“That hurts, because I really like Bon Jovi,” Mr. Dondero said. “If Bruce Springsteen comes on the radio, I’ll switch the station. I’m thinking about dumping [the rock group] Rush, too. They used to be hard core, Ayn Rand Libertarians. Then they did an interview where they said that was just a phase. I was like, ‘Really?’
“John Cougar Mellencamp is an interesting situation. He is a big-time Democrat, and I absolutely hate him. But a couple of years ago, he had some nice things to say about Sarah Palin. So he is kind of dicey.”
Bending the rules
Mr. Dondero is the first to acknowledge: Boycotting Democrats completely isn’t entirely practical. He can’t do a background check on the partisan preferences of every musician, doesn’t have the time to figure out if every product he buys or uses comes from a corporation with liberal ties.
“I’m ashamed to admit this, but you know what? I have a Chevy pickup truck,” he said. “It was purchased in 1998, years before the auto-industry bailout. So we’re talking grandfather clause. I have to bend the rules a bit to make this work.”
In an interview with New York magazine, Mr. Dondero answered a series of increasingly difficult — and ridiculous — questions designed to test the limits of his political conviction:
A Democratic family member is dying of cancer. He wants you to come visit him in the hospital, which is within walking distance, before he passes away. Do you go?
You come upon a neighbor — whom you know to be a Democrat — drowning in a lake. You’re the only person in the vicinity. Do you help him?
You require a risky and complicated brain surgery, one that is performed by only two neurosurgeons in the country. One is a Republican and the other is a Democrat, but the Republican is generally unknown, and the Democrat was just heralded by Time magazine as the nation’s best neurosurgeon. All other things — the cost, location, etc. — being equal, which doctor do you choose?
(For the record, Mr. Dondero answered no, not sure, and have the surgery performed in Mexico to avoid red tape.)
“It pained me to talk to a liberal magazine like that,” Mr. Dondero said. “But the guy who interviewed me was so nice. My rule now is that I tell liberal reporters to [expletive] off and die right at the beginning of the conversation. And then it’s OK for me to talk to them.”
For Mr. Dondero, the pain of speaking to liberal reporters — or even reporters he suspects to have liberal sympathies — is eased by the opportunity to spread his message. He wants others to follow his example, and said he already has been contacted by a number of supportive readers as well as a group of businesspeople in Texas, Arizona and California who collectively have decided to stop working with firms owned by Democrats.
“I don’t think you’ll see people take it to an all-encompassing extreme as I have,” he said. “But I hope people look at me to see how to do this.”
One person Mr. Dondero doesn’t have to break ties with? His wife. Originally from China, she isn’t particularly interested in American politics.
“I don’t think she realizes what all of this is about,” he said. “But I know she’s cool. She reads Chinese newspapers, and one day she turned to me and said, ‘You know, maybe I’ll become a U.S. citizen, and if I do, I think I’ll be Republican because I hate Obama.”