Vidal, now 83 and in indifferent health, bemoaned the lack of a transcendent figure to match the political skills of a Franklin Roosevelt or the oratory of a General MacArthur. When I asked him about Barack Obama, with his formidable rhetoric and cool temperament, he gave me a look of pure contempt and uttered perhaps the most reactionary single comment of this election season.
"Slaves have a hard time making poetry," he said, relishing the shock factor, "unless it's got a beat."
Vidal, like many of his generation and social standing, clearly cannot fathom how the son of a single mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father could presume to occupy the Oval Office. And while he expressed his distaste with an extraordinary degree of frankness, not to mention racial venom, he is far from the only one.
Looks like little has changed since 1959.