I don't have a problem with people disagreeing with my fiscal conservatism. But the personal nature of this attack (if you can read it through the invasive BP ad) is really over the top:

3.) The fundamental thing you need to understand when talking to deficit hawks is that when they say something is painful or that cuts will hurt people, you need to recognize that what they really mean is that the cuts will be painful TO SOMEONE ELSE and hurt people THEY DON’T KNOW AND WILL NEVER MEET. That’s why it’s so easy to be a condescending asshole about the budget.

Actually, my own position - that we should focus future cuts on the wealthier elderly (by means-testing, higher premiums based on income, etc), that sending social security checks to Warren Buffet is unaffordable, that the Bush tax cuts on those earning over $250,000 should go because of the fiscal crisis, that defense should be on the table - doesn't seem like an attack on the poor. If I live long and prosper, I'd be the one getting taxed at much higher rates, getting much less social security and paying bigger premiums and bigger co-pays for Medicare. I also supported the health insurance law. To personalize this and say it's all because I have contempt for "people I will never meet" seems bizarre. I have met one of those who will be much worse off if we can end the federal debt on Bowles-Simpson lines and he's staring at me in the bathroom mirror every morning.

And then there's this swipe at my own privilege of:

taking a month off from writing on the internet to recover from a cold.

Three weeks, actually. Cole adds his own personal touch to attacking me for being lazy rather than sick. I haven't given every single detail of my own bout of illness for what small shred is left of my privacy. But when you are HIV-positive for 17 years and have a triple viral, bacterial and fungal infection in your already asthmatic lungs, are attached to a nebulizer because you cannot breathe even when stationary, and lose half your t-cells in a month, you're not just "recovering from a cold". Yes, I am lucky to have an employer's health insurance. That's why I backed a law that makes it possible for everyone to have access to such insurance. But just because I believe that the debt will kill us unless we tackle defense, revenues and Medicare, I am a heartless, insulated, lying asshole. Really: you have to resort to this kind of nastiness to make a point?

I guess they do. It's all they seem to have. But I wish their own sick blogger all the best and hope he recovers soon.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.