I've met Howard a couple times, and yeah, he is a really, genuinely nice guy. I haven't read the comic in a while, though, mostly because my tastes have changed.
But one thing I've noticed about his politics: he used to be farther to the right than me. Now he's farther to the left. I don't know if my opinions have changed (though if anything I'm more liberal than I used to be, but probably pretty close to center - which, these days, is not a terribly comfortable place to be), but his certainly seem to have.
And as for taking it personally? Man, I won't even talk politics with my wife - not since she took it as a personal attack when I said I considered her favored candidate to be the lesser of two evils.