If he were taken away from me, I wouldn’t know what to do. I’d have to find someone else to be the object of my unreflective scorn. And that would prove difficult, given that Habermas, or anyone else who might fill this slot, has very particular views (the ones I love to hate), and installing a disciple or a simulacrum in his place would not really be satisfying....Ha ha. He's saying that knowing that people use him that way (which he's okay with, since it means he's important). Just spell my name right is the old saying. And Stanley Fish is a lot easier to write than Jürgen Habermas. Also a lot easier to read.
[W]ere I ever to meet him, the odds are that I would like him (the public record suggests that he is an admirable fellow) and if I liked him it would be hard for me to continue beating up on him....
[W]hoever are the characters filling out your precious roster of perfect villains and nogoodniks, take care not to meet them. And if one of your antiheroes happens to turn up in a coffee shop you’re sitting in, get up and leave immediately.
And by the way, this is why I like writing from my remote outpost in the Midwest. I don't want to encounter the various politicos I want to inspect and criticize and mock. I need to protect myself from the squishiness that would infect my writing. I have gone out of my way not to meet, say, a Supreme Court Justice.
And this is why political candidates go roaming all over the countryside, looking for hands to shake, eyes to contact. Stay away. Don't let them infect you with their camraderie.