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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. richp the poconos

    One of the reasons I remain a registered republican so I can vote in the primaries, I can look at all the offerings vote for or against in the primaries and still vote hopefully for who I want in the general who might be a democrat or might be an independent or might be a republican.
    One thing I would like to see is the straight ticket lever removed from the voting machines as well as their party affiliation, force people to know who they are voting for so they don't just pull the straight ticket. We had two bad congressmen ride in on Obama's shirt tails because of that and we had two Senators do the same thing with Bush. Too many mindless just pull the one lever to get it over with.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  2. stef

    Somewhere left of Fox news and right of the Huffington post is where most Americans that I know reside.

    February 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  3. ruth dausener

    Melinda Warner, 0f Media Matters Action Network, posted a blog on 9 Feb, in which she detailed her encounter with the Teabagger convention in Tennessee. Everyone should read this. Ms Warner did not attend as a reporter, she attended as a youngish, sociable woman interested in the movement, requesting to be educated by conversation with other attendees. She detaied the results of those conversations in her blog. " On God Throughout history, Christians have always been the ones on the right side. Slavery was ruined by non-Christian slave holders. The Christians who owned slaves treated them well." These are people who are determined to elect people just like them to run our government and represent us to the entire world.

    February 15, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  4. Codifex

    Well, the blogs have provided a commons of a sort for democracy. Remember, the purest form of democracy is an angry mob.
    Anyway, if both the far right and the far left go too far then the people may finally choose "None of the Above" – a third party.

    Now, if we could just try to emulate the Atheneoi instead of the Sparti in our new assembly.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  5. Bill

    What do you expect when government fails to be responsible?

    February 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  6. Ken in SAT

    All of the above makes me wonder about America's future. When did "government becomea 4-letter word? We send our young men and women off to Iraq, to Afghanistan, to fight for America, but then we act like we don't believe in our own government. Or are we just hearing from the "wingnuts".

    There will alwyas be different ways to reach any goal, whether it is improved health care, better education, or more security. Just because we don't agree on the best approach does not make someone a "commie", or a "goon". We've got to dial things back to where we can have real conversations without demonizing the other side. I think we usually want the same end result-we just disagree about how to get there.

    I'm for a public option in health care, but that does not mean I'm for national health care, or a government takeover of health. Of course I've been called a socialist, which I'm not.

    Just because someone is opposed to a public option doesn't mean they are a bad person either. They may rightfully be concerned about how we pay for it and whether it will really provide better health care.

    but, we've got to stop the name-calling and have some constructive discussions.

    What kind of example do we set for our children when all they hear is how we hate the government. Is this supposed to make them want to grow up to be positive American citizens?

    I don't know where it began. Maybe Viet Nam, with those opposed being called communist sympathizers and those for being called baby-killers. Both sides were wrong.

    Perhaps it was abortion. Those pro-choice being called baby-killers, and those pro-life being called anti-women. Again, both wrong. No-one is pro-abortion. The disagreements are about what to do about unwanted pregnancies. Before Roe v. wade the dirty deeds were done in back alleys by untrained butchers. Roe v. wade was in response to the dirty little secret that any upper class women could make an unwanted pregnancy go away safely, while middle class and poor women were being killed and mutilated in back alleys.

    And perhaps it is the entertainers:the Glenn Beck's and Rush L:imbaugh's of the airwaves. If we had civil discussions perhaps it would ruin their market-share.

    Let's cuss, discuss, and disagree. But then let's remember America is the beacon for feedom of the entire world. Let's act like we deserve it.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  7. Dave

    All of this "right-wing/left-wing" crap is irrelevent. Term limits for congress is the only solution to this country's problems. Get them all out. We need to stop complaining and do something. Term limits is the only answer. The American people need to start demanding it or just not vote at all. Most of these posts are so immature. You need to go home and have your young son/daughter or niece/nephew or a neighbor's child read your post outloud in front of you and see if it sounds foolish.

    February 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  8. Pablo

    "DECLAIR Myself as a CONSERATIVE"

    I think you mean declare.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  9. Bubba

    Patrick, right-wing dictators are generally fascists; go too far left and you find Stalin. Hitler was a right-winger, Mao a left-winger, etc. Most of us are way out in the middle of the road on that scale. Obama's about an inch left, and Cheney about a foot right, but they are both complete moderates on the Mussolini Scale. Cheney despises free speech, and Obama dislikes criticism, but they are both a long way from shutting down the newspapers.
    'Radical' means you believe there is one cause to all your problems, and that you can rip it out by the root, or radix. Suggested root causes in the past have been "witches," "The International Jewish Conspiracy," "The Red Menace," "intellectuals," and the Democratic Party.

    February 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  10. Centrist

    The simple fact is that Fox News and their allies are poisoning this country. There are many common elements to the mood of the country now, and Germany in the early 30's. Listen to the anti-intellectual rants from the Tea Party. Intellectuals are the first targets of most facsit regimes. It can happen here. Wake up America.

    February 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  11. Centrist

    Glenn Koons – There is no far left in the US!! This is the most right wing country in the western world and the growing power of the far right (Palin, Fox News, Beck) is a far greater threat to us than terrorist. If the left had any strength then Air America would still be around. Heres a suggestion – read BBC, Sydney Morning Herald and other news from outside the US. You will soon see how skewed to the right we have become.

    February 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  12. Bubba

    "DECLAIR Myself as a CONSERATIVE REPUBLICAN." Dang, I wish I'd thought of that. That would solve EVERYTHING!

