From the 1950s, before Ike had even left the White House, Vidal was announcing that the right-wingers had seized the Republican party from the sensible members of a generation before; a generation later, the right-wingers had seized the party from the sensible members of a generation before; and so on, for half a century. In his world “the generals” were always two ticks away from declaring war and imposing martial law; the theocracy would be arranged before the decade was out; he saw the dying embers of capitalism; and the dark curtain of fascism was falling even as you were reading his words.
Try keeping that up for 50 years! No wonder he was a hero to the Personages. For them too every day is Groundhog Day, bringing fresh news from the day before about what won’t happen tomorrow. His career must stand as a great reassurance.
He ends the piece with one of the greatest sentences I've ever read:
If you’re wrong in the right way, all will be forgiven, until everyone forgets that there was ever anything to forgive.