Margaret Hoover and John Avlon on their Post-Partisan Marriage

A great-granddaughter of Herbert Hoover and the new face of “Firing Line” is married to a centrist and CNN anchor. Can their union save the country?


Comments: 40

  1. No, they're not going to "save" the country because at the end of the day, Margaret Hoover still goes on TV and rails against structural reforms that could help the tens of millions of working people who are struggling to keep their heads above water.

    Especially Millennials.

  2. From where I live, this showy expanse of wealth by this "elitist" couple is an example, for me, of the vast division between the world's wealthy and its masses of people trying to survive one more day on Earth. This story won't go over very well in Central America, Asia or Africa. I've seen the world's poor in southern Africa and Southeast Asia -- and on the streets of Los Angeles. Carry on there, Ms. Hoover and Mr. Avlon. Don't feel too guilty. But sleep well tonight.

  3. I don't think they serve as a model for anyone. They come from similar backgrounds. Their politics are not even that different. She's very conservative but doesn't really like Trump. He's a "Centrist". Neither of them is particularly outspoken on anything.

    If they are the model of diverse opinions and backgrounds in our country standing together, we are in trouble.

  4. These two are from almost exactly the same social world. They even met while trying to work on the same (conservative) campaign. I fail to see how their marriage crosses any significant boundaries—if anything it points to the conservatism of much so-called "centrism."

  5. Marriages comprised of politically divergent spouses used to be totally unremarkable in this country -- no one blinked an eye back in 1960 at a couple consisting of one Nixon supporter and one Kennedy supporter, or in 1996 of one Dole and one Clinton supporter. But these days even the marriage of an establishment conservative to an independent centrist -- hardly a huge partisan divide -- warrants mention in the newspaper of record. A recent study published in an academic journal found that the strongest prejudice exhibited toward fellow citizens in the US right now is political in nature, not racial or religious or related to another's sexual orientation. This may be a sign of our polarized times, but it is terribly sad, nonetheless.

  6. They are not that different, and neither one is threatened by today's administration either by skin color, class or economic status. I would be more interested in reading about a mixed-race (or mixed-religion) couple, with one partner liberal and the other conservative and see how this administration and turn of the country is working for them.

    Signed,
    an African American liberal partnered with an Italian American Conservative

  7. I would very much like to read your story!!! No doubt much more interesting!!

  8. I like the characterization of WF Buckley. i watched his show sometimes, mainly to learn how to politely demean people who didn't agree with me, but will never do that so well as he did. over the years, the show turned into a parody of itself, as its biases became more obvious and the basis for them more fictitious. This was before the idea of "truthiness" but it sure fit that show well.

    now, in 2018, there are many people of good will who believe in utter garbage and nonsense. we have to figure out a way to deal with that without giving in to it. Ignoring that actual fact of American life is not an answer, neither is presenting the other side as the only true one. these people are here and there are a lot of them, and many of them are not extremists. they've made bad choices and want the rest of us the make the same bad choices.

  9. Mr Avlon is hardly an independent. He worked with the New York Sun and served as a Senior Fellow with the Manhattan Institute. He also worked for Republican NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

    That is not being a Centrist. That is called being a Republican- just like his wife. He may not be the kind of Republican that thinks Tax Cuts can cure cancer, but he seem OK with the rest.

    As to Ms Hoover, I cannot take anyone who worked for Fox So-Called News seriously. She seems like a nice lady you might meet at a dinner party, but she is still on the GOP team.

  10. Well that was horrifying. A former Fox news employee and granddaughter of one of the worst U.S. presidents resurrects Firing Line which was created by a supercilious racist is now on PBS. This entitled and privileged couple are very impressed with themselves and don't appear to have a thought about anyone but themselves.

  11. This may be the single stupidest article I've read in the New York Times. A couple of wealthy television personalities happen to have slightly divergent political views (both firmly within the capitalist framework), and they're supposed to be a beacon for something meaningful to the rest of us? Was this article generated by their publicists?

  12. Why is this even being run as a story?

    Score a win for Hoover's publicist to drum up ratings for her new show.

  13. Having seen only one of the new Firing Line programs, i.e., the interview of the Republican leader of the House, I wonder if all of them will be equally informative. I found Ms. Hoover to be intelligent, but her "glamour" is off-putting. One doesn't really expect intelligence from someone who looks like her.

  14. Yet another tone deaf article by the venerable NY Times.

    Elite porn at its best.

  15. I don't even know why I'm bothering to write this comment, but this "save the country" line is the kind of frivolous nonsense that a serious newspaper shouldn't be printing.

  16. This is the sort of thing I come across in the NYT and can't believe it was even published. They can say what they want, but day in, day out, as an organization, the New York Times conceives our society as being composed of a tiny fraction of people who matter while the vast majority can only hope to be guided by this sterling ruling class.

  17. "Centrism" is a euphemism for corporatism.

  18. Since when?

  19. Since when is the great granddauther of a sitting president a victim? That's a new one.

  20. Let us not be unfair to the military or to civilians. Great Presidents have served in the military, as well as not. Terrible President's have served in the military as well as not. In short, absent very high-, strategic-, executive-level military service, it is unlikely that military service is any way relevant to success as President.

