Bobbing for Airtime

Illustration by Bob AulThe Bob Dornan who showed up as a panelist on ABC's Politically Incorrect on Oct. 3 was more subdued and less overtly insane than the bitter, defeated ex-congressman Orange Countians have grown to loathe. Hell, “B-1 Bunghole” even looked different: more forehead, more flowing red hair in the back and a Jeremiah Johnson-style beard. And for pretty much the entire special post-presidential-debate episode, Dornan kept the faade together, never once getting all red-faced and screaming about commies and fags. Perhaps he was intimidated by host Bill Maher, who once confided to the Weekly that as a guest, Dornan was “just a nut” and “completely out of control.” Or it could have been the other esteemed panelists: ex-prosecutor-turned-GOP-cheerleader Barbara Olson, rabble-rousing Lefty documentarian Michael Moore and “literary icon” Gore Vidal, who glided onto the set like a parade float. But Dornan did spark this humorous exchange when he suggested George Dubya Bush will win the presidency in November because, unlike Al Gore, he has two years of U.S. Air Force pilot training under his belt:

DORNAN: Bush was a supersonic Air Force interceptor fighter pilot.

MAHER: Bush was in what they called the “champagne division.”


MAHER: He was—with the son of Senator Lloyd Bentsen, the son of John Connelly . . .

MOORE [sitting next to Dornan]: And they couldn't find him half the time.

DORNAN: But they were pilots.

MAHER: Okay, Gore went to Vietnam. I think that was a little more dangerous than Fort Worth.


DORNAN: No, it wasn't. With a typewriter?

OLSON: He was a reporter.

[More applause.]

MAHER: Wait a second! Wait a second!

DORNAN: I've done this. Bill, when you get into a supersonic fighter alone and push the throttle forward . . .

[Moore pushes an imaginary throttle forward; the audience starts chuckling.]

DORNAN: . . . kick it into an afterburner . . .

[Moore jerks his throttle to the right; more laughter.]

DORNAN: . . . and you're down that runway . . .

[Moore sticks his arms out like imaginary wings and goes “Neeeyowww!!!” to sound like a plane; the audience howls.]

DORNAN: . . . [it's] the most dangerous thing you can do.


MAHER: Please. Okay, unless he was going to get shot down by a Delta flight heading to Fort Lauderdale, I don't think that's the most dangerous thing.

EARTH TO BOB Dornan knows firsthand how dangerous fighter-jet flying can be. As R. Scott Moxley has frequently noted in the Weekly (most recently in “Reveille for Ridiculous,” April 16, 1999), Dornan likes to imply he was a “bloodied” combat veteran. During his failed 1996 presidential bid, he told reporters, “I have bled for my country. . . . I came as close to death as Bob Dole.” Of course, unlike Dole's life-scarring injuries sustained during savage World War II combat, Dornan's bloody nose came when he crashed a training plane as an Air Force reserve pilot during peacetime in Arizona. Neeeyowww!!!

OH, THE INSANITY You'd think Moore would have found sitting next to Dornan a dangerous thing. In his 1996 book Downsize This!, Moore recounted how he tried to have Dornan committed to a mental institution and filed a petition with the Orange County registrar of voters to invalidate votes cast for Dornan on the basis that anyone who voted for him was “mentally unstable.” But when asked after the Politically Incorrect taping if there were any off-air fisticuffs, Moore told Clockwork he spent two hours with Dornan backstage watching the debate, and “by the time we came out onstage, all animosity had subsided.”

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