The Republican candidate has managed to capture just 37 percent of the under-30 vote in each of the last two presidential elections. What do you expect when you run candidates such as Mitt Romney and Donald Trump and go deep on issues such as gay marriage and drug prohibition, asks Lisa De Pasquale. Is Roy Moore really gonna pack in the kids?
The former organizer of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) and author of The Social Justice Warrior Handbook: A Practical Survival Guide for Snowflakes, Millennials, and Generation Z, De Pasquale has just published a novel, I Wish I Might, which features a 30-something conservative woman who runs a beauty-and-fashion website that's reminiscent of Goop and Teen Vogue. The increasingly libertarian-leaning D.C. resident thinks it's way past time for right-wingers to stop trying to police popular culture and instead start creating it.
"For me, politics has become more [about] entertainment," she says. "Being in D.C. almost 20 years now, it's not like I've seen a huge bunch of policy changes. Maybe what's left now is just entertainment." A Gen-Xer, she's also adamant that the older generation needs to get out of the way. "Anytime Fox News tweets something from The Five or from The Greg Gutfeld show, you can tell who the older commenters are because they'll say they just don't get Gutfeld or Kat Timpf," she says. "The problem is a lot of those older people are still the ones that are running for things, running organizations, and that sort of thing." Moore, the Alabama Republican who just lost a Senate election in the reddest state in the country, is not only fringe in his anti-sodomy views, she says, he's also been around forever.
Reason's Nick Gillespie spoke with De Pasquale about I Wish I Might, "secret laughter" inside the conservative movement, and why she doesn't think Lena Dunham is a role model.
Audio production by Ian Keyser.
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Nick Gillespie: This is the Reason podcast and I'm your host, Nick Gillespie. Please subscribe to us at iTunes and rate and review us while you're there. Today, we're talking with Lisa De Pasquale, who writes for a wide variety of outlets ranging from The Daily Caller to Washingtonian Magazine to Vice's Broadly site. She's the author of Finding Mr. Righteous, about her life dating within Christian conservative circles and the hilarious Social Justice Warrior Handbook: A Practical Survival Guide for Snowflakes, Millennials, and Generation Z. Her newest book is a novel called I Wish I Might, which I just finished and recommend to anybody looking for a fun chick lit read. As I was reading it, I was like, this is a lot like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with substantially less sex and Nazis. Lisa De Pasquale, thanks for joining me today.
Lisa De Pasquale: Thanks. Well, someone could say less sex and less Nazis than my first book, too.
Gillespie: Yes, that's true. Yeah, Finding Mr. Righteous had quite a bit of at least of Nazis. Right? Although, there's …
De Pasquale: Yes.
Gillespie: … there were mostly hidden, secret Nazis. It was …
De Pasquale: Yeah.
Gillespie: I Wish I Might follows the adventures of Caroline Presley, a late 30-something journalist or a web editor who becomes a top editor at a women's website called Lilac, which has beauty tips, as well as kind of lifestyle articles and things like that in it. What prompted you to write this book now?
De Pasquale: Well, I do a daily email called Bright, GetBrightEmail.com, that's sort of like the Skimm except for we come of it more right of center. We have libertarian and conservative perspectives with a different editor every day. The point of it was to do some political stuff, but also do entertainment and culture and beauty and that sort of thing. It became increasingly hard to find the lifestyle and the beauty stuff from websites that we all read, like Bustle and Refinery29 and Teen Vogue. I noticed there's not really anything that just has that stuff and not politics. I'm not talking about beauty tips with a conservative point of view. I mean, one of the conversations I hated the most around CPAC was how to dress at CPAC. I thought, well, I don't really have the background of knowing investors and all these people who seem to fund things, so I'll just write a book and create the type of website that I would want to read.
Gillespie: Right. The website is pretty well, you know, it's great without ever seeing it. It's like The Tracy Morgan Show and 30 Rock. You don't actually see it, but you get a very strong sense of what it's about and what it's like. It struck me as kind of like a Teen Vogue or a Bustle you mentioned, or Goop or something like that, where there's obviously a lot of products and then stories about dating, but other types of social mores and things. Now, Caroline, tell us a little bit more about the protagonist. Caroline Presley is a single woman and she's kind of plus-sized in a world that is famous for wanting people who are as thin as a stick of gum. Right?