    February 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  13. Bubba

    Right, 'cause when you want truth and accuracy you immediately look for something called 'the daily beast.' My hometown paper has recently called for the overthrow or assassination of the president, and admitted that we bombed Haiti just so Obama could look good rescuing people, so I agree that whack jobs have taken over the country. Look at Glenn Koons for example; that's really sad stuff. I bet he went to school once and everything, maybe even learned spelling and grammar, but now there's nothing left but a gibbering apeman, hooting for his party. Can these people be saved? Ask Joe the Wurtzel Burger!!

    February 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  14. Bert

    I think 'wingnut' is in the eye of the beholder. People have different feelings and opinions on issues, some based on facts, some based on emotion, some based on 2nd/3rd/Nth-hand information, and that's where you have to look at what gets published, by whom, to whom, and why, and what value there is in 'news', because if the media provides information that's 'whacked' to begin with, then people's opinions on 'the issues' are irrelevant anyway because the facts get distorted, and misrepresented.

    There's people out there in journalism-land that want to 'shape public opinion', and then criticize people that don't agree with em, and you have to wonder about the quality and intent of some of that journalism, because journalism is different from news reporting. The news just tells you what's going on, journalism/telejournalism kind of has an agenda. So, who's the wingnut, the viewer/listener/reader, or the content provider? What if 'right wing', 'left wing', 'wingnuts' and so forth are largely media fabrications, and don't really reflect the views or opinions of the public at all?

    February 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  15. ruth dausener

    I would love to hear from the tea baggers and conservatists exactly how they intend to accomplish their demands for smaller government. Smaller government means less people working in government and less services provided by the government. Exactly which services do you want to be downsized? The Huntsville, Alabama space program to send rockets to other pla nets was deleted fr om the next budget. The tea baggers and conservatists in north Alabama are in an uproar! They want someone else's job to be cut, someone else's service to be cut. When will we hear from Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh demanding these jobs be restored to their constituents? (The tea baggers and conservatists are the constituents of Beck and Limbaugh.) So, a challenge: do not tell me you will elect someone and they will do it, TELL ME EXACTLY HOW YOU INTEND TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR DEMANDS?

    February 15, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  16. tim

    Lemme get this straight.
    All the pundits agree that this is a center-right nation. And when each party gets power, they immediately allow the radical wings of their party to run the show....and then are amazed when they start losing elections.
    As a conservative Democrat, the Far-Left hates me because I demand fiscal and personal responsability; the Far-Right hates me because I am socially liberal and believe in the Constitution...even the parts that protect those I dislike.
    I'm pro-gun...and believe in 'A well-regulated militia'(think about it).
    I'm pro-religion...ALL of them; We are a majority Christian people...but this is NOT a Christian nation. Show me where, in the Constitution, it says we are. The majority does NOT get to impose our religious beliefs on the minority.
    I love my country and revere our flag...but also believe a person has the right to burn it in protest; We do NOT limit free speech just because we don't like the message.
    I believe there is nothing wrong with a helping hand...as long as it doesn't become a crutch; WHY are we paying people NOT to farm on good land, and WHY are we rewarding people with more money for spitting our more babies?
    I believe our military should only be used when NO OTHER OPTION is left. But when we use it, we go in to get the job done. Ya know, the old "Walk softly, carry big stick" doctrine. We are the good guys...not the bully.
    I wish, when we have a surplus, that this country would pay it's bills(debt) like WE have to. NO refunds to taxpayers(ie:bribe for vote); NO massive tax cuts(ie: bribe for vote). PAY DOWN THE DEBT! PAY THE BILLS FIRST!
    I'm tired of BOTH parties; because they ask for your vote...then ignore you to pander to their so-called base. Guess we now know what obnoxious, rude, well-connected people get for their money...power. And We, the (average, majority, center-right American)People, will continue to control them by voting for the OTHER guy to remove that power when the abuse it(1980...1992...1994....2006...2008...Massachusetts 2010).

    Man, I wish there was a better way....and party.

    When will they figure out that the true BASE of this country is the 60% near the middle?

    February 15, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  17. Alverant

    Mike Constitution if the teabaggers are for the Constitution then where were they when W was breaking it? Why do they ignore the part about freedom of and nonestablishment of religion? Why do they object to "a well regulated militia"? Why do they act like they are the only ones entitled to American freedoms and anyone who disagrees with them hates America? Obama has not violated the Constitution. W has. So why are you just demonizing Obama?

    February 15, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  18. JoesLovelyMother

    Don't see Hijacked by the fringe, but ultimately solidifies The Corporate States of America.
    The electoral map of the last election is shows the 21st century look at the status of Dixie. "mind set"
    With news now pundits, spun headlines,facts flushed, giving us what we should think and the key words in defending, perfect opportunity to hijack the movement.
    The most extreme I have heard from fringe zones:
    "Leaving the Union is on the table for solutions in our State."

    Patriots Trust United we Stand.
    Not what aisle we stand on.

    February 15, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  19. Spider

    WOW!!!

    Some of you people are actually arguing with Glenn Koons!!!!

    I read his post and crossed myself. I thought he was speaking tongues through his keyboard.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:14 am |
  20. Spider

    @ Maven-

    I will not go so far as to call you a wingnut, but it is people like you who provide the wingnuts with an audience and, therefore, keep them alive. What you, hopefully inadvertently, stated was "The crazy people I like are OK, it's the other side's lunatic fringe that causes the problems."

    What everyone needs to do is look at both sides and consider both views, don't fixate on one side and rant against the opposite.

