he was bragging about how non-negative the race he ran for Reagan against Walter Mondale was, weeelll, what did he think, then, about his protégé Lee Atwater’s campaign for George H.W. Bush? And he said, “Lee always needed a lot of adult supervision,” but then he stopped himself, because the guy was dead. He would say, though, “You can say Dukakis is soft on crime without going Willie Horton.” Reasonable! Gentlemanly! I’m telling you: commonly human!
And so I called my mom the next day to tell her about all the fun I had at yet another boring lecture.
“I fucking HATE THAT GUY!” she said. “Ed Rollins is the WORST. He’s so smug about what a great, decent guy he is!” I told her: not smug, very low-key, seemingly sincere. “That’s because he’s so SLICK!” sniffed my mother. “And as far as Willie Horton goes, everybody, left or right, knows it was a disgusting thing to do. It was no skin off his nose to say so, and he gets to look like a straight-talker.”
Damn! My mom is totally right!
I certainly didn’t tell her I more than kinda like Huckabee.