De Pasquale: Yeah, I mean, I obviously totally created this character out of my imagination and has no reality base, but no. That's the thing is I think, you know, I don't really get into her size that much. It's just more of comparing herself to the women's lifestyle world. She's also a little bit older. She's not a millennial. She's a Gen Xer, so a little older, single, not really into the dating scene, which dominates a lot of women's lifestyle websites and magazines. It was just sort of this girl that I think a lot of readers are, but is not necessarily portrayed in that genre of romance and chick lit.
Gillespie: Yeah, do people want … When I say people, I guess I mean readers and with chick lit, I mean, do they want realistic role models or is this mostly aspirational? I just went on a binge of watching a bunch of old James Bond movies and Bond obviously doesn't exist in real life even when you look at the kinds of CIA spies, secret agents who end up getting portrayed. They always look like Aldrich Ames or something, you know, they're not Sean Connery or even George Lazenby for God's sake.
De Pasquale: Yeah.
Gillespie: Do people read this stuff for … Do people read literature, and I guess a very broad question, for realism or for aspiration?
De Pasquale: I think it's a little bit of both. I mean, actually speaking of James Bond, I mean the closest person that we probably know is from Red Eye, Mike Baker, and he has to live in Idaho. I mean, that seems like not worth it to get the cool gadgets.
De Pasquale: I think it's a little bit of both because I think you want to have a character that you can identify with, but also take that character to a place that you want to go. I mean, that's what I did on, I think when it comes to like the romance part of it for anyone. I mean, you have like the classic romance novels that grandmas used to read, like the throwaways. Those were always in a different time or place, so, I mean, there wasn't too much aspirational aspect of it. It was really, I guess, just smut for grandmas.
Gillespie: Is there, you know, grandmas need smut, too, especially before …
De Pasquale: Yeah.
Gillespie: … an age of ubiquitous online porn, which they probably …
De Pasquale: Yeah, my next book will be Grandma's Need Smut, Too.
Gillespie: Okay. Yeah.
De Pasquale: I think it's aspirational in the romance part and then also in the social media part a lot of people see the Kardashians or these other YouTube and Instagram stars getting all this free promotional stuff. They sort of want to look into that world and that's a little bit what's in I Wish I Might. It's like how the whole women's media and sponsorship world works and particularly a lot of the celebrity base brands, like how those start. That was just, you know, I don't have any actual experience with launching a celebrity brand, but I definitely did the research to see how these things work. I mean, obviously there's some celebrities that are more in tune with it than others, but mostly it's just a licensing deal, you know, through a name.
Gillespie: It's kind of interesting, throughout the book and on the social media aspect of it, it's really about curation, rather than creation per se because, you know, and I don't think this gives away anything, but Caroline Presley throughout the book ends up … She is at first working to close a deal that would be kind of a licensing deal where her website or her personality would be licensed, but then she decides she wants to curate and the idea's that there's already a lot of stuff out there and that what we're really doing is not creating everything that we want, but rather picking and choosing among many, many different options and kind of tailoring things to ourselves. Do you think that's a, I mean, is that an accurate representation of kind of the ethos of the book and is that a conservative or a libertarian or a liberal value or is it something totally beyond politics?
De Pasquale: I mean, I would probably say it could have conservative or libertarian. Obviously, now less conservative, more libertarian than maybe I would have said a couple years ago, but I think that's a really good point because so much of it, particularly on the licensing side, is ego driven. Like, Kate Hudson has an active wear line, so therefore some other actress wants to have her piece of that market rather than just saying, well, what's a really good active wear line? Why can't I just promote this?
Gillespie: Personally, I'm looking for an inactive wear line.
De Pasquale: Yeah.
Gillespie: You know, which I think sadly is not aspirational, it's merely reflective of my daily grind.
De Pasquale: I'll give you a little secret. Anything you wear can be an inactive line.
Gillespie: Now, that's like a free tip from Lilac, the name of the website.
De Pasquale: Yeah.
Gillespie: Yeah. No, that's a keeper.