    OK. Obama wants health care reform. In fact, it was one reason we voted for him. Do you really believe his opposition wants millions of Americans to die without health insurance? Or, is it possible that they have a point when they say that we can't afford the current reform ideas?

    OK. The war in Iraq caused the deaths of many innocent people. Did Dubya sit down one day and ask "How can I get thousands of American GI's killed?" Or did he have it in mind to seed Democracy in the most anti-Western part of the world, thus potentially ending terrorism from that part of the world?

    There are two sides to every question. You should listen to both before making a decision.

    "If you want to really mess up a good story, hear the other side."

    February 15, 2010 at 5:01 am |
  21. PNUT

    This article written to provide cover for Wing-Nuts. There is no equivalence between the right and Left. The Right has all of the nuts. The author pretends otherwise to cover his right leaning ideology.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:26 am |
  22. GaryB

    What I find disturbing is the absolute embrace of ignorance practiced by the nut jobs on both the right and the left (albeit seemingly much more on the right). Here are a few chestnuts I've heard from our local teabaggers...

    "The U.S. spends more providing healthcare for illegal aliens than it does on defense."

    "Medicare is not a government run program."

    And, of course, there's the tossing around of such terms as socialist, communist, facist etc. by people who have exactly no idea what those terms mean. Finally, we have the folks on both sides of the aisle who are always ready to compare the other party to the Nazis or their least favorite politicians to Hitler or Stalin.

    February 15, 2010 at 1:29 am |
  23. James Rutledge

    The lunatic fringe is in control for now but hopefully, not for long. A president who says he has visited 57 states and has only 2 to go to have visited them all, then speaking to a group of Navy Corpsmen calls the title Corpse-man 3 times? Then the lunatic fringe who has taken over the lame-stream media does not even mention it, but rants over notes on Sarah Palin's palm. Obama is president. Palin in nothing but a private citizen expressing patritiotic ideas. Obama has nothing but members of the lunatic fringe in his administration

    February 14, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  24. FredInNH

    When the no tax no government Anarchists shouting down public debate and then make absurd birther claims to to nullify a democratic election, then claim to be "patriots" led by college dropout alcoholic, drug addicted, ADD brain trust on the radio... No lunatic fringe there

    February 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
  25. Locker

    Gee Glen, do you think you are perhaps a bit one-sided. Especially considering the recent articles on the merging of the Tea Parties with the mainstream GOP. Perhaps I should have known when you started with "leftist radical socialist pacifist" that your opinion would be a FAR CRY from objective or thoughtful. Sorry Glen Koons.

    February 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  26. rico

    sorry Koons but your analysis is surprisingly superficial. I live in texas, im surrounded by Republican nutjobs, maybe they dont' run the country but they're sure running the country into the ground with their baseless attacks, and repeated desire to destroy Obama which in turn doesn't really do us, the american people any favors.

    February 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  27. Greg Applebee

    Glenn Koons – First of all you would have much more credibility if you formed full sentences in your rant. Secondly the radicalism is on both sides, and has a big effect on both sides, and if you can't see that then you are a radical.

    February 14, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  28. Patrick

    Looking back at the historical record of facts shows that every fascist that has existed in history is in fact a right winger. Dont take my word for it, look at the facts in the history books. Just take care to read the real history and not the history revised and spun to spread more lies like the neo-cons do today.

    February 14, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  29. JimCA

    Hmm, apparently my earlier comment wasn't acceptable for some unknown reason. Let me try again.

    Grayson has been arguing for a position held by a majority of Americans.
    Olbermann has been pointing out lies from the right wing.

    The ring wing, including Bachmann and Beck, have been caught in innumerable lies - just watch the videos.

    Grayson, Oblbermann, and Maddow have NOT ONCE been shown to have lied.

    Of COURSE this represents equal and opposite ends of the spectrum, just like red and orange are at opposite ends of the visual spectrum.

    February 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  30. George

    Mr. Koons:

    You have a point. However, let's not even pretend that the wingnuts on the left are anywhere near as radicalized or angry as the wingnuts on the right; there truly are no real socialists or communist voices that you hear through any mainstream media outlet. Obama has an orthodox liberal agenda, but it's a far cry from that of any "socialist" country (believe me I've lived in some of those countries). It is for that very reason that the patrician political class that runs the GOP establishment (wisely) ignores the angry little pompous people who fulminate about "socialism" and the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate — they recognize that this is a freak activist fringe and that they need to hold the political center in order to win elections.

    February 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  31. austn

    Independent for 32 years, will never vote that way again, lost my vote to Clinton because of Ross P. Then The Stupidity of Putting Obama in offfice, not because he was Qualified, But Because Of the color of his skin, The FAR LEFT of this admins. and of the press, has me DECLAIR Myself as a CONSERATIVE REPUBLICAN.
    NO DEMS IN 2012

    February 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  32. Mike Constitution

    The Tea Party is about understanding and embracing our Constitution and the uniquely American and successful vision of maximum liberty and minimal government it protects.

    The hatred and lies we hear about it from entrenched politicians, legacy media, and all the others who suck at the government teat show they feel their free ride is endangered.

    We intend to protect our liberty and keep our own money rather than become dependent subjects watching our hard-earned money disappear in a socialist rat-hole.

    February 14, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  33. Paul

    As long as the public keeps voting in the same congressmen we will continue to have the same problems of entrenchment.
    Vote them all out and start with new. By the time they learn how to serve special interests we can put in new ones.

