His humor, Arnold sniffed, was "so attractive to the Philistine." It would be truer to say it was attractive to anyone who valued plain speaking and the kind of deadly wit that could cut through the cant and hypocrisy surrounding any topic, no matter how sensitive: war, sex, religion, even race. Twain was righteous without being pious, angry for all the right reasons and funny in all the right ways. You might say he gave virtue a good name.Contrast this now-reverential endorsement of Twain's wit with NPR's and Fox News' reaction to comedian Al Franken's run for Senate.
Just as in Twain's time, conservatives have a love-hate relationship with artists (love making money off their product, hate their unconventional lifestyles). When it comes to art and politics converging, Americans have always hated the left-of-center artist who becomes involved in political campaigns or causes but love, and even elect, conservative "artist"-politicians.