De Pasquale: Yeah, I mean as far as the choice, I mean that's something that you bring up a lot, particularly in the market, whether it's food or transportation or anything like that. I mean, younger generations are obviously used to this idea of having choice and like for me, I never really realized what it was like in the real world until I went to Canada and I'm like why is there only two kinds of toothpaste? Not that Canada is…
Gillespie: What's that like, maple syrup and poutine flavored toothpaste I think?
De Pasquale: Yeah. Well, I mean at least there'd be something that you want, you know?
Gillespie: Yes. That's true.
De Pasquale: Yeah. I mean, I think now there's a generation or two that doesn't know what it's like and that's when they get into ideas like net neutrality and other things and there's like this difference between what celebrities are telling me and the way that I actually run my own life. I think that's where it's hopefully going to split a little bit and people realize that celebrities are really just, a lot of them are just mouthpieces and don't actually think about these issues.
Gillespie: Well, and you know, as you were talking I was thinking of Bernie Sanders. Remember he went on that rant, you know, and he had like a huge youth brigade behind him, but where he was like there are so many different types of tennis shoes and sneakers and there are 37 flavors of deodorant, like nobody needs that. It's kind of like, speak for yourself, Pop, because it isn't like oh, the summit of post-communist capitalism is that Old Spice has 50 different flavors. It's the same choice or the same system that drives that choice, also allows you to live wherever you want and to work how you want and to marry who you want and to eat what you want it seems. Yeah.
Well, let me ask you a couple questions because you, in the book, Caroline, the editor character, stresses in an interesting way the need for diversity in kind of unusual ways. One is tied to the fashion industry that the book covers and the consumer products industry. She says that she wants the fashion industry to be representing all sorts of body types, female body types, and then the other one is the need for ideological diversity, which comes up a little bit. You have a moment where Caroline appears on, I think it's Entertainment Weekly's TV show or a weekly TV show, and she talks about how she likes Greg Gutfeld by name and says, 'I like his style and his temperament,' and things like that. What are you getting at with that? You don't normally hear people clamoring for diversity from the right side of the political spectrum. What are you doing there?
De Pasquale: Well, I mean, you know me. I sort of always have when it comes to conservatives and I think what it is, is the difference is like integrating it with a size or whatever that the person chooses to make the identification, it's integrating it into something that already exists and not doing a separate thing. Like, for me I wouldn't necessarily want to have a conference of like, oh here's a bunch of black conservatives and then a small portion of maybe a CPAC audience goes to that conference. It's about integrating it and making everything part of the movement.
That's where I was coming from as writing this character who wanted to integrate people of all different sizes because a lot of times like with Dove and, I'm trying to think who's done it recently, toward some of these brands, where they have a big campaign, like they'll strip down or get naked in a subway and hold up signs saying big is beautiful and that sort of thing. They want applause just for making it a political cause, but then when it comes time to put someone on the cover of a magazine, it's still like the same old people and really, it's not even models anymore. It's usually celebrities. It's more of like a very special everyone is beautiful edition, rather than just making every edition having different women in it.
Gillespie: Yeah, so it's … I mean, CPAC and we'll talk a little bit about that in a second, the Conservative Political Action Committee conference that you used to organize, but is there a problem with conservatives in the sense of like you said, okay, you want to integrate everybody and there's a funny bit in the novel where the protagonist realizes that one of her editors is getting all of her beauty tips from her drag queen brother and so that you have this woman who is very good looking and good at makeup actually learning everything from a drag queen, essentially. You have a lot of fun with that. I mean, don't conservatives at some point, every bit as much as maybe people on the left suddenly, they'll stop and say, 'Okay, that's enough diversity,' when you get to Greg Gutfeld's content. It's like, no, that's enough diversity. We don't need him or want him at the Huffington Post anymore. That's on the left, but then on the right they're like whoa, you know, if you're talking about gays, get the hell out type of stuff like. Obviously, I'm a special pleader for libertarianism as the one true religion, even if most libertarians are atheistic or agnostic, but is that a problem for conservatives where they want choice as long as it includes their preferences. Then, they seem to want to shut it down if, you know, it's hard being a conservative Muslim these days. Right?
De Pasquale: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, and some of them were shut out of CPAC for a couple years. Actually, I shouldn't say they were shut out. It was actually the opposite. They were let in and there were other people that had a problem with that. I think that it probably a lot now depends on the age because sometimes I'll do what you're not supposed to do and read the comments.
