Thursday, April 22, 2010


"Moderates" ...Are Insane; Alternative Right

Anybody who watches the mainstream media with a critical eye notices a number of tropes they keep returning to again and again. One of them is their love of "moderates" or those who get "beyond partisanship." Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Joe Lieberman are three examples of national politicians who have been hailed as centrist figures, whatever that means. In fact, the idea that the nation needs more "moderation" has been the basis of quite a few books in recent years, among them Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now, The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics, and most recently, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America. Who or what is a "Wingnut"? According to author John Avlon1,
It's someone on the far-right or far-left of the political spectrum. They are the professional partisans and the unhinged activists, the hard-core haters and the paranoid conspiracy theorists.
So the problem with these Wignuts is both their tone and views. As far as national figures go, Glenn Beck is, of course, the worst sinner, offering a regular "Comrade Update" on his show and warning of a slow descent into Communism. John McCain's nomination in 2008 was a "repudiation" of the more extreme Karl Rove(!) but the choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate was divisive. The Tea Party is uncivil and represents "the birth or white identity politics," an idea that the author informs us he owes to David Frum. Other villains of the Right include Michael Savage and of course, Rush Limbaugh.

To be a good centrist, Avlon needs a Wingnut of the Left for every one on the other side of the political spectrum. Among liberals, he targets exclusively antiwar figures such as Code Pink and Michael Moore. It was Winguts who ran the antiwar Ned Lamont against the hawkish Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primaries. Avlon doesn't include an example of anyone too liberal on social issues or illegal immigration for civilized society.

Read the rest here.

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