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.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/15/wingnuts.brown.schultz.art.jpg caption="Ed Schultz (L) and Floyd Brown (R)."]
Apocalyptic urgency and unhinged accusations are the stock in trade of the wingnut fringe. By pumping up fear and anger, they try to divide and conquer for political and personal gain. This week we’re taking a look at a new form of anti-Obama psychosis and a new low in the health care debate.
One of the worst in the political business is back peddling an entrepreneurial impeachment scheme. The culprit is Floyd Brown, a man memorably called “a slimy thug for hire” by George Stephanopoulos during the Clinton years.
You might have first become acquainted with his handiwork in the 1988 campaign, when he was the architect of the infamous Willie Horton commercial, which drew widespread accusations of race-baiting. He’s been disavowed by many sane Republicans, but also served as a delegate to past conventions and as an executive director of Young America’s Foundation.
Well, he’s trying to get back in the game with a noxious new Web site called Impeach Obama. Here’s a snapshot of the hysteria he’s peddling:
How long must we wait... how long should we sit back and permit Barack Hussein Obama to rip apart the fabric of this country before we take action?
Are you terrified at Barack Obama’s campaign to change our country into a third-world nation?
Are you willing to sit back and watch Obama bulldoze our great nation?
Are you willing to let him construct a totalitarian regime... fascism, socialism, Obamaism... take your pick?
It’s got all the telltale signs of Obama Derangement Syndrome – paranoia and pathological hate posing as patriotism. It riffs off race, totalitarianism and apocalyptic politics. In this case, Brown and Co. say they are trying to defend the Constitution by doing violence to it.
There were irresponsible calls for President Bush’s impeachment from the far-left during the last administration, continuing the ping-pong from Nixon to Clinton. Now it’s apparently a standard part of the hyper-partisan bag of tricks, trying to deny the legitimacy of the president from an opposing party by any means necessary. And what’s even worse is that there are folks trying to make a buck by pumping up the hate and hysteria of their fellow Americans.
(CNN) - After scouring northern Colorado by foot and air, frantically chasing a now-infamous Mylar balloon for dozens of miles and interviewing his big brother over and over, local and federal authorities ended their search for 6-year-old Falcon Heene where it began - at his house.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/16/colorado.balloon.boy/art.falcon.heene.gi.jpg caption="Falcon Heene, 6, said he hid in the family attic after his father yelled at him. "]
He was in a box. In the attic. The whole time.
"I played with my toys and took a nap," Falcon told a group of reporters outside his home Thursday afternoon.
"He says he was hiding in the attic," said Falcon's father, meteorologist Richard Heene, clutching his son. "He says it's because I yelled at him. I'm sorry I yelled at him."
But in a later interview with CNN's "Larry King Live," Falcon said he heard his parents call for him from the garage. When asked by his father on-air why he didn't respond, the boy replied, "You guys said we did this for the show."
When Heene was pressed by Wolf Blitzer, who was filling in for King, to explain what his son meant, he became uncomfortable, finally saying he was "appalled" by the questions. He added that Falcon was likely referring to all the media coverage.
Authorities say they believe the case, which launched search efforts by the Colorado Air National Guard and Federal Aviation Administration, was genuine.