Gillespie: Big mistake. Yeah.
De Pasquale: Anytime Fox News tweets something like from The Five or from the Gutfeld show, you can tell who the older commenters are because they'll say they just don't get Gutfeld or Kat, Kat Timpf. I mean, I think it's probably more of an age thing and the problem is a lot of those older people are still the ones that are running for things, running organizations, and that sort of thing. I mean, I heard this week that to fill Al Franken's seat, Tim Pawlenty might run. I'm like, I've been hearing that name for the last 15 years and, you know, same with Roy Moore. I mean, to my knowledge I don't think he was ever at CPAC at least while I was there. I don't want to say that he was a joke, but he was already sort of fringe at that point and then here we are 15 years later and it's like he's still running for things and I'm kind of getting tired of all these small government people, you know, …
Gillespie: Who can remember when America actually had a small government they're that old.
De Pasquale: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Gillespie: It's like pre-Civil War.
De Pasquale: … talk about government being the problem, but then it's like, …
De Pasquale: … you know, Kelli Ward in Arizona. Every time she loses something, then it's like, well, what am I going to run for next?
Gillespie: Yeah, wow. Well, here, let me ask you because well …
De Pasquale: That's a separate rant I think …
De Pasquale: … than what you were asking me.
Gillespie: It's a different type of diversity where you want age diversity, too, because in any social movement, any political movement, any artistic movement needs, you know, you need older people and younger people. Then, excuse me, …
De Pasquale: Well, and that's …
Gillespie: … people who are curiously ageless and somewhere between very young and very old and never seem to get older.
De Pasquale: Yeah, well, I mean, and that's the thing. I mean, you can look at the followings of Ron Paul versus Tomi Lahren and you can see at some point age doesn't matter. I mean, Ron Paul has, I think, a younger following and I think Tomi has an older following.
Gillespie: Yeah, that's really interesting. Yeah, to think that Ron Paul, like Bernie Sanders, he's in his 70's, might even be 80 by now, and has a really young audience. Tomi Lahren is obviously the sweetheart of every wheelchair bound Fox News watcher in existence. Right?
De Pasquale: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I mean, I think like with Ron Paul or Bernie it's like, 'I'm not like a regular politician.' I'm like a cool politician and with Tomi or Ben Shapiro, you have this older audience that's looking and saying, 'I wish that's what my grandson or granddaughter was like.' They're all sort of looking at them in an aspirational type of way, but and that's why I think … This actually came up a lot at CPAC, you know, whenever people would say, oh, well you have to have this up and coming conservative speaker that no one's ever heard of and they'll help bring in kids. I had people's dads call me and say, well this person is 21 years old and he has a great following and, you know, he's a big fan of Ann Coulter, but Ann doesn't connect with college kids.
The fact is, Coulter and Ron Paul are the ones that brought the college students to CPAC. I won't name whose daddy called me, but he actually, you know, he's gone on and he's very well-known now, or at least within his world, so that shows how much I know. I think it's important, the diversity part, when you have the diversity of ideas, then that just lets everything sort of, everything else become equal. If it ends up being an older guy like Ron Paul, or if it ends up being a younger person like Dave Smith, I'm fine with however it shakes out.
Gillespie: Speaking of generations, the protagonist, Caroline, spends a lot of time knocking millennials in the book. This is obviously also a topic that you've covered satirically in The Social Justice Warrior Handbook. I'm assuming that you're a Gen Xer yourself based on various context clues and I've read all the Encyclopedia Brown books as a kid, so I'm very good at solving mysteries that don't require me going outside or taking on Bugs Meany. What is your take on millennials? For those who haven't heard of this new type of human, these are basically people born between 1981 and 2000. Is this a bad generation or is it the worst generation?
De Pasquale: Well, I don't know. I mean, the thing is, is just within that generation they've seen such differences. I mean, now we're talking about millennials who can be 36, next year 37 years old.
Gillespie: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
De Pasquale: I think there's definitely a difference between those and the ones that were born closer to 2000.
Gillespie: I'm at the tail end of the baby boom, so I'm actually in the original definition of Gen X, I would be Gen X, but I'm not. I'm a late Baby Boomer.
