10 questions with ‘I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next To A Republican’ author Harry Stein

Harry Stein is the author of, “‘I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next To A Republican,'” recently released in paperback.

Stein, who is a contributing editor of City Journal, recently agreed to answer 10 questions from TheDC about his book and current events:

1. Why did you decide to write the book?

I guess maybe it was one dinner party too many where my wife and I found ourselves surrounded by the sorts of insufferably smug liberals who assume that everyone with a brain agrees with them and are wont to say things like: “Carter may not have been the greatest president, but he is definitely the greatest EX-president.” I mean, as I describe in the book, until recently we were living in a community, the New York suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson, where to be a conservative was akin to being (the term of general usage for George W. Bush) a Nazi. And knowing there were lots of people in the same situation in deep blue locales all over the country, I figured such a book might provide them some solace in their sense of isolation. Interestingly enough, when the book appeared in hardback, and a piece about it appeared in the local weekly, all kinds of secret conservatives in my town came out of the closet – if not publicly, at least to me. People stopped me on the streets urgently whispering that they were one, too; one woman, spotting me as she drove by, screeched to a halt so suddenly she actually caused a fender bender.

By the way, the book’s title is a verbatim quote – somebody said it to me at one of those dinner parties in the spring of 2008, when I dared to raise the issue of Obama’s lack of experience.

2. You have a chapter titled, “Dinner Party Mischief – or, how to lose friends and influence no one, but while having fun.” How do you do that?

It’s premised on the notion of liberal dishonesty – the fact that they profess to believe things they actually don’t because to do otherwise would mean bucking the party line. For example, liberals know they’re supposed to be for affirmative action – but a lot of them also know, deep in their hearts, that racial preferences are an abomination, violating the basic sense of equity and fair play we learned as kids. And they ESPECIALLY know that if their own kids are applying to elite colleges where they are apt to be aced out by minorities with lesser qualifications. So what the wily conservative can do is throw out the topic in a very neutral way – say, by claiming to understand the need for affirmative action, but mentioning (in that troubled way liberals appreciate) some kid who’s been thus royally screwed — then sitting back and watching his tablemates go at it.

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  • esby

    I question any book written (and any campaign run) appealing mainly to schadenfreude. Granted, it is a money maker.

  • Free Willy

    “Why is social work the scum of all professions?”

    WOW, so these people driven by the appauling pay and care free nature of their work are the scum of the earth. (I must agree with the little league guy in the super market)

    Personally my experience shows conservatives are usually quite selfish and keen to only protect them and theirs, I believe this is why the helping other people side of social work doesn’t appeal to them.

    Finally maybe i am being daft but what is so wrong about the chapter quoted from the book? Sure it may over use the word justice but thats like over using the word fair, ie a good thing.

  • Ryan.Iowa

    This last week confirmed that Liberals across the nation think conservatives with Nazis. They need to get a clue; they’re the ones trying to criminalize their political enemies’ ideology.

  • octavian61

    My sister was a social worker for the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. She used to get verbally abused by the people seeking “assistance”, insisting that they “desverve” and are “entitled” to the services. Then she gave her resignation after having her tires slashed after leaving work. That meant that someone was watching her leaving work to do this to her. Tell this to a “bleeding heart liberal” when they blow thier mouth off. Why in such a liberal state like Mass., where they espouse freedom to do as you wish, they imposed forced busing on the white and black communities in the city of Boston in the mid 70’s. It destroyed the black community in that city, never to recover from it. White kids were getting their rear-ends seriously kicked in. A black child had glass covering most of her face and body due to someone throwing a pipe through a school bus window. After many years forced busing, it was abandoned because it did not work. It is a crime commited by liberals that they never like to talk about. Everyone has forgotten those terrible days. And for added flavor, remind them of that photo of a white guy trying to spear a black man with an American flag. That was not done in the South. That was done in the free state of Mass. That’s liberals for you. If you don’t agree with them, they’ll FORCE you to agree with them. That isn’t true liberalism. It is nothing less than Fascism.

  • James Valvo

    “You really have to ask? I mean, I dare you to find a conservative social worker – or even one who’s moderately sensible.”

    I must respectfully disagree. I have a family member who is a social worker and although she is a registered Democrat, she comes home from work talking like a conservative. It’s because she sees first hand the damage that happens to families when personal responsibilities give way to personal gratification.

    Most of us never have to witness firsthand the most socially disruptive family environments. But social workers see it everyday. It’s slowly turning her conservative, but I doubt ever Republican.

    • quebecois

      I too know a social worker that’s just like your family member. The things he talks about are the same as you’ve described. He was once a liberal who has seen the disruptive nature of liberalism. By the way, I don’t care if people are demo’s or repub’s, it’s conserv vs. liber I care about.