When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

03 December 2006

Mad as Hell

Dobbs’s actual politics are not easily categorized, and his book, like his nightly program, contains opinions that are both satisfying and infuriating to the right and the left. On Dobbs’s office wall is a framed drawing with a note from Kurt Vonnegut: “You, as the only big-time television personality capable of not only feeling but experiencing sorrow for American working stiffs, are our hero.” The left, to which Vonnegut belongs, can embrace Dobbs for his opposition to big corporations and his support for a higher minimum wage, national health insurance, and abortion rights. The right likes him for his views on immigration, political correctness, gun control, the United Nations, and all efforts to limit American sovereignty. Dobbs believes that the middle class, which he has described as being composed of two hundred and fifty million Americans, is taken for granted, an argument that could be challenged by those who point to the growth of middle-class entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare, or to the unwillingness of elected officials to offend this constituency by curbing entitlements.

Although Dobbs opposes gun control and supports a woman’s right to an abortion, he calls these fake “wedge issues” designed “to excite a certain base.” He opposes holidays that celebrate a group rather than a nation, and on his program last spring, when a Hispanic-rights activist defended the displaying of the Mexican flag as an expression of ethnic pride, like that exhibited on St. Patrick’s Day, he told her, “Let’s be clear. I don’t think there should be a St. Patrick’s Day.”

Mad As Hell: Lou Dobbs's Populist Crusade (Ken Auletta, The New Yorker, December 4, 2006)

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