Former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards, who represented Oklahoma for 16 years, is the author of The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans. Before talking about how to fix our political party system, he talked Kit Kats (his favorite candy bar), Kurt Vonnegut (whose books he wishes he had written), and country music (he’s not a fan) in the Zócalo green room.
What’s your greatest irrational fear?
I’m assuming that every one of my fears is rational! I have a terrible fear of heights—I had the option, when I was born, to be tall, and the idea of being that tall was scary, so I chose not to be. The closer to the ground the better.
What book do you wish you had written?
Every book that Kurt Vonnegut wrote.
Who’s your favorite Oklahoma musician?
The Oklahoma City Philharmonic. I’m not a big country music fan. If you could redefine Taylor Swift as country, I would go there.
Where could we find you at 9:00 on a typical Friday night?
If it were during the winter when you had indoor courts, you’d find me playing tennis somewhere. Otherwise, you’d probably find me at home, watching baseball games.
What candy bar can’t you resist?
I have a real hard time getting past a Kit Kat bar. It really should be Almond Joy because sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t, and I always feel like a nut. But, no, the Kit Kat bar just is seductive.
Do you have any brand loyalties?
I love A&W Root Beer, and I like Dr. Pepper. I’m not a brand-loyal person. If I were, I wouldn’t have written my book because I’m supposed to be brand-loyal to the Republican Party, and I’m definitely not!
Who’s the nicest person you served with in Congress?
Wow. The nicest person? I never thought of the people I served with as nice or not nice. On a personal basis, they all are.
What body of water do you prefer to swim in?
I grew up in Oklahoma, where you had more water in your bathtub than in our rivers. I like Cape Cod—I like the beaches in Cape Cod, both the ocean side and the bay side.
If I live in a landslide state, why should I vote?
I think maybe what you should do is move out of a landslide state.
What are your favorite and least favorite flavors of ice cream?
There’s something wrong with that question. Because it presupposes that there’s something other than chocolate. It’s a beeline to the chocolate. I’m a total chocoholic.
What words or phrases set you off?
In a good way or a bad way? [Either.] Any phrase that oversimplifies something complex. One of my favorite sayings is that if it fits on a bumper sticker, it’s wrong.