American politics is more polarized than ever and civil discourse between conservatives and liberals has become a rare commodity. It’s hard to have a productive debate about issues when people from both sides toss around inflammatory comments, creating a climate of hate and intolerance. Even worse, each side features many high-profile politicians, pundits and celebrities who either through their role in office or in the media publically fan the flames of discontent. With that in mind, here’s a look at 10 conservatives that liberals love to hate. (Here’s a link to our earlier story, 10 Liberals That Conservatives Love to Hate.)
10. Newt Gingrich
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich served as a Fox News commentator until he embarked on a bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. His second ex-wife claimed he lacked the moral character to serve as president, and most liberals would heartily agree. Gingrich espouses family values although he’s been married three times and is a two-time adulterer, and he once even claimed that his “affairs” made him more “normal” than GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney. Of course, we haven’t even touched on Gingrich’s work in Congress targeting programs dear to liberals.
9. Pat Buchanan
Many liberals accuse Pat Buchanan of being a racist, an anti-Semite and a homophobe. Following the release of his 2011 book, Suicide of A Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025, which features a chapter titled, “The End of White America,” Buchanan was dropped by MSNBC after 10 years as an analyst with the network. In response, the former two-time GOP presidential candidate complained to Fox News that liberal groups such as Media Matters had blacklisted him. Buchanan has been making controversial statements for years, however; he once said that President Barack Obama’s path to the White House was the result of “affirmative action all the way.”
8. Sean Hannity
With a nationally syndicated talk radio show and a Fox News TV show, Sean Hannity has ample opportunity to lambast the left, and he does it with zeal. He makes this list instead of such conservative stalwarts as Bill O’Reilly, as he is considered far more extreme and is thus more despised by the left. That hatred from the left is not surprising, since he seemingly equates liberalism with terrorism; his 2004 book is entitled Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberals. Hannity’s hatred for President Obama is unabashed, and he enjoys attacking “the anointed one” at every opportunity. Until 2009 he shared the stage with liberal Alan Colmes on Fox News’ longest-running show, Hannity & Colmes, before embarking on his solo gig.
7. Michelle Bachmann
Representative Michele Bachmann has called for a revolution against “President Obama’s Marxist tyranny” and accused Obama of running a “gangster government.” So she’s no friend of liberals, who hate just about anything she says. She is an outspoken advocate of the Tea Party, which earns her even more contempt from the left, and of course she made a bid for the 2012 GOP nomination where she used all her best zingers against Obama and liberals. Bachmann has been prone to make strange statements that leave many people shaking their heads, such as when she referred to natural phenomena, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, and claimed (hopefully in jest) that they were an order from God to cut government spending. Bachmann also said she had an “endorsement” from God to enter the 2012 presidential race.
6. Rupert Murdoch
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is one of the most influential figures of our time, and is despised by liberals on both sides of the Atlantic. Murdoch’s News Corporation owns Fox News, which liberals loathe. In Great Britain, the 2011 phone-hacking scandal that led to the shutdown of the tabloid News of the World eroded both Murdoch’s credibility and his empire. Murdoch has also come under fire for pursuing political agendas; liberals especially condemned News Corporation’s financial contributions that helped elect Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections.
5. President George W. Bush
President Bush spent much of his last year in office with record-low public approval ratings in the 20s, so people on both sides of the political aisle disapproved of his performance as president. But Bush continues to be especially hated (and ridiculed) by the left. He’s accused of stealing the 2000 presidential election, lying about WMDs, and harshly criticized for the invasion of Iraq, his tax cuts for the rich, his handling of the economy and the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, among other things. Many liberals see him as arrogant and incompetent, a president who divided the country brought together briefly by 9/11. Bush was, however, very popular with comedians, as his gaffes provided them with great material during his eight-year administration.
4. Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin has been the butt of late-night TV humor since she was selected as John McCain’s running mate in 2008. Liberals are appalled by her apparent lack of knowledge and intellectual curiosity, which they find troubling for someone who could have held such a pivotal role. Palin was ridiculed for inane comments made during the campaign, her disastrous interviews with Katie Couric, and her poor performance in the VP debates. Tina Fey’s depiction of the former Alaska governor, is of course, legendary.
3. Ann Coulter
A controversial author, columnist and political commentator, Ann Coulter is known for her outrageous comments, some of which are so extreme they offend both liberals and conservatives. She’s considered by many liberals to be a brash, attention-seeking, right-wing “telebimbo,” and Coulter in turn seems to court their hatred and even revel in it. Her biting remarks seemingly know no limits — she once said that even “Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do.” She has written many books attacking liberal ideology, including her 2011 work, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America. It’s not the first time Coulter has used religious imagery to describe liberals; one of her previous bestsellers is Godless: The Church of Liberalism.
2. Glenn Beck
With his inflammatory rhetoric and bitter disdain of liberal policies, radio talk show host Glenn Beck takes our No. 2 spot. Millions tune in to his daily radio show to listen to him talk about the left’s “evil agenda.” Many have called him irresponsible for comparing progressive leaders to Stalin, Mao and Nazi Germany. Beck, who is famous for his apocalyptic forecasts and conspiracy theories, has accused Jewish billionaire and progressive activist George Soros of being a “puppet master,” and called progressivism a disease. He left Fox News in 2011 and now hosts a three-hour show on his Internet TV network, GBTV.
1. Rush Limbaugh
Limbaugh rates No. 1 on this list not just for his mean-spirited rhetoric, but because the very existence and popularity of his radio show shows that there are millions of like-minded individuals in the United States — a troubling prospect for liberals. Limbaugh is well known for his derogatory remarks about liberal women, and has been particularly hateful toward Hillary Clinton. He’s courted controversy since the beginning of his nationally syndicated radio career, and doesn’t seem to have mellowed with age. Both liberals and conservatives criticized him in early 2012 after he called a Georgetown law student a “slut,” for testifying before Congress on contraception use. As a result, he’s lost nearly two-dozen advertisers and has since apologized. Limbaugh’s detractors also like to point out his hypocrisy in condemning illegal drug activity on his show, while later being arrested for illegally obtaining prescription drugs. The charge was dismissed under the condition that Limbaugh receive treatment for his addiction to painkillers.