Monday, September 26, 2005
In past columns, I’ve mentioned the tendency of people to come up to you — even if they don’t know you very well, or don’t know your politics — and say, “I hate Bush.” This happens with incredible frequency. Right-leaning friends of mine mention it all the time. People — in New York, in particular — come up to any Tom, Dick, or Harry and say, “I hate Bush.” They say it in full confidence that the other guy will agree. To them, it’s almost like saying, “I like puppy dogs and ice cream.” And yet, would you — a conservative — ever say, “I hate Hillary Clinton,” or “I hate Jimmy Carter,” or “I hate Barbra Streisand”? I can’t imagine it.
It might have to do with the towns in which I’ve lived (Ann Arbor, Cambridge, etc.). If you’re a conservative, you simply expect that others will revile your beliefs. I used to say, “I assume everyone’s a drunk, an adulterer, and an anti-Semite, until proven otherwise.” And in politics — more narrowly construed! — I always assume some variety of leftism. For one thing, it’s safer.