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Beautiful but evil

Controversial pundit Arianna Huffington to speak at Cal Poly

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This Thursday, Oct. 19, one-time California gubernatorial candidate and political pundit Arianna Huffington will offer a free talk called "A Political Update: Focus on California," at 7 p.m. in Cal Poly's Spanos Theater, followed by questions and a book signing.

Huffington, who talked to New Times by phone, describes herself

TALKING THE TALK :  No-nonsense political pundit Arianna Huffington will speak at Cal Polys Spanos Theater on Oct. 19. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
  • TALKING THE TALK : No-nonsense political pundit Arianna Huffington will speak at Cal Polys Spanos Theater on Oct. 19.
# as a "former right-winger who has evolved into a compassionate and progressive populist."

She founded the on-line blog the Huffington Post. Her latest book is On Becoming Fearless.... in Love, Work, and Life. She was married for a time to former U.S. Rep. Michael Huffington, who lost an expensive bid for U.S. Senator to Diane Feinstein in 1994.

The Huffingtons divorced in 1997 and the following year Michael announced he was gay. Shortly thereafter, Arianna shifted from conservatism to liberalism and began a career as a political writer. During the Gray Davis recall election, she briefly threw her hat into the political ring before withdrawing.

Huffington has been denounced as a "right-wing Lady Macbeth," and her former husband's campaign manager described her in his memoirs as "beautiful" but "evil," a phrase that became a national joke. Her friends Bill Maher and Al Franken continue to introduce her as "the beautiful but evil Arianna Huffington."

New Times Is the future of news bloggers? Is there any way to protect them from succumbing to special interests?

Arianna Huffington It's never going to be either/or. Here's part of a speech I gave about this: I hate it when people try to get you to choose sides. Are you into print or online? Yahoo News or the New York Times? Blogs or Newsweek? As if these are either/or distinctions. The more I hear this kind of talk, the more I realize that it has about as much real-world relevance as "tastes great" vs. "less filling."It's as outdated as the old Ginger vs. Mary Ann barroom argument. Why do we have to choose?This is 2006 why not just have a three-way? After all, polyamory is very hot right now. We have polygamy on HBO we can have polygamedia in our consumption habits.

As for special interests, unfortunately, the only way is fearlessness. That's partly why I wrote this book. Whether for political leadership or media, it ultimately comes down to our own willingness to stand up to what we believe, not kowtow to power.

New Times Do you believe the current administration is actually considering war with North Korea, or do you believe they know we're spread so thin already that it would mean economic suicide? Also, do you think our joint wars are emboldening North Korea?

Arianna Huffington There's no question that the Bush administration's disastrous mismanagement of foreign policy has undermined America's standing in the world, and emboldened our enemies. As for North Korea, their testing a nuke is real bad news. But I couldn't help but wonder what political use Karl Rove and the president would put this real bad news to. After all, banging the fear-gong and trying to scare the hell out of us has worked like a charm for President Bush and the GOP.

New Times How do you respond to charges that you're a demagogue? I mean, calling in your recent Playboy interview Bush a dry drunk who hasn't gotten to the bottom of the cause of his addiction may be an astute observation, but it seems a tad polemic.

Arianna Huffington Polemic ... but true!

New Times How damaging has Arnold Schwarzenegger been to the state of California? If you had been elected, how would the state be different?

Arianna Huffington Very. He's been damaging when it comes to education, to health care, to keeping corporate welfare in check and, of course, he's been damaging by having helped elect George Bush, campaigning for him in Ohio, [which] means he's been bad not just for California but for the nation. As for how California would be different, we wouldn't have a governor who thinks Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans are all the same and are "hot" because of a mix of "black blood" and "Latino blood."

New Times What can people expect from your appearance at Cal Poly on Oct. 19?

Arianna Huffington Fearlessness, fireworks, and fun.

"Beautiful but evil"

Controversial pundit Arianna Huffington to speak at Cal Poly

This Thursday, Oct. 19, one-time California gubernatorial candidate and political pundit Arianna Huffington will offer a free talk called "A Political Update: Focus on California," at 7 p.m. in Cal Poly's Spanos Theater, followed by questions and a book signing.

Huffington, who talked to New Times by phone, describes herself as a "former right-winger who has evolved into a compassionate and progressive populist."

She founded the on-line blog the Huffington Post. Her latest book is On Becoming Fearless.... in Love, Work, and Life. She was married for a time to former U.S. Rep. Michael Huffington, who lost an expensive bid for U.S. Senator to Diane Feinstein in 1994.

The Huffingtons divorced in 1997 and the following year Michael announced he was gay. Shortly thereafter, Arianna shifted from conservatism to liberalism and began a career as a political writer. During the Gray Davis recall election, she briefly threw her hat into the political ring before withdrawing.

Huffington has been denounced as a "right-wing Lady Macbeth," and her former husband's campaign manager described her in his memoirs as "beautiful" but "evil," a phrase that became a national joke. Her friends Bill Maher and Al Franken continue to introduce her as "the beautiful but evil Arianna Huffington."

New Times Is the future of news bloggers? Is there any way to protect them from succumbing to special interests?

Arianna Huffington It's never going to be either/or. Here's part of a speech I gave about this: I hate it when people try to get you to choose sides. Are you into print or online? Yahoo News or the New York Times? Blogs or Newsweek? As if these are either/or distinctions. The more I hear this kind of talk, the more I realize that it has about as much real-world relevance as "tastes great" vs. "less filling."It's as outdated as the old Ginger vs. Mary Ann barroom argument. Why do we have to choose?This is 2006 why not just have a three-way? After all, polyamory is very hot right now. We have polygamy on HBO we can have polygamedia in our consumption habits.

As for special interests, unfortunately, the only way is fearlessness. That's partly why I wrote this book. Whether for political leadership or media, it ultimately comes down to our own willingness to stand up to what we believe, not kowtow to power.

New Times Do you believe the current administration is actually considering war with North Korea, or do you believe they know we're spread so thin already that it would mean economic suicide? Also, do you think our joint wars are emboldening North Korea?

Arianna Huffington There's no question that the Bush administration's disastrous mismanagement of foreign policy has undermined America's standing in the world, and emboldened our enemies. As for North Korea, their testing a nuke is real bad news. But I couldn't help but wonder what political use Karl Rove and the president would put this real bad news to. After all, banging the fear-gong and trying to scare the hell out of us has worked like a charm for President Bush and the GOP.

New Times How do you respond to charges that you're a demagogue? I mean, calling in your recent Playboy interview Bush a dry drunk who hasn't gotten to the bottom of the cause of his addiction may be an astute observation, but it seems a tad polemic.

Arianna Huffington Polemic ... but true!

New Times How damaging has Arnold Schwarzenegger been to the state of California? If you had been elected, how would the state be different?

Arianna Huffington Very. He's been damaging when it comes to education, to health care, to keeping corporate welfare in check and, of course, he's been damaging by having helped elect George Bush, campaigning for him in Ohio, [which] means he's been bad not just for California but for the nation. As for how California would be different, we wouldn't have a governor who thinks Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans are all the same and are "hot" because of a mix of "black blood" and "Latino blood."

New Times What can people expect from your appearance at Cal Poly on Oct. 19?

Arianna Huffington Fearlessness, fireworks, and fun.

Glen Starkey is voting for Pedro. Contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com

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