In the New York Times’ Style section today, reporter Penelope Green takes a visit to the home of a couple who is showing us that love really does trump hate. Margaret Hoover, a conservative political analyst who worked in the George W. Bush White House, and her husband John Avlon, a former editor of The Daily Beast and anchor at CNN, are married, and live together in seemingly apolitical bliss.
Avlon, a self-described centrist and author of books like Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics, and Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, must have found it hard overcoming his strong ideals to marry his spouse, whom he met when they were both working on Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. Wait, what?
Yes, that’s right, this example of love overcoming difference was born on a conservative candidate’s campaign, where the couple worked together (and failed) to elect someone who has most recently been in the news as a lawyer for the dumbest president of all time. It’s almost like it was meant to be.
The Times writes:
[Avlon] avoided Washington after Yale, and went to work for Mr. Giuliani because he believed that he could be more effective in city politics. Mr. Avlon is fond of quoting Fiorello LaGuardia: “There’s no Democratic or Republican way of cleaning the streets.”
Yeah, it’s not like there’s a widely hated and still popular policy that is directly the result of Giuliani’s “way of cleaning the streets”.
The most absurd part of this story of not-so-star-crossed lovers is the assumption that they would have any reason to disagree at all. Not only is Avlon a proponent of the toothless kind of centrism that posits that we all basically have the same goals and if we are just open to debate and assume good faith we can all get along. He’s also, clearly, fairly well off. He’s an anchor at CNN, where we can presume he makes enough money to pay for half of their their historic Gramercy Park duplex, a neighborhood in the middle of Manhattan that surrounds a private garden that’s inaccessible to everyone except a few lucky millionaires.
Hoover, on the other hand, is the great-granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, the American president best known for his ineffective response to the Great Depression. If you don’t remember from high school, the homeless encampments that popped up regularly in 1920’s America were dubbed Hoovervilles. She’s part of a political dynasty that passed down their regressive views.
It’s hard to imagine any reason why this couple would struggle to get along. They’re both wealthy. They’re both white. They both have cushy jobs in the mainstream media. They both attended fancy prep schools. Truly, there is more that unites them than that divides them.
The Times’ theory that their marriage can teach us anything about “overcoming the orthodoxies that divide us” is ridiculous. Like most political elites, these people—despite their minor differences in approach—want the same things. They want stability, to uphold the status quo that keeps them and their friends in fancy apartments and nice jobs.
Liberals (or “centrists”) may disapprove of conservative policy on a service level, and I’m sure Avlon voted for Hillary. But as we see in Congress, they have a hell of a lot more in common with rich Republicans than they do with the working class, not to mention the undocumented migrants whom the president they claim to hate is currently torturing at our border. Only a paper that represents the interests of this group above all others could mistake this convenient partnership for anything other than business as usual.