Right, Left Debate Who Hates the Other More

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To conservative writer Dennis Prager, the "most telling" revelation from the endless JournoList controversy is that mainstream liberals truly, deeply hate conservatives. "There is simply nothing analogous among elite conservative journalists," he writes. Why, he asks, does the left hate "people of the right," instead of merely disagreeing or "be[ing] angry with them"?

He offers three possible answers: (1) "the Left thinks the Right is evil," (2) "when you don't confront real evil, you hate those who do," and (3) "the Left’s utopian vision is prevented only by the Right."

Two liberal bloggers stop him right there, questioning his premise: do liberals really hate conservatives more? The New Republic's Jonathan Chait says the claim "is hard to prove either way," and that "Prager makes no real attempt to justify it." For his part, Chait points out that Republicans think Democrats are more extreme than Democrats think Republicans are, and argues that Republicans "increasingly get their news from sources ... which portray Democrats in hysterical, apocalyptic terms."

Peter Waldman at The American Prospect isn't as restrained as Chait on this point:

Actually, survey data from sources like the National Election Studies has shown for a long time that conservatives have lower opinions of liberals than vice-versa. But I don't think that's what Prager is really talking about here--he's talking about raw hatred. People saying really, really nasty things. Like comparing your political opponents to Nazis, the way Glenn Beck does. Or advocating the murder of figures from the opposite party, like Ann Coulter does. Or regularly saying that people who disagree with you on the wisdom of going to war hate the troops and don't love America. It sure is good conservatives never stoop to that sort of thing but instead calmly and rationally critique the other side's policy prescriptions, without casting any aspersions on their character ... if you reach the point where you think conservatives don't hate liberals, for God's freakin' sake, you really have left planet Earth.
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