De Pasquale: Well, you can identify as Gen X.
Gillespie: I would choose not to. I would like to identify as, I don't know. As like a non-binary.
De Pasquale: You'd rather identify as a boomer?
Gillespie: Yeah, as a non-binary generation or something. I'm a-generational. Yes. That's right. I'm fluid in my …
De Pasquale: Okay. So, the older [millennials] ones are more like Gen X. Yeah, for sure.
De Pasquale: Yeah.
Gillespie: Then what is it, I mean, in all of this generational stuff, it is a lot of mumbo jumbo, but what would you say then because you seem to identify pretty strongly as Gen X and what's the defining attribute or stance of Gen X versus, say, millennials?
De Pasquale: I mean, I think for me it's probably technology based and that's that we didn't have … I think we had to work a little bit more for any connection to the outside world, whether that was your music or your movies or dating. I mean, I haven't dated anyone in the texting generation, so I think now it's harder because there's so many different choices that it's a little bit more niche. So, a generation doesn't necessarily have something that defines the whole generation. I mean, we sort of all had John Hughes movies, regardless of what you're into, everybody had that common thread of John Hughes movies or a type of music.
De Pasquale: Now, …
De Pasquale: … you can be like the type of person that only watches blockbuster horror movies or that only watches whatever ten Star Wars movies that have come out this year.
Gillespie: Yeah, what is your favorite John Hughes movie by the way? I'm going to bet it's Sixteen Candles.
De Pasquale: I almost said that and I was like oh, no, …
De Pasquale: … it sounds so cliché.
Gillespie: I don't know. Yeah, because I know you don't strike me as a Breakfast Club fan or Pretty in Pink because, you know, Pretty in Pink is a searing indictment of contemporary social mores.
De Pasquale: Yeah, Pretty in Pink, I can't get behind that because redheads don't look good in pink, so it's already starting from a false premise.
Gillespie: Alright, yeah. I was going to say that was not even James Spader's greatest role, although he's certainly fantastic in it. You know? He's good in everything, but well, so you travel in mostly conservative circles. Talk a little bit about how you used to organize CPAC, which is like the world's largest gathering of conservatives and you're tight with Ann Coulter, you appear regularly on Fox News. We've talked a little bit about this Fox host. In the book, Fox News hosts, such as Greg Gutfeld, Kennedy, who we both know well, and Kat Timpf, are name checked throughout the book. Coming from a conservative position, and I realize you've been kind of slowly migrating towards a centrist, libertarian position, but what do you make of Donald Trump so far as President and is he good or bad for the country, is he good or bad for conservatives?
De Pasquale: Well, I mean, yeah, really a little bit about it, I think the election of Trump, particularly when you look at how the establishment conservative media and politicians viewed him, I think just the election itself is a good thing for libertarians because he sort of blew up the model that you need all these people's backings in order to be the nominee. That's not to say that you have to be a famous person necessarily to do that, but that there's at least a different path. Whether it's using social media or using your own money or a combination of both, I mean, he really didn't even use that much …
Gillespie: His own money, yeah.
De Pasquale: … of his own money. Yeah.
Gillespie: His example, his kind of pathway is exciting really for anybody who's not part of the establishment, right, because there's a way in then. What about the content of his character or the content of his policies and his Twitter feed and things like that. Is this good or bad for the country, is it good or bad for conservatives?
De Pasquale: I mean, I think it's good for the country because it definitely like busts up everybody's comfort. You know, the media's comfort, conservative movement's comfort, and that's not to say that it's good whether they're changing conservative philosophy. I mean, it depends on what conservative philosophy is anymore. You have Bill Kristol talking about getting out of wars, so what is life? Right?
Gillespie: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's like … I mean, I think it's about time to start the rumor that like Paul McCartney, you know, he died in a car crash and was replaced by a look-alike or something.
De Pasquale: Yeah.
Gillespie: That can't be the real Bill Kristol.
De Pasquale: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think that he's unpredictable is a really good thing. Like, last night, when Roy Moore lost–
Gillespie: Right, and we're speaking the day after. This will air later, but we're speaking on, whatever it is, December 13th, the day after Judge Roy Moore lost the safest Senate seat in all of Christendom. So, you were going to say.
