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December 18th, 2009
06:00 AM ET

Avlon: Wingnut's fright-wing politics

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= caption="Ezra Klein and Chuck Norris (Photos: Images)"]

By John Avlon, Special to CNN

With health care on Capitol Hill, wingnuts have been busy trying to scare up support for their all-or-nothing vision of the bill.

On the left, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein went the mass murder metaphor route against the liberals’ least favorite senator this week, Senator Joe Lieberman. He’s an independent who’s acting too independent for them, refusing to reflexively sign on to the Democrats’ bill and therefore blocking their attempt to get a 60-seat, filibuster-proof vote count.

Lieberman says that he’s trying to make sure the bill is fiscally responsible and lowering the Medicaid buy-in age to 55 is unlikely to make a system that is already going broke more solvent.

Klein saw something more sinister: “At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.”

The hundred thousand deaths estimate is based on an Urban Institute report that lack of insurance contributed to 137,000 people in the first half of this decade, but trying to hang that report around Lieberman’s neck is absurd, unfair and more than a little unhinged. It’s a fear-smear that aims for the same emotions as the summer’s "death panel" claims, with the opposite intention.

On the right, action star turned conservative columnist Chuck Norris offered a Yule-tide take on the health care bill from a fright-wing perspective.

“As we near the eve of another Christmas, I wonder: What would have happened if Mother Mary had been covered by Obamacare? What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Imagine all the great souls who could have been erased from history and the influence of mankind if their parents had been as progressive as Washington's wise men and women! Will Obamacare morph into Herodcare for the unborn?”

That’s right, health care reform could kill Christmas.

And Chuck Norris fans won’t want to miss next week’s column, titled “Away with the Manger,” which he promises will show how “the feds are whitewashing America's Judeo-Christian heritage via a progressive, politically correct and pro-Muslim platform.”

The week’s news also provoked a bonus round of wingnut irony. Conservative protestors on Capitol Hill staging a “die-in” to illustrate the impact of what they call government-run health care. It’s the same street theater tactic that Code Pink used to protest war during the Bush administration. The right wing is reading “Rules for Radicals.”

Somehow the extremes always end up resembling each other and the result is always an assault on common sense.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.

Filed under: Politics • Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Since when is Chuck Norris such a philosopher. He should stick to his kicking.

    January 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  2. Paul

    Whatever happened to truth in these legislative statements? Why is it OK for people from any party to lie about the Health care plan? Why do our government officials not think for themselves? Why can't they just do what's right: whether it is casting a vote based on their constituents or propogating truthful information. They are all playing with American livelihoods here. Also, American citizens, think for yourselves also. Just because you hear that "Joe so-and-so" said this does not make it true. Don't just repeat things that you hear. Go to the internet to the sources. Learn.

    January 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  3. Boomer in Mo

    Women have been getting abortions since before Christ was born, a point lost on Chuck Norris.
    More than 100 times, Christ is quoted in the Bible telling his followers to take care of the "least among you," most often translated by biblical scholars to mean the poor, disinfranchised and children. How well do we do that in the U.S.? A Harvard University study released this week noted that the uninsured who have traumatic injuries are 50 percent more likely to die than the insured, even when treated for the same injuries in the same hospitals. It is a great lie in the health care debate that even the uninsured have to be treated in our hospitals. The law does not require that, although most hospitals do treat everyone who shows up. The law only requires they not be discharged or transferred to another hospital until they are "stable." Stable means your leg could still be broken and unset, but since it is unlikely to kill (only cripple) you, the ER docs do not have to get it set and can you send you home with some pain killers. We probably are not too far from most hospitals adopting such draconian measures. Unless health care and its financing and delivery in this country is radically changed soon, more and more of us are going to be dying of fairly simple things to treat because we are uninsured, have crappy insurance or are not rich.

    January 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  4. joe L.

    Chuck Norris should leave his brain to science. Probably a couple too many kung-fu blows to the head.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  5. Paul W.

    Norris is just one example among many of the insanity of the Right. The American conservatives have taken leave of their senses and are now spouting gibberish. They cannot work, they cannot lead, they cannot do anything but scream stupidities. The tea bag idiots are a prime example. To listen to them is to realize they simply have lost touch with any reality and simply make no sense.

    January 6, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  6. Steve

    When is the middle going to take control of this country and push out both sides of the WING NUT aisle? Clearly most Americans are in the middle but lean a bit more left or right depending on the topic of conversation. It seems to me that all any media outlet is trying to do is dramatize the two sides to sell more air time & magazines. The middle is just too boring to report on but the fact is that most of us are in that realm of politics. I may be a registered Democrat but I do lean more conservative on some issues while others I lean more liberal, but I don't follow one side simply because I am party specific. Maybe I am wrong here but I don't know too many people who are so strict in their beliefs that they are unwilling to conceed some points are valid on both sides. We may disagree from time to time but our politics in Washington is completely wing nut. The middle of America needs to be represented again and take control over Washington because nothing is going to get done if we continue this ridiculous path of destruction.

