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I work in the dramatically liberal field of Human Services, and I do not bring up politics at work unless
A) The other person is aware of my conservatism and is comfortable with it, agree or not.
B) The other person is a repeat offender making bigoted statements about conservatives. Come to think of it, I seldom mention politics at those points, but make comments about reasoning or prejudice.
C) My comment is nonthreatening enough to dampen possible hostility. For example, a Will Rogers quote or a comment about Calvin Coolidge or politicians in general is seldom problematic.
Today, the day after the NH primary, had many Democrats making remarkably hostile comments to each other. I have not heard this before, and I have worked there since 1978.
I walked into a nearby office in which one resident was stating, with no little asperity "I think she's a vindictive bitch." Sensing some nastiness brewing, I tried to rescue the situation. "No, see, that's the part I like about her. I can visualize a Maggie Thatcher/Falklands scenario with Hillary. I like irritability, which is why I liked McCain and Thompson." No one thought that was in the least humorous, nor did my offering my Republican neck in sacrifice distract them.
I stumbled upon other angry, defensive people throughout the day. "But what has Obama done? What's his resume?" "I think that crying of hers was fake." "She was tired from campaigning, why wouldn't she cry?" It was fun for me, because I had whole new audiences for my line about having Obama at least run a golf tournament before we make him president, and mentioning that a Democratic strategist had recommended that Hillary appear more vulnerable just a few days ago. I thought many times during the day how the criticisms of Hillary are exactly - did I mention precisely? - what the most fevered of right wingnuts have been saying for over a decade. I didn't say that out loud, of course, but I marveled at it. Criticisms that aroused rage and accusation a decade ago even when watered down are now considered common knowledge among Democrats. Seemingly, half of them know that Hillary is corrupt and deceitful and say it more forcefully than Republicans were allowed to in polite conversation as recently as a year ago. The netroots even has people accusing Hillary of stealing the election with Diebold machines. I can only conclude that deceit and corruption were not considered a problem when they were used for uh, good causes.
Will it last? I rather doubt it. Like siblings who fight but defend each other to outsiders, it may all calm down for the general election. As a conservative, I'd love to see the light dawn on many, but I don't expect it. Something interesting in all this, though. Close elections in the primaries won't hurt Republicans at all - they will keep issues in the forefront. Media likes to focus on horserace news, which is never to conservatives advantage. But state-by-state close primaries won't do the Democrats any good at all. Pressure reveals truth.
Update: Much the same today. Psychologists were much worried about what it meant about NH that people would tell pollsters they voted for Obama when they hadn't. It was mentioned with meaningful glance that this used to be a Republican state. Oh sure. Like the behavior of Democrats is our fault. Sheesh.