De Pasquale: I have to say it's a little weird that people keep comparing it to Sessions when no one was running against Sessions. It's not like there was a Democrat and a Republican and the Republican got 97%, but that's a separate thing. Everybody was basically gathered around their phones and their Twitter waiting for whatever crazy tweet Trump was going to write and it was a very gracious, like he did the night he won, gracious tweet and I just loved …
Gillespie: Well, I thought it was also that it self-gratifying where he said, you know, 'I endorsed Luther Strange.'
De Pasquale: That was this morning's tweet. Yeah. The first one was, you know, and I just remember it ended with, 'it never ends.'
De Pasquale: Like, see you in two years or whatever it was, but he put up a good fight and that sort of thing and won. I loved that you don't necessarily know what you're going to get from him and I think that part of it is that really gets people going is even when he tweets something that you think, 'Oh, I wish he wouldn't have tweeted that,' like if it's something like really petty, like going after celebrity or after someone in the media or something like that, that the overreaction from the left or from the media is so over the top that then it changes people's minds. I go from, you know, I wish he wouldn't tweeted that to saying, 'You know, I'm glad he tweeted it,' because it's now driven these people crazy. For me, I don't know if it's more that I've turned … For me, politics has become more of entertainment and being in DC almost 20 years now, it's not like I've seen a huge bunch of policy changes. Maybe that's what's left is now it's just entertainment.
Gillespie: That's a comforting idea that politics doesn't matter. I mean, I'd like to agree with that, although it is true that when you look at things like the national debt or foreign policy, shit can get real pretty quickly.
De Pasquale: Yeah, but I mean I think there's good things of hope. I mean, it was just announced last week that the DOD is actually going to finally do an audit. Now, whether or not you think it's going to be–
Gillespie: A good audit.
De Pasquale: –legit, but I mean at least it's a thing in the right direction because there's plenty of military folks, people like Terry Schappert that have said, 'There's ways to cut everywhere,' and they know more than anyone.
Gillespie: Yeah, yeah. No, so that is true. Maybe we're, I mean, some of the people and even including people like the actress, Susan Sarandon, who was a big progressive when Bernie got shut out of the Democratic nomination, she was like, 'You know what? I'm for Trump because he'll burn it down,' and in a way maybe that's part of what's happening here. Then, hopefully we will survive the ashes and rise up again. Are you happy or sad that Roy Moore got beat in Alabama?
De Pasquale: You know, it's funny. I said to someone the other day, I said, 'I think the perfect scenario would be Roy Moore wins and then dies of natural causes.'
Gillespie: Wow. Right and you're a Christian, right, so it's natural causes.
De Pasquale: I said of natural causes.
Gillespie: Okay. So, okay. Yeah. I thought you were going to say that Roy Moore wins, but then gets raptured. That would be pretty cool.
De Pasquale: Yeah. It will just be you and Doug Jones left.
Gillespie: Yeah, that's right. Well, that was, what's his name, Roy's brother had a great quote about how well, Doug Jones is going to pay with eternal damnation for winning this race. So, you know, I guess we all make choices. It's all trade-offs.
De Pasquale: Well, and that's the thing with Roy Moore, is I think, you know, Coulter had a column this week that was she secretly hoped Moore lost so that Mo Brooks could run in two years. I mean, I haven't been … I obviously know Roy Moore from lots of years and to me–
Gillespie: From being a teenage girl in the 1980's. You know Roy Moore. Yeah.
De Pasquale: I think I'm too old for him now, but so much of what I know about him is always these grandstanding moments. Whether it's the Ten Commandments or–
Gillespie: Yeah, the gay marriage. Yeah. Now, yeah, or everything.
De Pasquale: That sort of thing. I have no idea what he views on taxes and the size of government. I mean, I would have to–
Gillespie: He says he's against them or he wants to shrink the size of government and lower taxes, but he's excruciatingly vague on that while he can recite all of the torments that homosexuals will get in the afterlife. I guess that leads me to a final question to think about and the book that you wrote, which I Wish I Might, the novel, I found it very engaging. It's a fun read. I think it's a great holiday read and holiday gift and, you know, it's a fun world to inhabit and there's ideas in there as well as some plot points that are kind of fun and suspenseful, but then in that larger interest of having a conservative culture, meaning, you know, like cultural creation and production by conservative people, when somebody like Roy Moore is a standard bearer for the Republican Party, how can conservatives actually reach young people or have they just given up? I mean, this is a guy most people under 50, I would say, just don't share many of his values and even a lot of Christian conservatives, millennial conservatives are okay with things like gay marriage, with pot legalization. They are open to immigration, legal and even illegal. Can conservatives actually kind of engage voters before their ready for Medicare?
