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Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking Americaby John P Avlon
Synopses & Reviews
What’s a Wingnut? It’s someone on the far-right wing or far-left wing of the political spectrum - the professional partisans and the unhinged activists, the hardcore haters and the paranoid conspiracy theorists. They’re the people who always try to divide us instead of unite us.
Wingnuts looks at the outbreak of extremism in the opening years of the Obama administration – from the unprecedented government spending that spurred the Tea-Party protests to the onset of Obama Derangement Syndrome. John Avlon explains how hate-fueled rumors take hold (one section is called “How Obama Became Hitler, a Communist and the Antichrist”), looks at the ‘hunt for heretics’ that is taking place inside both parties and details the rise of hyper-partisan media. Avlon profiles preachers who are praying for the president’s death, goes inside the growing “Hatriot” movement and parallels the “Birthers” and the “9/11 Truthers.” The book compares current merchants of political paranoia with past fear-mongers and finds that divisive demagogues have sold this snake oil before. But the two parties’ increased polarization and the echo-chamber of the internet are helping the fringe blur with the base, making the Wingnuts more powerful than ever before.
We are allowing paranoids, hysterics and hyper-partisans to hijack our politics – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Avlon asserts that centrists need to stand up to the extremes on both sides and declare their independence. The book ends on a hopeful note – the conclusion is “How to Take America Back from the Lunatic Fringe.”
A bad craziness is snaking through America in the first years of the Obama administration: THE WINGNUTS ARE ON THE ATTACK
What's a wingnut?
A wingnut is someone on the far-right or far-left wing of the political spectrum - professional partisans, unhinged activists, and paranoid conspiracy theorists. Barack Obama campaigned as an antidote to the politics of polarization, promising to transcend the old divides of left and right, black and white, red states and blue. But in the first year of his presidency, he is presiding over an eruption of hate and hyper-partisanship that threatens to mock the promise upon which he was elected.
Wingnuts is a reported exploration of the outer reaches of American politics, told from the perspectives of a radical centrist who believes that the far right and the far left are equally insane. On the way, we'll meet the Queen of the Birther, Orly Taitz, and the Orange County pastor who is openly praying for Obama's death. We'll get a look into the life of Obama senate opponent Alan Keyes and the draft-Palin movement, as well as the liberal anti-war Obama protestor Cindy Sheehan and her allies in Code Pink. Wingnuts will look at people trying to bridge the political divide, like the Afghan war vet who founded Republicans for Obama.
About the Author
John Avlon is senior political columnist for The Daily Beast. He served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics. He lives in New York City.
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