    February 14, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  34. Mike

    Glenn Koons:
    Your comment are laughable.
    1. Name those who you identify as extreme leftists in the Congress. I'll bet that anyone who doesn't share your right wing ideology fits the bill.
    2. Using that same standard, I could say many Republicans are right wing loonies or fall directly under their influence.
    3. The whole matter is moot. If your brand of GOP ideology has its way, the whole Congress, Dems and Republicans would be replaced with right wing fanatics. Your fascist agenda is the lurking danger to this country.

    February 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  35. Jen

    A good state of the union would be an explanation to the American people about what is going on is a good place to start lessening tensions. The directive of our nation and agenda policies do not change every 4 to 8 years..There has been a path for decades toward a new order..Make that understood and what we are to expect and how we can make the best of it. So far, it’s looking pretty scary..
    If the head of our nation is the President, and the house and senate is the neck, there’s a disconnect.

    Obviously, Globalism was well thought out from the big business and the banking side to benefit their organizations and their lobbyist, but there's been a negligence on the part of Washington in seeing that the people are able to cope and understand what it means for them with all the changes of Globalism.

    February 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  36. Glenn Weeks

    Extremism, right or left, does not appear to offer viable solutions to complex contempoary problems. As an old-line conservative, I am increasingly persuaded that an independent 'radical center' course may be viable. It's a rethinking of applicable policies and traditional values which may hope to provide growth and stability with equity.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  37. MarcR

    The reality is that we need a new form of government. Our representative democracy is no longer funtioning because our appointed representatives are incapable of managing, looking out primarily for their own interests, are voted in by an uninformed, often uneducated populace who are swayed by celebrity and soundbites. Our form of government was created in a different time when mass communication and the ability of individuals to contribute to governmental processes was limited by
    distance and difficulty in communication. With the internet and other communication technologies do we really need middle management to run this country or can we become a true democracy?

    February 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  38. TXLady

    Glenn, I see exactly the opposite of what you see. Fringe groups like the "tea baggers" (snort) get tons of media and political attention, and more and more wing nuts are getting elected by the Republican party. On the other hand, the far left gets basically zero attention, even from its own party.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  39. JoeyPChild

    Extremism of any stripe–left-wing, right-wing, religious, economic, political, social, doesn't matter–is dangerous and demonstrably lacking in reason and rationale. It is based on emotional, thoughtless, reactionary premises that, if seriously analyzed, collapse under the weight of their own absurdity. Moral equivalence? They are all utterly lacking in moral basis; right or left or otherwise–it has nothing to do with morality. BTW–what does "Any leftist radical socialis pacifist that now is the only agenda, the only reps in Congress as Dems is the real danger" even mean? Try intelligible English much???

    February 14, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  40. Heidi

    I was registered independent for few years until I discovered that by being registered independent I couldn't vote in one of our elections! Had to be registered Democrat or Republican. So find out the laws and such in your state before you do that.

    February 14, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  41. Terry from West Texas

    The political battle in America is not between Republicans and Democrats. It is between Conservatism and the rest of the nation. By Conservatism, I mean America's Conservative leadership. America's Conservative voters are hayseeds who have been persuaded to vote contrary to their own self interest by Conservative rhetoric. The goal of Conservatism is to concentrate as much wealth and power as possible in a very, very small group of very, very wealthy people. The movement of wealth and power away from the middle class began during the Reagan years and is picking up speed.

    Thanks to Conservative voters, America may well become a nation of tenant workers. Their country will be owned by global corporations and vastly wealthy families. Google "distribution of wealth"

    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, shame on me.
    Fool me a hundred times over fifty years, and I must be a Conservative voter.

    February 14, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  42. duvallone

    The crazies have developed as tolerance for crazy has increased in this country. it is all right to be crazy and we must tolerate those who are. The question is why? In the name of political correctness I guess. We may hve been duller in the 1950-s, but we had ethics, consciences and a moral compass. That all seems to be lacking from the 30 somehtings, and corruption has run rampant in politics. Politicians get up and mouth outright lies and seem to have immunity for it, because, after all, they re politicians and you aren't expected to believe them anyway? What have we come to?

    February 14, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  43. Tim Welsh

    Right-wing = Conservatives = most Republican leaders + yellow dog Dems = rich ruling class toadies.

    These people are paid to deny global warming, to deny America health care benefits that all other advanced nations enjoy, and paid to stand in the way of any idea that would help Americans because any such program would inevitably result in the rich paying higher taxes. The less money the rich rulers have the less influence they can buy, and the closer to fairness we come as a nation. They don't want that!

    February 14, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  44. Hawk In Texas

    To Glen Koons, Go back and reread your colum. you are what this article is trying to point out. you are one of the far right wingnuts.

    February 14, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  45. Holly

    Sigh. I'm so tired of people who belong to a majority thinking that their opinion is somehow "reasonable" just because they've got a herd that agrees with them. How about judging the validity of what people say based on how well they substantiate their opinion, rather than where someone perceives their opinion to lie on a left-right spectrum (the center of which everyone defines as "my own opinion"). If we ever did that, people would be forced to realize that a lot of what the average American believes is absolute garbage.

    One example: Americans just love to complain about how no politician is fiscally responsible. But Americans themselves aren't fiscally responsible. They have children they can't afford, and then they steal from their more responsible neighbors (the childless) to pay the bill for the education of their children through so-called "property taxes" (which are in truth education taxes in most communities–80% of my local property taxes pay for local schools for other people's children).

    Do I get to empty the pockets of my neighbors to pay for my lifestyle choices? Say, my vacations? Or my own education? No–I can't afford a graduate education because my neighbors, who fervently believe that they are responsible people who "play by the rules," are legally entitled to take my money, but I'm not entitled to take theirs. They're insane, they're in the majority, and they really, truly believe that they are "reasonable" and "mainstream" and "right." What a monstrously unfunny joke.

