IN TODAY’S polarised political environment John Avlon has carved out a useful niche, exposing extremists on both the left and right. He says these partisans are more dangerous than ever, in part because they obscure the growing power of independents. Mr Avlon is a columnist for the Daily Beast and a regular contributor on CNN. His most recent book is ” Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America”. This week we asked him some questions about those hyperpartisans and their effect on America’s political system.
Democracy in America: First off, what is a wingnut?
Mr Avlon: A wingnut is someone on the far-right wing or far-left wing of the political spectrum—the professional partisans, the unhinged activists and the paranoid conspiracy theorists. They’re the people who always try to divide rather than unite us. One tell-tale sign of a Wingnut: they always confuse partisanship with patriotism.
DiA: Is wingnuttery more of a problem on the right or the left?
Mr Avlon: I believe that the far-right and the far-left can be equally insane—but there’s no question that in the first years of the Obama administration, the far-right has been far crazier. In part, this comes from parties being out of power—without the responsibility of governing to ground them, the activists and the ideologues take over. It’s important to remember that Bush Derangement Syndrome on the left—comparing him to Hitler, calling him a terrorist and a tyrant—preceded Obama Derangement Syndrome on the right. If you only take offense when the president of your party is compared to Hitler, then you’re part of the problem. Read More…