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February 12th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Is the lunatic fringe hijacking America?

It happens almost every day of every week, people on the far-right and the far-left doing or saying something off of the wall. We've profiled many of them here on American Morning with a segment we call "Wingnuts of the Week."

Now, one of our favorite guests, John Avlon, has a new book all about the subject. It's called "Wingnuts: How the lunatic fringe is hijacking America." He joined us Friday on American Morning.

Don't miss: Wingnuts of the Week

Filed under: Opinion • Politics • Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. KamaraSune

    Mr Avlon your spot on again :). Its about country and the constitutional rights of the people first, not their party.

    I'm a fan!

    March 18, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  2. independent revolution

    Anyone who thinks Olbermann is not a wingnut, is a wingnut. Just listen to his unhinged rants on Scott Brown who ironically is the most moderate Republican in the Senate. If Olbermann is so reasonable and just "tells it like it is", why does he get savagely mocked by liberals like Ben Affleck on SNL and Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. Even a lot of folks on his side of the isle see him as a deranged windbag.

    Anyway, we need more people who are nuts in their passion but not nuts in their ideas. The reasonable majority needs to start standing up for themselves for once instead of letting all the ideologues control the national conversation. It's time for the radical center to take our country back and put the wingnuts where they belong, on the fringe to be mocked and scorned.

    And let's destroy the two-party system while we're at it. Everyone complains that America is too partisan and ideological, but doesn't seem to realize the system is DESIGNED to be partisan and ideological. As long as we have all the moderates being split between both parties and always losing the primaries to the extremists, this insanity in our country will continue ever more.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:14 am |
  3. Chuck in Jasper Georgia

    Smarter than all you idots? Quite a mouthful for someone that does not know what they are talking about. Ever hear of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. It was the law enacted to fix what Reagonomics broke. If Reaganomics worked as screwballs like you claim there would have been no need to enact the Tax Reform Act of 1986. You need to go back to business 101 and maybe read page 6 you dolt.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  4. Karen

    We have got a "do nothing" president. He is suffering from tunnel vision and an inflated ego.
    HE DOES NOT CARE what Americans want. HE WANTS THIS HEALTHCARE REFORM and he is getting madder and madder for each day he doesn't get it.
    Who did he promise this reform to? All the people who are not working? Well, that is HIS problem, not ours.
    85% of the people polled are satisfied with their current health care and don't want a change!
    So, it comes down to Obummer promising Healthcare to all the people who don't work.
    This is NOT a welfare country. Never has been, never will be!
    The politicians have been helping themselves to the money put into Social Security as if it were their own bank account. Now there is no money IN there and now it is OUR PROBLEM!
    WE HAVE NO JOBS! WE ARE BROKE AND OBAMA is flying around the country and the world, wasting our money to do his campaigning.

    Why is he still in office? He is a do-nothing president (i can't even stand to put the title of president next to his name. He doesn't deserve that title and he is shaming the office)
    He doesn't act like a president. He bounces around with his ego-swagger and thinks that it is charming. He says "AX" instead of 'ASK"....he says CORPS-MAN because he reads off the teleprompter. He can't say anything without the teleprompter BUT he should at least READ what his writers has written BEFORE he goes out there!
    CNN needs to stop this one sided reporting. Why is CNN kissing the butt of Obama? Hey if you voted for him CNN....and now you are too embarrassed to admit that you were wrong...get over yourself. A lot of people drank the Kool Aid that Obama served.
    I will not watch CNN ever again unless there is a disaster that is being documented. CNN does a good job at that...but I can't rely on them for accuracy or fairness.


    March 12, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  5. Wowser

    Wow. I wonder how many people who post here actually know or are friends with someone who does not thik exactly as they do? It amazes me how everyone is convinced that they are right and the other side is nothing but idiots. Conservatives don't like being called Teabaggers and Liberals don't like being called socialist, yet most of them have no problem calling out the other side and being insulting. Do you honestly think that all members of the Tea Party are racist? Or that all people who want to provide a helping hand to others are out to take all of your money and redistribute your wealth? I am sure that no one wants to see their neighbours starve or for the goverment to take all of our money through taxes. Yes, the government is too large and yes, some people need help and there is no reason why America should not have health care.
    Between Jennene Garofolo, Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, and Rush Limbaugh it seems as if each side has its own wingnuts. Really, not wanting to pay more taxes is racist? That is crazy talk if I have ever heard any before.
    Most of the folks who are getting so spun up on this forum are wingnuts in my book. Perhaps it is easeir to see what you don't like in others if you never look in the mirror.