    February 14, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  46. Mark

    The usual phony "balance" between left and right is on full display here. Comparing Glenn Beck with Keith Olbermann is simply ludicrous. Beck spreads conspiracy theories and lies; Olbermann debunks them with the truth. Which is the nut?

    Similarly, Grayson rightly complains about republican intransigence and obstructionism, whch is actually occurring (read your paper). In contrast, Bachmann complains about concentration camps for conservatives and Obama's plans to use the census to enslave Americans, among other paranoid fantasies. Which is the nut?

    There is no balance here. The dangerous, delusional wingnuts are all on the right. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

    February 14, 2010 at 6:56 am |
  47. Ben

    Don't look now, but you might be a nut and not know it, Glenn. Plenty of nutty GOPers in office too.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:27 am |
  48. Charles Stinger

    Mr. Koons, with all due respect, Michele Bachmann does hold an office.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
  49. Keith

    Glenn, if you aren't seeing any Far Right in Washington I don't think you are watching. The Christian right still carries lots of weight in the republican party. The fundamentalist christians are every bit as dangerous as the fundamentalist Muslims any day.

    All the listeners of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh lean pretty far right. The politicians that serve those people have to lean that direction to get elected. The Oberman and Rachel Maddow fans run to the left and hate Bush ideology. Their representatives have to go the way their supporters go.

    Long gone are the days when representatives in the House or Senate did the right thing just because it is the right thing to do. And I am afraid that neither side can be defended.

    February 13, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
  50. Wingnut

    Maybe the reason we're seeing so many "wingnuts" lately is because of how f-ed up our world is. To them YOU'RE the wingnut.

    February 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  51. fuzzy monkey

    I am and have been an independent and if the wing nuts win in 2012 , my family and I are planning to move to either Canada, New Zealand or Australia. We can't stay here and be a part of the country going down the toilet.

    February 13, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  52. Cunamara

    The wingnuts took over starting in 1980 and then in full force in 2000. Mr. Avlon is rather late to the party. Bill Moyers pointed this out eloquently about 10 years ago.

    February 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  53. Indy Bob

    Of course Glenn Koons, it's all radical Dems fault...the Republican wingnuts are just harmless kooks...typical Republican thinking...why so many are now independent.

    February 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  54. Cynthia W. Wright

    The only "Nuts" are mean-spirited, lying right-wing "haters" who want to bring down every Obama initiative but have nothing but an empty file to put forth as their plan.

    They're pathetic!!

    February 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  55. John

    For anyone who has been around for as many years as I have it would be obvious that this fringe group thing is a very recent thing. for decades our government has worked as it should. It is only in the last decade that we have experienced what we are now seeing. Also anyone with any common sense would realize that this is a planned and programmed effort to divert the American people from the takeover of our country by multi-national corporations,financial to big to fail banks and assorted other elite who wish to see this as just another third world country that they can exploit for thier own selfish interest.

    February 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  56. judy meyer

    Does anyone remember the show on Fox news at the time when John McCain was trying to find his runnng mate and Bill Crystal made the comment that he thought John should go up to Alaska and get that cute little governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. I do and it was only a few days later that he did that very thing and surprised everyone, It was as if he pulled the idea out of no where and bingo we have Sarah Palin. I truly think that is when this all started and it won't go away. I'll bet Bill Crystal remembers it well but he has never owned up. I don't know why no one has ever brought this up.. By the way I do not watch Fox news any longer. It has become such a joke.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  57. Ken

    I'm a Libertarian because I can't stand socialist causes and because I believe in the separation of church and state. The two party system is set out to benefit the two party system, not the electorate.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  58. Vynn

    Hate to be the one to tell you Glenn, but the Repubs have shifted so far right that many of them holding office right now are wingnuts. The political center happens to comprise Moderate Repubs (of which there are very few) and Bluedog Dems.

    I will caution you that the "Left" are not necessarily socialistic (I don't even think anyone truly knows what "socialism" is anymore), neither are they necessarily "pacifist." FDR sent us to war in WWII (a Dem), and Johnson sent us to war in 'Nam (also a Dem). I myself am retired military and an Independent voter (fiscally conservative-socially liberal) and yet I felt going to war in Iraq (the second time) was unjustified and unAmerican (the ONLY time I ever felt that way), while I believed war in Afghanistan was necessary and just. Your "right" side is showing.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  59. c. sanders

    I noticed, when Pres. Bush was was President, the body count in Irag was on your ticker every day, adding the number of dead. I don't see the body count on your ticker for the Afghanistan war, which President Obama is in charge of...Double standard or am i wrong for asking....

    February 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  60. bob

    By and large I think characterizing Olbermann as a wing-nut is a stretch, but I'll freely admit he's had some peculiar moments. CNN's Martin is far more outrageous, so also Navarette. Further, who are you fooling but yourself to assert that the right wing-nuts don't control the GOP? I like the little wing-nut caps though, sorta reminds me of the old "Mouseketeer" caps from Disney.

