Octogenarian Claire Simpson is perhaps best known first for being a dog park regular with her matching full-sized and miniature greyhounds. Secondly, she’s the mind behind the Defoliate the Bushes bumper sticker. With her new online store, Mischief Unlimited (mischiefunlimited.com), Simpson has expanded her catalog with T-shirts, mugs and other novelties.

DM: I’ve heard the commercials on Air America, ‘From the people who brought you Defoliate the Bushes.’ How did you come up with that?***image1***


Well, I have a very active, whimsical, playful, nasty brain and every now and then, it sends me a message. One of the messages was ‘Defoliate the Bushes.’

How long ago was this?

How long ago? I’m terrible with time. I think it was, maybe, three years ago. I had a stroke in November and my memory, which was always lousy, has grown lousier.

I guess it’s a fairly broad question to ask what your life was like, but…

I think I was a rebel from the delivery room. I guess I always knew I was smart and never gave much of a damn of what others thought. And there’s a very sad downside to that but, you know, you take the whole thing.

What is the sad downside?

Alienating people. I mean, I don’t know what I’m going to say until I hear it. I’ve said some nasty things, some of which I’m not in the least sorry about, but some of which I wish I hadn’t said.

Were you politically active throughout your life?

I had no interest in politics until Watergate. When Watergate happened, I had nose marks on the TV screen. I was glued. Then I sort of lost interest. I hated old what’s-his-name…Reagan. He always looked to me like he’d had a stroke which showedâ€"mine doesn’t show. His wife was a mannequin. I loved Carter, who was much too much of a gentleman to be a president. You’ve got to be something of a bastard to be the head of anything successful, unfortunately.

What do you think of the candidates now?  Are they all bastards?

‘McCain’s insane, the country’s in tatters/Obama or Clinton, do you think that it matters?’ That’s one of my poems.

You write poetry as well?

Political poems, yes.

What emotion is involved when you come up with these things?

Delight. I’m really delighted with my brain. I really am. It brings me the kind of thing I’m sharing with you.

Will the company just continue doing bumper stickers or grow into something else?

Oh no. I had an idea for ‘Underwear from the Underworld.’

What does that mean?

Jockey shorts. The fly would say, ‘Cheney the Prick’ and the rear would say, ‘Bush the  Asshole.’ And under the waistband, it would say, ‘Clean only with laundered money.’

That’s pretty good.

They’re damn good! You know they’re better than pretty good.

Do you find that there are a lot of people in Santa Fe who think like you do?

I think there are very few people who think like I do.

Do you think it’s easier to express yourself now than in the ’60s?

Oh, hell no! Now it’s potentially dangerous. The president can declare anyone he wants an enemy of the state, or whatever the hell it is, and imprison them.

Is there anything I’ve glossed over?


What about aging?

Well if anyone asked about, you know, ‘How do you live to be this old?’ my response is, ‘Just keep breathing. Say and do what you damn please, but be ready to take the consequences.’ That’s the part nobody wants to do.

But you’re prepared to take the consequences?

I have taken the consequences. I live alone, I have, I consider, relatively few friends. But I have integrity. I mean if I’d pass a mirror, I don’t have to duck; I have to duck because of the wrinkles, but I don’t have to duck because I can’t look myself in the eye.

It’s important not to compromise.