    March 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  6. Don

    The Wing nuts do not run the country, but they have far more influence than their numbers would suggest. They are vocal, angry and active, and that gets them lots of attention. What is scary is both the left and right wing nuts are causing harm to America with their divisive and hate-filled words and lies. They will say or do anything to get their way and they believe anyone who does not believe as they do is either a Nazi, Fascist, Socialist, Communist or some other evil group. The current health care battle in congress is an example of how bad things can get when the wing nuts get involved. Congress has wasted a full year on health care while doing little to solve the other problems we face, such as creating more jobs, balancing the budget, cutting the deficit, education reform, increasing our competitiveness in the world.
    I hope voters wake up and vote these wing nuts of both parties out of office and elect, in their place, some moderate and reasonable members of congress who actually will work together to help solve some of our problems.

    March 7, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  7. Edward

    I considered myself a conservative Republican most of my life, until just recently when it became too embarrassing. Reagan made me uncomfortable, and George W made me run. The current crop of "conservatives" are not conservative at all. And the democrats are no better as it turns out. Both are corrupted by big business money – and given the recent Supreme Court decision, it's going to get worse before it gets better.

    March 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  8. Ben

    Where, oh where, are all those anti-war demos now that Osama Obama is Commander-in-Chief? Bush war bad; Obama war good, must be their new mantra.

    Those Berkley punks are now in the streets demanding free(higher) education, saying it's a "right. " That must fall into the same category as right to have a car, house, health care and a private office upon graduation. Bad weed man.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  9. dan

    And yet avenger you don't indicate what country your from....interesting as I would rather be casterated than live in any of the european countries, canadas socialized health care is costing more than expected, The UK was complaining their standard of health care was going down we have the best doctors in the world, why cause they get paid more and this crap ass bill that punishes insurance companies is misguided, why is insurance expensive,? same reason your auto insurance goes up if your accident prone, when they have to pay more you pay more, lets look at hospital cost, recent visits to the ER I was charged $1000 for gluing a cut on my hand, $40 dollars for a warmed blanket I didn't get to take, $7 for 2 extra strength tylenol!!!! hmm.. if I had to pay the majority of that bill I would definately charge more for coverage, I'm all about helping people out but involving the government at this point in time is a recipe for disaster. A third party will do nothing, the dems and repubs are too powerful and majority of americans too stupid to vote for a new party. Regardless of our turmoils the US is not a fading power to say it is is without logic. Without the demand of US buyers those nations with resources will fail as well, there will be no need for tech jobs for US companies in India, the Middle east might as well slash oil production, auto sales will be non existant by comparison, aviation, science, exploration, steel production, military advancements, medical research, etc etc, will drop off the charts, where do doctors come for education???? thats right an overwhelming majority study in the US. So with all that what major importance does your country play on the world stage? chances are your nothing more than a stage hand.

    On the point of nut jobs both right and left have their nut jobs and to whoever said we are a center left country with a center right media, um no other way around we've been center right for quite some time, with the media always with a left bias. I'm happy being a centrist I think the constitution is the supreme document and isn't open to anybodies interpretation, plenty of article by the founding fathers that basically lay out what everything means, quit reading between the lines and I have faith that we'd be a lot better off.

    I have ideals that range from far right to far left thats the beauty of the US if someone is being to far one way or the other stand up organize and vote them out. If you make a big enough noise they will listen.

