This kind of scary hatred, my dad used to tell me, comes only from the right wing--in his day from people such as the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, with his tirades against "communists and their fellow travelers." The word "McCarthyism" became a red flag for liberals, signifying the far right's fascistic tactics of labeling anyone a "communist" or "socialist" who favored an active federal government to help the middle class and the poor, and to level the playing field.Young Lanny still believes in the hateful right, which must be both a torment--meanies everywhere!--and a comfort. Finding nice people on the right would create a cognitive dissonance that would cause young Lanny to implode. It'd be like discovering that Jews don't have horns or that the Irish don't sell their children for whisky.
I came to believe that we liberals couldn't possibly be so intolerant and hateful, because our ideology was famous for ACLU-type commitments to free speech, dissent and, especially, tolerance for those who differed with us. And in recent years--with the deadly combination of sanctimony and vitriol displayed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Michael Savage--I held on to the view that the left was inherently more tolerant and less hateful than the right.
UPDATE: There are not any mean people on the left, you lying &*%##$, Lanny Davis!