Famed futurist Ray Bradbury has captivated readers since the 1940s with classic novels such as “The Martian Chronicle” and “Fahrenheit 451.” He turns 90 on Sunday, and the city of Los Angeles is honoring him with a week of tributes, readings and film screenings centered around his work.
As part of the celebration, Mr. Bradbury gave a wide-ranging interview to the Los Angeles Times. Along with his views on the future and technology, Mr. Bradbury made it clear where his politics stand — with the Tea Party movement.
“I think our country is in need of a revolution,” Mr. Bradbury said. “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.”
Many people are surprised to learn Mr. Bradbury is a conservative. He didn’t start out that way. Raised a staunch Democrat, he took out a full-page ad in Variety, the show-business Bible, after the 1952 victory of Dwight Eisenhower. His “open letter” to Republicans warned: “Every attempt that you make to identify the Democratic Party as the party of Communism, as the ‘left-wing’ or ‘subversive’ party, I will attack with all my heart and soul.”
But Lyndon Johnson’s subsequent mishandling of the Vietnam War left him disenchanted, and he voted Republican for the first time in 1968. Although he considers himself an independent, he has since voted for the GOP in every presidential election save 1976, when he voted for Jimmy Carter. But as his biographer Sam Weller explains, Mr. Carter’s inept handling of the economy “pushed [Mr. Bradbury] permanently away from the Democrats.”
Other Democratic presidents haven’t fared much better with him. He once described President Clinton with a word that rhymes with “knithead.” As for President Obama, Mr. Bradbury is mad that he is curtailing the space program. “He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon,” he told the Times.
Mr. Bradbury calls himself an “ardent blasphemer” and delights in opposing political correctness. As he celebrates his 90th birthday, here’s hoping this iconic author continues to entertain and challenge us into the future.
– John Fund