    March 4, 2010 at 3:20 am |
  10. theavenger

    Y'know, I'm just in here for my semi annual laugh at the United States. You live in the only Western country that has capital punishment, no socialised health care, a ridiculous murder rate and all you long winded people are blaming the other side? If, in fact the US (there's no such country as "America"... look at your currency) survives the next 10 years it will only come out as the next Great Britain. A has been. The Canadian deficit is now running about $60Bn with 1/10 the population. That means to keep things in scale the US should not be over $600Bn. You're now at $1.5Tn. The US is a fading power. Where will the power be dissolved to? Countries with resources and with inexpensive manufacturing capacity. You have the chance to turn things around, NOW. Blaming the other side will only end you up in ruin. Co-operation, or a third party is your only way out.

    How much do you want for Vermont, Washington state and Oregon?? Those are nice places. The real estate value on everything else is pretty low.

    March 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  11. pete

    glen koons doesnt make sense. i bet he's a tea partier

    March 1, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  12. DavidPA

    The inmates have taken over the asylum.
    The Tea Party is merely the far right trying to hijack our country...and history has shown us just how bad the far right can be.

    As I've watched the GOP rewrite the history of the past eight years( and the willingness of people to buy into it) – it reminds me of the lead up to the rise of the Nazi party in Germany prior to WW2.

    People fearing the left moved to the right....

    Business supported the far right ( side note Grandpa Bush was a Nazi sympathizer and did business with them even after the embargo) because of the promise of lower cost of doing business.

    You have a half educated populace, who are willing to believe anything told to them as long as it vilifies SOMEONE else, and they don't have to look in the mirror and blame them selves for their problems.

    Remember that Sate Rights entail NO MONEY FROM OUR GOVERNMENT ( think of a toll road on EVERY interstate and exceeding high property taxes to pay for the funding removed by states rights) or forget the extra police and firefighters and teachers that our taxes help pay for.
    or what a Constitutional Government entails ( REMEMBER the Constitution gives No rights to WOMEN , if you are NOT a land owner you cannot vote).
    Wake up AMERICA!! and figure out that the players in the TEA PARTY are the extreme far right- and we know where that can lead....

    March 1, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  13. formitable1

    The lunatic fringe is in controll right now! Glenn Beck & Sarah Palin is main stream .Either one of them could beat any liberal in any election. This country is 40% conservatives only 21% liberals.Most independants lean right not left. You guys just dont get it!

    February 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  14. i was shocked

    i just read some statistics about the usa having the highest percentage of prision inmates in the world..
    i just cannot understand why the usa does not get humanatarian and get people to love them again. might start buy building or sponsoring new sports or hosptial facilities in africa muslim countries. its the cheapest way in the long run.
    maybe a hospilal or school in bangladesh.
    muslims are not fanatics but they can be driven insane by their own leaders because of their own agendas,.
    i sat in many muslims people houses in iraq for many years and they were so normal,.
    in the usa it seems you got chavez as an enemy and iran on the top agenda as well,.funny when we look at euopean news not a word about iran or chavez ,.,.
    its best you try and get mrs palin and her types to visit undeveloped countries,..mike in ireland

    February 28, 2010 at 5:22 am |
  15. ALLAN

    That was supposed to be "SHOWING BOTH sides".

    February 25, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  16. ALLAN

    For many years I have told people that radicals of any sort scare the hell out of me... first, become they can become violent... next, because they deliberately tend to distort the FACTS.

    For many years I was well known as a Republican "Conservative", and was nominated into the Republican "Inner Circle" group by Senator Howard Baker in 1984, and welcomed with a personal letter from Senator Strom Thurmond which I have kept framed on the wall above my desk to this very day.

    After seeing how President George H.W. Bush allowed and even encouraged seizures of property without due process of law in the name of the "War on Drugs", I dropped away from the organization and the G.O.P.

    Today, I am thoroughly disgusted with many politicians who are lying through their teeth in regards to various issues like the Health Care legislation, and the gullible people who support those politicians depite the fact that those politicians are methodically dragging their own supporters into bankruptcy and a bleak favor of the corporate lobbyists and corporate campaign donations.

    I don't have the answers, but as a former broadcast newsman I personally think that the first step out of our headlong dive into the abyss is to reinstate the much maligned "Fairness Doctrine".