    So seriously, how do you figure to excite a healthy return to center without embracing at least some of the "progressive" agenda wherein rational, scientific argument is as least valued? A sad fraction of the right wing-nut population is engaged in a full out assault on reason and science itself, as well as the trivial pandering to lazy thinking hatred.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  61. Michael Shores

    Read Eric Hoffer's "True Believer" if you want to begin to understand the wingnuts and just how dangerous they might become with charismatic leadership. It can happen here.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  62. John

    Glenn Koons – Your entire post was a Glenn Beck/Limbaugh list of talking points. You were incoherent, and need to learn how to use verbs, adjectives, and nouns in a way that makes an intelligent point. The truth of the matter, is that this Far Right IS the GOP. Period.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  63. Vicky Bevis

    I changed my registration to Libertarian last yr. as I'm sick to death of all this "in-fighting." I'm voting ALL incumbants out regardless of party.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  64. Michael

    The lunatic fringe is there for sure, but if you want to know what informs them, tune into Faux News and hate radio with corporate paid propagandists like Rush Limbaugh, who gets paid tens of millions of dollars to poison people's minds.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  65. John Hill

    Left, right, and center, the wingnuts of both parties are running the country into the ground. We need a method of choosing congressional members without party politics. I suggest random selection from the latest census roles.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  66. patrick o'mahoney

    Dear Mr. Glenn Koons,

    Ironically, it is your comment on the "leftist radical socialist pacifist"agenda –that "RUNS" this country - which proves that there is a lunatic fringe on the conservative-right. You are it. Please, have your say, post everywhere you can, but know that you are a problem in American politics. You use your voice to spew insults, to name call, to misrepresent, to rile up people to hate, but do you ever ask yourself why?
    Why do you care to fight like a child, yelling on the playground? I think you are the lunatic on the fringe, aren't you?

    Sincerely,

    America's People

    February 13, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  67. Blowgas Billy

    CNN might call us WingNutz but it seems to me that wingnutz are the only ones in the US now that have either and/or the ballz and brains to make the case as it stands, which the case now is either sink or swim! Either the US gets its act together or it is going to SINK and very fast from view or existence on the global front. Right now the US has about as much clout in the world as an ant under the foot of an elephant. A right tough analogy, but with very much WEIGHT! My advise is that a man the caliber of Ron Paul is about the only politician that makes sense. He is a medical doctor and I would think given to not much faith in preachers and the pope, and not even rabbis for that matter. He is a good man, and it is a shame and a sham that a man such as this gravelly spoken character cannot be elected as president in THIS...our time....I supported the president now in charge...Obama, but he has shown to me nothing but weakness, since being elected president. He needs to GO!!!

    February 13, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  68. fredct

    Give me a break, Glenn. If the wingnuts controlled the Dems, the healthcare proposal would have been for single-payer european style system or nationalizing the health care system like Britain. Even the public options – which was dropped! – was only a very very weak version of the former. Cap and trade wouldn't even have been considered, rather it would be a hard, strictly enforced cap. The jobs bill being considered would consist solely of government spending and not be mostly tax credits.

    For goodness's sake, Glenn, the fact that you can't distinguish between far left and moderately left ideas makes me think you're probably a wingnut yourself. Well, really, your 2nd to 5th words in your post basically proved that.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  69. Erica McSnarkstein

    I am thoroughly disgusted with the financial waste and partisan rhetoric of Congress, and this pandering to big businesses that has run our country into the ground in the name of "profit at all costs."
    I was registered repub for many years. Switched to dem for the last election. Going forward–I plan to register independent, and vote for any candidate who is not repub or dem. If this would become a larger movement, this might be a way to clean out the current mess of congressional fat cats.

    February 13, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  70. John

    Obama is right. Every day is treated like an election day. Both sides are effing 'tarded, to quote Rahm Emmanual. Republican wing nuts are just insane, stupid and evil. There hypocrisy is never ending. Democratic wing nuts are in the Disneyland of Political Correctness in a world that is more like the Call of the Wild. Meanwhile, nothing is getting done.

    February 13, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  71. LALA

    The Red nuts don't hold office??
    You're kidding, right?

    Here in Arizona we have a Red who wants "milita members" to get dicounts on ammo.

    He also has proposed a bill that would have citizens call the authorities if they see someone using food stamps who has a ncie car, or a nice cell phone, or premium cable channels or a big screen tv.

    Look it up – Artenori – from the Tucson district.

    In addition, there isn't any sane person who would not call Michelle Bachman a nut case and she certianly IS in office . . . . . . for now.
    Even her chief of staff called "crazy" (note quotes).

    There are plenty of crazy reds in office.

    At least the traitor Cheney is not on ofice anymore.
    But he's still alive – and should not be.

    February 13, 2010 at 6:23 am |
  72. james boyer

    Under whelming even by CNN lowered standards-notice how the author paints with a broad brush without giving any examples. Glen Beck is a "nutter" and he could have given hundreds of examples-but then he would have had to give examples on Keith Olbermann and would have come up empty, same on Alan Grayson which would have been a problem for his credibility as a writer. The young man is smart because we are a center-left country with a center-right national media and he has to play to the media to sell his book. Note where the author draws his weekly paycheck, from Tina Browns blog and that explains his lack of depth and attention to specific detail. To all the haters-we have a smart black president-get over it, maybe with a calming cup of tea from your tea bag convention.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:18 am |
  73. Smarter than all you idiots

    since the other thing is closed, i'll post here.
    in regard to the blaming of bush on the economy Poll:
    it shows there is no consensus who to blame since there is so much blame to go around. however, the KEY SCREW UP goes back to clinton when he jacked the taxes to the moon. it took this long for even the highest tax hikes in history to undo what Reagan fixed. there is NO disputing this. read a book people – business 101. probably about 5 pages in.
    however, it could've been fixed but unfortunately, congress has this thing about spending money we don't have for b.s. we don't need. so even though Bush correctly lowered taxes and got things going again after the 9/11 fiasco, it wasn't enough to counter everything to come. thanks again congress!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:04 am |
  74. McCain-in-4

    Leaving any political party will not "teach" anyone a lesson, unless your state allows independents to vote in primary elections. Being frozen out of any choice will mean lunatics will make the choice for you.

