Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.
In the wingnut view of the world, there is no accusation too extreme and no problem that can’t be solved with a demand for the president’s resignation. Need new proof? Take a look at this week’s wingnuts – Tom Tancredo and Ted Rall.
The debate over the Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination took an unexpected turn this week, with Republicans on defense after accusations of racism started sounding wingnutty even to some supporters.
Tom Tancredo’s comments were case in point. The creationist former Colorado congressman and self-styled anti-illegal immigrant crusader took to the airwaves and managed to conjure up not one but two howlers in the space of days.
Judge Sotomayor is a member of the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Hispanic civil rights organization, which counts among its 300 major sponsors companies like Wal-Mart. Even if you disagree with their prescription for immigration reform, it sounds pretty legit, right? Not in the world according to Tom Tancredo, who took an opportunity on CNN to describe the organization as “nothing more than a ... Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.”
KKK comparisons are just short of Nazi comparisons in the hierarchy of out-of-bounds political metaphors. The KKK is the KKK – full stop. Unless there are actual lynchings involved, it’s best to back off.
But maybe Tancredo was just having an off moment, spurred by emotional scars from the immigration debate. He quickly surrendered any benefit of the doubt when he was asked by David Shuster on MSNBC whether he thought “the Obama administration hates white people.” Tancredo couldn’t quite bring himself to sound reasonable even in the face of that logical softball, pausing for thought and then saying “I don’t know.” When incredulously pushed again, Tancredo laid his cards on the table: “I have no idea whether they hate white people or not!”
Really? This would be news to the millions of white people who voted for Obama, let alone the white members of his cabinet and staff – to say nothing of the members of his mother’s family. For all the wingnut hocus pocus during the campaign, (remember the “Obama is the anti-Christ” emails?) the closest to this conspiracy theory was the Pennsylvania McCain volunteer who carved a “B” on her face, claiming she was assaulted by a black Obama supporter. Note to Republicans: Give the obsession with race a rest.
Here are the big stories on the agenda today: