John Roberts interviews John Avlon for Book TV at Strand Books in New York City. He has a new book called “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America”
On the heels of health care, a new Harris poll reveals Republican attitudes about Obama: Two-thirds think he’s a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say “he may be the Antichrist.”
To anyone who thinks the end of the health-care vote means a return to civility, wake up.
Obama Derangement Syndrome—pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism—has infected the Republican Party. Here’s new data to prove it…
The stunningly cynical and stupid Republican National Committee PowerPoint pulled the curtain back on the sleazy culture of hyper-partisanship that is at the root of Washington’s dysfunction. But its impact extends beyond the Beltway…
These appeals have been deployed since before the election and they have, as the PowerPoint explains, caught on among the grassroots. We’ve seen their impact in protest posters, anonymous email chains, and talk-radio hosts’ talking points. But one grassroots expression of Obama Derangement Syndrome has not been properly anthologized. It’s the drivers’ PowerPoint slide: the roadside billboard. Read More…
There’s a place in the Wingnut universe where the rights of states to secede is still asserted, the New Deal is characterized as unconstitutional, and desegregation is considered tyranny imposed by the federal government.
They’re not fans of the federal highway system or health-care legislation either.
Meet the Tenthers—a group of “Tenth Amendment activists” whose ranks are rising in the Obama era. Read More…
It’s CPAC time again—the Conservative Political Action Committee’s annual Washington cattle call begins Friday. This year, they’ve attracted an all-star lineup in a bid for renewed respectability: a half-dozen GOP presidential hopefuls (Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, etc.), conservative congressional leaders, a keynote address by Glenn Beck. And co-sponsorship by the John Birch Society.
The John Birch Society—a stridently anti-communist, paleo-conservative group—was exiled from the mainstream conservative movement back in the 1960s because of its penchant for conspiracy theories. The group had a starring role in Richard Hofstadter’s classic The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and founder Robert Welch infamously described President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a “dedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.”
At a time when some people confuse losing an election with living under tyranny, it’s perhaps no surprise that a day set aside for marking past presidents’ birth has become, for some, a day for praying for the current president’s death.
Praying for President Obama’s death has become a sick cottage industry for some evangelicals on the lunatic fringe. Bumper stickers, T-shirts, and teddy bears are sold with the wholesome-sounding slogan “Pray for Obama” but tagged with the more troublesome “Psalm 109:8”—which reads “May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership” followed by “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.”
The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill on Wednesday that bans companies from tracking their employees with implanted microchips. On the surface, the bill sounds libertarian, albeit in a far-sighted Blade Runner sort of way. But it turns out that the bill’s sponsor was motivated by a more Old Testament perspective: stopping the rise of the Antichrist.
“My understanding—I’m not a theologian—but there’s a prophecy in the Bible that says you’ll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times,” Delegate Mark L. Cole told The Washington Post. “Some people think these computer chips might be that mark.”
Daily Beast columnist John Avlon explains why the lunatic fringe is hijacking America. In this episode:Redistricting problems, Alan Grayson, Michele Bachmann, Keith Olberman, Glenn Beck.
The Birthers were back in force at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville.
WorldNet Daily founder Joseph Farah used his prime-time speaking slot, broadcast on C-Span, to pump up claims that President Obama was not born in the United States—and received enthusiastic applause from the audience. Birther queen Orly Taitz was in the house, making the rounds as a celebrity conspiracy theorist.
The persistence of this much-debunked rumor is a reminder of how the fringe is blurring with the base in American politics. It provoked conservative Internet impresario Andrew Breitbart into a confrontation with Farah, the new guard vs. the old, with Breitbart arguing that attempts to prove Obama was born abroad are stupid and self-destructive, “a losing issue.”
The high-profile resurgence of the Birther claims on cable television provoked much self-satisfaction from liberals as the latest evidence of the influence of wingnuts on conservative politics. Read More…
Tragedies like the earthquake unite most of us—except the Wingnut fringe, who can’t understand the suffering of those outside their tribe. That’s why Limbaugh and Robertson put such a nasty spin on the devastation, says John Avlon.
With the horror in Haiti’s true dimensions dawning on Americans, leave it to the Wingnuts to find the ugliest possible spin on the devastation.
The Rev. Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh rushed to the ramparts immediately. It’s a reflexive reaction—after all, they’ve found ways to blame Katrina on abortion and the 9/11 attacks on the American Civil Liberties Union. In the wingnut world, fundamentalism beats compassion, and politics trumps principle every time.