    There was a time when the news media could not extoll one point of view or another without sowing BOTH sides.

    February 25, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  17. Chucklehead

    Tea Party fascists? Lunatics? A throwback to Nazi Germany? How can those in possession of insight, wisdom and intellect resort to outright vilification of those with differing viewpoints? Look, I'm not a "Teabagger" but I fail to see the harm in a movement born out of frustration with the status quo. It is indeed enlightening to look at the comments here and compare them to the criticism that the Free Speech Movement, or The Anti-War movement received. I'll hazard a guess that there's more than one Tea Party foe that earned their stripes in "the movement" of the 60's.

    February 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  18. justinnitsul

    Oh how I hope this is the end of the Quackadoodles. People are slowly realizing that logic, reason, and truth belong in politics not deception, drama, and ignorance. I believe in the Independant movemnet because only independents know that we must inevitably unify. Why unify? Incase you haven't figured it out already, resources are limited and the population is growing so we have to unify our efforts into colonizing space. First of all, it woud inspire new and useful technology. Secondly, if we put all our efforst into space colonization it would give a super boost to our economy. Who wouldn't want to invest in our future. Third, there are ENDLESS resources out there. I thik it's time we truly enter the space age because it is our destiny as a species. I call it Manifest Destiny 🙂

    February 24, 2010 at 12:22 am |
  19. Daniel

    There definately is a right-wing lunatic fringe poised to hijack the American political scene if it hasn't already.Most voters out of their own ignorance or callousness vote for right-wing fanatics already and that's the reason we have a broken government in Washington now. Now on top of that we have this so-called "Tea Party Express",a growing hate group resembling the 1920's German Nazi Party. With all these right-wingers we'll continue to have wars and runaway government spending while at the same time denying health care and basic services to our most needy.

    February 23, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  20. janinpenna

    I like to hear thoughtful, intelligent commentary from different viewpoints but it's objectionable to me to see people given news coverage time to simply rant and rave and name call their political opposities. It's unproductive and doesn't solve anything.

    News broadcasts these days could be mistaken for The Jerry Springer Show.

    February 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  21. dude

    and to ruth dausener, who;s post i jet read, i might add- what????!!! enslaving any human being is wrong. period.

    February 20, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  22. dude

    It's always funny to me how if you point out a problem on one side, then you obviously MUST be from the other side! This guy pointed at liberals and conservatives but both sides are on here disclaiming 'no, no, no he Must be from the other side or he would've never said something against our own man'. What ever happened to that silly notion that constructive criticism is good for you?

    February 20, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  23. Mark

    The far right, especially this new Tea Party are a bunch of lunatics, who remind me of fascism. People will believe in any thing when they are desperate.

    February 20, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  24. Les Warren

    The Tea Party claims to be Constitutionally motivated to take back their country. They are mad about everything. The most important thing about the Tea Party at the moment is that it is in the limelight. Never mind that the conservative talking heads are pandering to that group and taking them closer and closer to the John Birch Society. Even Mr. Ditto is doing the same thing. Well meaning people who have legitimate concerns about their government are being inflamed by the almost John Birch Republicans.

    The country needs a "Coffee Party Movement" that runs on caffeine and understands that passion about politics can be a good thing!

    If the members of the so called "Tea Party" understood that their passion and anger was causing them to be a potentially valuable asset to the Republicans who want their grass roots support, they might switch from tea to coffee. Coffee might give them the wake up that they need to understand that while they are angry about everything the government does, it takes solutions, compromise, and reason to make a government work.

    Long live the Coffee Party!

    February 20, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  25. Daniel

    There is a right-wing looney fringe taking over in America and sadly enough,they are only too successful.I am talking about the Republicans in general and the Tea Party Express in particular.The so-called Tea Partiers are no more no less a right-wing hate group bent promoting their hateful agenda by keeping us involved in foreign wars and increasing military spending and giving away more money to foreign dictators while at the same time cutting programs for the needy.I expect the Republicans will gain control of Congress which will be most unfortunate but then again,President Barack Obama has been a stunning disappointment.

    February 20, 2010 at 4:28 am |
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