  21. Wow! If two rich people can be successful in marriage I guess there is still hope for America after all!

  22. Margret Hoover is cute.
    On tv she gives the appearance of a bratty, fast talking, privileged kid who is used to being indulged, and John Avlon engages with her as though he were babysitting an adored child; James Carville he is not.

  23. Ugh. Another example of the NYT cramming conservatives down our throat, normalizing them, glamorizing them.

    So irrelevant and disappointing.

  24. Zero regard for Margaret.

    The only reason she is where she is is because she's pretty and blond and can memorize talking points.

  25. This couple is no model for anyone or anything, except perhaps how not to pose for a photo in the most awkward fashion since Gavin Newsom and his first wife.

  26. Editor must have been totally asleep: "Herbert Hoover, the man who until recently had the double distinction of being the only civilian to serve as president and also of being ranked by some political scientists among the top 10 of the worst presidents. (President Trump now shares that twofer.)"

    We have never had an active military officer for President, so while some of the other "10 [unnamed] worst" may have been in the military at one point or another, they were civilian Presidents.

  27. My guess is that by "civilian" the author means "neither a general nor an elected official." Hoover was Secretary of Commerce prior to becoming President but never held elected office. Before Trump, the only men who achieved the presidency without holding elected office had been generals. But I agree that the wording is poor.

  28. Come on, Get REAL. More rich white people who talk a lot and are apparently out of touch with people like them, at least with myself and the people I know, the people I take meals to and so many others. I think this couple is non-essential and annoying. In my opinion, based on this article, they have nothing to say that's of value.

  29. Margaret, darling: for a Greek, that's short hair.

  30. He was “struck by the totality of her.”

    “Her notes were so good, it was literally, like, WRONG, underlined, everywhere.”

    “Marriage is terrible . . .” “Not if you find the right person.”

    Two frivolous, chirpy people, without an original thought between them.

  31. I am not impressed. The narrow differences in their political opinions do not mitigate their self-promotion and hypocrisy. Like Matalin and Carville, they are more interested in their careers and “brand” than in the ethical or even the consequential aspects of their messages. They exemplify the defectiveness of our political and intellectual culture.

  32. I share the views in most of the other comments concerning unnewsworthiness and otherwise inappropriateness of this story. I write separately to express my disappointment in the story's failure to ascertain whether any differences have arisen in the political and social beliefs of this couple in these highly divisive days of the Donald. And if so, how is that it Ms. Hoover, "a conservative", and Mr. Avlon, "an independent", were able to "overcome" those differences? Maybe if the article tried to explore or explaine what it was about their "telgenic union" that enabled them "in overcoming the orthodoxies that divide us," it might serve as a newsworthy "lesson" for us readers. But as it stands, it's more of a fluff piece that is better suited in People magazine than the NYT.

  33. To all those who have criticized this story I would simply remark that this is in the FASHION section for heaven's sake. Can we not just have some fun with it? It isn't the lead story, nor should it be. Reading about people who love each other even with vastly different political views isn't complete "puffery." It might even inspire some of us with family differences to hope for better times.

  34. I would like to thank the author and the NYT on sharing this wonderful story. As an international relations and viola performance senior at Oberlin College and Conservatory, I believe the times needs such stories that discusses not only politics but life and love. I very much enjoyed the way this piece was written and hope to see more pieces like that in the future. Relationships are so significant in our lives as they are the essence that everything else is built upon. With the absence of a spotlight on how such relationships can bring different people together, this piece brings the needed issue into discussion in such a sophisticated and well-written way.

  35. Before you know it one of them will be running for president, and unless the country comes to its senses, they may get elected, assuming there's enough product in the house.

  36. Are they straight out of a Woody Allen casting call or what? I think of the field day that Woody would have had with this duo back in his good old days. Sigh.

  37. Of course, the New York Times and Penelope Green have to put anti-Republican partisan snark into the story about Mrs. Hoover. She is four generations removed from Herbert Hoover, so why is it necessary to reference his rating by some political scholars? And pray tell, what does the rating of President Trump (a man for whom I did not vote) have to do with the topic of a post partisan marriage? Such an article could have been written during any one of a number of presidencies, and the rating of the president in question has nothing to do with the topic.

    I will allow that the author of this piece at least put in some good words about Mrs. Hoover towards the end of the article, although I'm sure that had she been a social conservative that would not have occurred.

  38. As I suggested, off-line, to Penelope earlier today, this is simply wrong:
    "Ms. Hoover... is a great-granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, the man who until recently held the double distinction of being the only civilian to serve as president, and also of being ranked by some political scientists among the top 10 of the worst presidents. (President Trump now shares that twofer.) "
    All American presidents have, by definition, been civilians when they took the oath of office. So Hoover was not the "only civilian" to do so. Nor was Hoover the only president before Trump not to have served in the military before holding the office of president. If she was trying to say that Hoover was both a non-veteran when he took office, and (uniquely among all presidents) someone who ranked among the worst to hold that office, she could have said so more clearly. And, even then, I'm not sure if that would be factually correct. The Times does employ editors, I think?

  39. Wow. So many of the comments on this article are so negative aimed at Hoover and Avlon or the NY Times. Lighten up!

    This is not a front page above-the-fold article. It's in the Style Section for cryin' out loud!

    And on its substance, I think it is always a good read to hear about two people with opposite political viewpoints being able to live together and communicate with each other. Now Congress on the other hand. . .