    January 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Ed Rochester

    The title "fright-wing" certainly brings our the left wing bloggers. I suppose the opposite would have been true if this article had been titled "theft-wing politics"

    January 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  8. Ed Tallahassee

    I dunno, but wouldn't have been good if Jesus would have had a doctor, and was born in a hospital? Is he trying to say that we shouldn't have healthcare at all and that children should be born in barns surrounded by livestock?

    I think that pushing the teen pregnancy and abortion angle is a little ironic. The right's answer is abstinance only, and Mother Mary tried Abstince and that didn't work did it?

    Also wasn't Jesus all about Helping the Poor? You'd think that he'd be happy to see the Government working to help the people not leaving them all on their own.

    I also hate the arguement no healthcare reform, because some people will get abortions. So all of those 40 million people that would be helped-out with this bill are written off because some of them might have abortions.

    January 5, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  9. Steve

    Ezra Klein may come off a bit hysterical sometimes, but the basis of his argument about Joe Lieberman's involvement in the healthcare debate is correct: delaying healthcare reform will result in more premature deaths. The argument put forth by Chuck Norris, however, is totally crackpot. He argues that the Virgin Mary having access to modern contraceptive services through "Obamacare" might have eliminated "great souls" from history. Is he kidding?! Hey Chuck, it could also be argued that Mary terminating her pregnancy would have spared humanity from the Crusades, the Holy Inquisitions, the witch-trials, the Russian pogroms and the Holocaust! The so-called "fright-wing" talk coming from the Left doesn't even come close to the insanity being spewed out by the Right!

    January 5, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  10. Tensai13

    Exactly what is Chuck Norris's point about "Mother Mary" ? If I had been an unwed pregnant teenager facing death by stoning from the righteous religous, I hope that I too would have come up with the brilliant "get out of jail free" idea of having been impregnated by God!

    January 4, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  11. Ultrajanus

    John Avlon has hit the proverbial nail right on the head. Wingnuts are taking control of both national parties, and centrists need some leverage to get it back. Avlon just may help us provide that focal point.

    January 1, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  12. commonsense

    Where in the world is Chuck Norris ... it is nice to see him try to tie in the virgin birth to his stupid opinions about health care reform. First and foremost God is not limited nor threatened by anything man does or does not. But He is concerned about the health of all people. He did say that He came for the sick, not those that are not. He also says that He is the great physician and that those who are sick need a physician. It is the conservative people like Chuck Norris who seem to think that only a few people deserve health care, and by all means, those people must be able to spend any amount of money the pharmaceutical, health insurance industry lords deem should be paid. If the poor can't afford to see a doctor, then it is the opinion of the conservatives that they should JUST DIE!!

    December 20, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  13. The Crypticum Keeper

    Chuck Norris has absolutely lost it. All gripe and no solution, too. "Fright wing" is right.

    As for Klein, just more leftward silliness.

    For Americans, pointless polemic propaganda as usual.

    December 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  14. Tar

    "That’s right, health care reform could kill Christmas".


    Lieberman is not an independent anything, he is a shill for the Medical corporations.

    Sorry guys, America is doomed.

    The supreme morality of greed is far too destructive.

    December 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  15. Donna in CT

    That they say it isn't the problem, that people take it as Gospel is the problem.

    December 20, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  16. Mitchell

    I had never read anything Chuck Norris had written. So when I read your "wingnut" story I went and read some of his articles. No wonder CNN that you put him down as a nut....he is not a democrat, or a liberal, or a socolist, or a marxist, or a communist, or someone that openly hates our country. Those types seems to be the ones that you embrace, give an voice to and often support their views.

    December 19, 2009 at 4:45 am |
  17. A. Smith, Oregon

    Any perception of a pro-Muslim approach by a government much less in America should be re-thought. The Muslim belief in no fashion embraces America's core values and dictates that it is the duty and obligation of all faithful Muslims to murder any ex-Muslim that has converted to another religion.

    Muslims pushing for Sharia Law are in effect pushing for the death of democracy and the birth of a dictatorship headed by corrupt Ayatollahs, Clerics, Mullahs and Immans. Clearly, no majority of Americans want that to occur!

    December 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  18. Ralph Patch

    Avalon is a Rightwing nut

    December 18, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  19. nancy

    Excellent choices!! LOL

    December 18, 2009 at 9:26 am |