De Pasquale: Well, I mean, I think that they already are. I mean, obviously, Roy Moore, the choice has been made. He's not a standard bearer. He couldn't get, even among older Alabamans, couldn't get their votes, enough to win.
Gillespie: I should point out you're from Florida, so you already look down on Alabama, right?
De Pasquale: Well, I'm from North Florida, so I'm not that far from Georgia or I wasn't that far from Georgia or Alabama. It's kind of all the same. Half of my family's in Alabama, half of them are in Georgia, and the other half are in New York or Wisconsin.
De Pasquale: I think that for me, the people that are actually inspiring conservatives or cusp people like me who also are more toward libertarians are people like Gutfeld or, you know, Breitbart when he was alive, or Peter Thiel on the tech side. I mean, these are the people that they're looking to for ideas. They're not looking to politicians and that's probably the biggest problem is that they've already decided that politicians aren't going to be the ones with the answers.
Gillespie: Do you think that's because politicians don't have the answer or can't have the answers or just that the current crop of conservative politicians, Republicans, just don't have ideas that matter to people?
De Pasquale: Yeah, I mean, I think there is those that have ideas, I mean, if you want to call the talking point of being able to do your taxes on a postcard an idea, I mean, that's something that people say oh yeah, that's cool, but I think there's so much cynicism that they think there's no way Ted Cruz or Paul Ryan are ever going to make that happen. Now, even an idea like that is more looked at as a talking point.
Gillespie: It's kind of like an old man thing. Right? I mean, that implies that we would have the postal service and a postcard. Yeah, I mean it's like I don't even know. Thankfully, I haven't had to lick a stamp in decades. Yeah.
De Pasquale: You don't send Christmas cards?
Gillespie: I send holiday cards, I want to be inclusive, like Donald Trump, but no. Yeah, so that's kind of interesting and then what do you think the essential message of somebody like a Greg Gutfeld is?
De Pasquale: I think for him it's that he has a lot of the ideas or the philosophy of a conservative or, you know, on social issues more of a libertarian, but he tells it in a humorous way and for me, including people like him and you and Kat Timpf and even Milo in my book, the point of it was to normalize all of that and that it shouldn't be normal that your point of reference for politics is Lena Dunham and Chelsea Handler, but also these other people. I think humor is probably the biggest connector because that's something that you can't hide. I mean, and that's one of the problems that comedians are having with young people is whether they're offensive or not, I think publicly they're having a problem, but privately people are watching Milo or seeing Gutfeld tweet or post on Instagram and they're privately laughing. I think that's where the disconnect is, is at what point do we decide it's okay to laugh and have these ideas in public?
Gillespie: Thank you for saying that. Do you have a next project? I mean, this is your second book of the year. Right?
De Pasquale: Well, I actually just finished a third.
Gillespie: Oh, my God. Get out of here. You're making all of us feel bad.
De Pasquale: Well, it's co-authored with … It's an autobiography with a Gold Star family member who's a radio host and TV host. He actually fills in for Glenn Beck, but is very different for Glenn Beck on a lot of delivery and policy issues. He's kind of like a Mike Rowe type. He was a high school dropout and became an electrician and then lost his brother in Iraq. He just has a lot of good life lessons and things like that. That was really fun to write that type of book with him because our lives are very similar in that we both grew up with single moms and poor in Florida, but then he went on to great success and I'm just humming along.
Gillespie: Well, I think you're doing a little bit more than humming along, but we'll leave it there. Thank you for talking to the Reason podcast, Lisa De Pasquale.
De Pasquale: Thank you.
Gillespie: She is the author most recently of the excellent new novel, I Wish I Might. Lisa, thanks for talking with me. This has been the Reason podcast and I have been your host, Nick Gillespie. Please subscribe to us at iTunes and rate and review us while you're there.