    Demand your Elections Board to allow Independents the Vote!!!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:05 am |
  75. Mercfan74

    Glenn Koons, wins the "Lets see how many adjectives can you string together contest".

    Any leftist radical socialist worth his salt, would never be a pacifist. Walk up to a teamster and say that, and wait for them to kick your head in....

    February 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  76. Frederick Pohlman

    This is just another pundit obfuscating the facts. He is clearly trying to spin the confused populace into believing that The Right and the Left are somehow equals when that is not at all the case. The difference between the right and the left is not so simple a thing as apples and oranges. It is more a difference between 'confused thinking and feeling people' and an 'easily mesmerised and manipulated 'vulgate', (that is to say the GOP and tea party set). The cowardly media plays up to the 'apples and oranges concept' so as not to alienate the true lunatic element which buys most of the 'soap' that they sell. The problem for the moment though is not resolvable because of several reasons. One is that those that could ....do or say something to expose the truth of the matter are hogtied in their efforts because they 'too'...are involved in the use of some of the same techniques that their adversaries are already masters 'of', and would have to admit to their own involvement should they bring these techniques to light to the general public. Secondly...the general public is not at all familiar with such things as 'Alinsky technique' or for that matter, how 'Subliminal Advertising' is used to control them. The constituency of the Right wing , simply could never fathom the imcredibly complex techniques that GOP think tanks use to control them and manipulate their base.
    Unfortunately, the so called 'Left' is equally in the dark in terms of finding a way to explain it all to them...Seems to me , that the whole lot is going to hell in a handbasket! Tsk tsk tsk!

    February 12, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  77. Maven

    The difference is that when Left Wing fanatics run things, the worst that happens is that we all get health care. When Right Wing fanatics run things, our young men die, our country enters pointless wars, and our economy is run into the ground by corporate greed.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  78. Allen N Wollscheidt

    Glenn Koons -

    WHAT did you say ? Please decode and restate in ENGLISH ! !
    .

    February 12, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  79. Don of Iowa

    If right wing nuts do not hold offices then why are McConnel and Boehner in there, there are not any more fringe nutjobs than those two and speak of Right Wing Nut Jobs, look who is running in 2012, Sarah 'Make Up with No Brains' there isn't a bigger Right Wing nut job in the whole country and only reason she is not serving is she resigned, imagine that!?!

    February 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  80. proud independent

    I have all the respect in the world for people of every ideological stripe, and I'm willing to listen to their points of view. But people, think for yourselves, FFS,form your own opinions, don't let them be handed to you on a chrome-plated platter by all the political cheese-bags and demagogues on the landscape these days.

    February 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  81. Anne

    That's ridiculous, Glenn. If the rightwingnuts aren't driving the Republican Party, how did Palin get shoved onto the last Presidential ballot?

    For that matter, the last Republican disaster we had, named Bush, was hardly the choice of the *thoughtful* Right. I have nothing against conservatives–I think conservative opinions and beliefs are a valuable part of our political and social landscape. But I can't pretend that the current crop of national figures that represent "Republicans" are anything but wingnuts.

    February 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  82. A. Smith, Oregon

    Simply follow the money to learn why Republican wingnuts do what they do:

    The entire Republican Party is belly up to Big Oil, Big Pharma, Health Insurance giants and of course that old chestnut Military defense contractors.

    Well over $200 Million lobbying dollars alone to some 40 Republican Senators and a handful of Republican congressional members by the Health Care industry in 2008 ALONE!!!

    We are to assume the dispensing of that huge amount of money from a SINGLE area of America's interest into the greedy pockets of the Republican lawmakers and their radio puppet's was entirely LEGAL, right?

    These people have long ago sold their voice, desire, and any laws and bills they write, draft, and defeat or pass to the highest bidder. Namely, those Corporations with the most in lobbying dollars.

    Follow the money and you'll find Republican lawmakers and right wingnuts are belly up with their hands out.

    February 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  83. Tom

    If you become an independent, then the remaining fringe from whichever party with which your ideals most closely align are more likely to win the primary that you may or may not be allowed to vote in (depending on your location). End result: you are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils in the general and are likely to not feel strongly enough about the choices to even show up. Your bitter complaints about the ruling party should then fall on deaf ears as you were complicit by omission in whatever failure you perceive.

    February 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  84. Ian

    This is news? People are just figuring this out? The lunatic fringe has been running this country for the last three decades ... from the right and the left.

    Until the average American develops an intelligence level better than a houseplant, it will continue to happen. Left panders to the welfare state and the right panders to the religous kooks.

    The rest of us lose.

    February 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  85. Fly

    Seriously, no right wing nuts in office? Dude, you must not be from anywhere near the South. Two names for you; OK, one is from the north, but still both are crazy as loons.

    1. James Inhofe.
    2. Michelle Bachman

    And I couldn't remember Bachman off the bat, so I just googled "Crazy Woman from Minnesota" and got her name that way.

    February 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  86. Cami Pray

    there are wingnuts in any party. what a general statement. our problem is that there is no middle ground, we want it our way or no way. where is the critical thinkers in this country. where are the leaders in this country? I don't hear them or see them on mainstream media, in Washington D.C. or in a two party government that is for profit. None of these people are for We the People. They are all out of touch and our system is broke, possibly irreprearably.

    February 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  87. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    Mr. Avlon is absolutely correct in what he says. Those of us in the middle need to get much more involved. We need to aggresively "bash" these nut-cases the very moment they open their mouths with their ridiculous statements with well articulated statements of fact unlike their delusional nonsensical politically motivated statements that sway the public. CNN should get proactively involved in this "public education-participation process". If we don't get this job done, I should hate to see what chaos evolves from it. These so called public servants need to be discredited thus removed from the political spotlight.

    February 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  88. Darius Aidala

    Stop covering the wingnut lunatic fringe whether far right or far left... just stop giving them fawning coverage and making thier crazy talk seem important and worthwhile when it's plainly not. The media comes off as complicate in the rise of the crazies.

    February 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  89. Ken

    The wingnuts are out there I believe partially because the media need ratings. Why put on someone who makes sense instead of a screaming Rush Cheney or whatever his name is? And partially because these people have too much egotism to remain ethical. So I too have become independent from politics and from organized religion. The fanatics here don't realize they are like the fanatics everywhere; they just believe the label makes them different. Fords, Chevys, BMWs, Toyotas, etc. are still just cars. They have muddled our national conscienceness so much that only with extreme diligent study can one make a reasonable decision. And most people don't have time or inclination for this so just bear it.

    February 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  90. Ian Misco

    I look at like this..The far left is intoxicated with power and at the same time they know they are going to lose it so they are in panic mode doing whatever they can to get some part of their agenda through. On the other side of the the aisle we have the far right which is desperate to grasp power that they in fact abused themselves but are content on doing nothing but create chaos because of the rage they sense in the people about the economic situation we are in. Eventually this will all come to a screeching halt one way or another.

    February 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  91. José

    It's funny how people on the right do not see anyone in their group as wingnuts and the same on the left... Here's a simple example: if you are against government social programs and hate gays (or pretend to love god so much that you cannot allow gays to marry) then you are a right wing nutjob. If you believe that we shouldn't throw away anything or use only 1 square of toilet paper and no one should be allowed to own a business, then you are a left wing nut job. There are no left wing nuts because the right ran them out of town. The only thing is that the right ALWAYS calls ANYONE on the left a wing nut. It's a part of their ongoing strategy to rid themselves of opposition so they can finally get rid of the gays!

    February 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  92. Confusus

    Sounds like the Right's wingnuts are posting here. Sarah the almost vice Prez and Prez wantabe isn't a nut case?? Please!!!

    February 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  93. nana2roaw

    The wingnuts of the left and right are not equivalent. Sorry to have to clue you in but the loony left disappeared sometime in the 1990's. Richard Nixon would feel at home in the Democratic Party of today because it has shifted so far to the right. National Health Care, which is a cornerstone of all Western democracies is not a communist plot devised by wingnuts. Did William Sloan Coffin ever publicly pray for the death of Richard Nixon? Did anyone demand to see Reagan's birth certificate? Does the left arm itself to the teeth in preparation for Armaggedon? Does the left have anything comparable to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck? To quote Sinclair Lewis: When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in an American flag and carrying a cross.

    February 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  94. Cherry

    Ironic, since CNN long ago lost its creed of superior unbiased journalism to join the ranks of the "lunatic fringe" in this case the looney liberal-far left side.

    Go back to providing professional newspeople who can present balanced news instead of being a mouthpiece for Obama and the left, then maybe your ratings will improve.

    February 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  95. isaac

    they don't have to be in office to start trouble.thanks Sarah Palin! She is such a nut.Good lookin but she is a nut.Living in her own weird self created world.Best thing to happen to the dems was her and all the mad folks thst follow her

    February 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  96. Terry Brookman

    Sorry to tell you this but you are way behind, they took over the day JFK was killed!

    February 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  97. Tom

    Glenn Koons sounds like one of those wingnuts lol. Truth is, I joined the independents because of the extreme liberal on the left and the conservatives on the right. Both parties seem to have their valuable points – sadly, those extremes really break it. The super liberals want to take care of everyone and punish those making a lot of money, and the conservatives want to turn the country into a Christian Iran. All of them crazy.

    February 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  98. B. Dee parker

    Mr. Avlon discussing wingnuts must be taking side with the extremist. He missed some of the top 10 people. He added people like K. Olberman. Mr. Olberman gives facts and calls it what it is. I lived prejudice, so I know it when It see it. Perhaps Mr. A doesn't want to admit that the drive behind the nasty words and signs is prejudice. I disagree with Avlon but I won't be calling him names. I do have my facts – I know prejudice. This is not a lunatic fringe. People are showing how they really feel – ugly and nasty. Someone needs to tekk the truth about what's happening. Obvious, it is not Mr. Avlon. After he sits down and talk with one of the folks carrying a hate sign, then let him talk!

    February 12, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  99. Linda

    I watched this morning and was impressed about the wingnuts. Mr. Avlon was right about everything he said. I have become an independant becuase of all of the bickering and worrying about how many republicans or democrats are in office. So, I hope that there will be more people becoming independants and then maybe they will get the message...

    February 12, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  100. Glenn Koons

    Any leftist radical socialist pacifist that now is the only agenda, the only reps in Congress as Dems is the real danger. The Far Right has no effect on the now up and driving Conservative agenda for the GOP. Sorry, but there is no moral equivalance here between the nuts of the Right or Left. The nutter Left RUNS the DEMs. The Right nuts still froth but hold not offices. Sorry, CNN.

    February 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
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