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book club > Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America by John P. Avlon - general discussion

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 01, 2011 10:05AM) (new)

We'll be reading Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America by John P. Avlon through the end of December.

This thread can be used to give book reviews as well as for a general discussion of the book. Please feel free to start a new discussion in the book club folder if you'd like to focus on specific aspects of or ideas from the book.

Wingnuts How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America by John P. Avlon


message 2: by Melki (last edited Nov 28, 2011 09:16AM) (new)

Melki | 149 comments Since I know at least one other person is reading this book, I assume it's safe to start a discussion.

I felt the book did a good job of trying to explain the vitriol demonstrated by the right since Obama's election. Parties out of power are often dominated by their most extreme voices and they essentially launch a permanent opposition campaign. Losing an election can feel like living under tyranny.

Two things I did not know - 1. Teddy Roosevelt coined the term "lunatic fringe", and 2. the "birther movement" actually started with the Hillary supporters.

Favorite lines - "The party of Lincoln is in danger of becoming the party of Limbaugh." and the quote by Eisenhower, "The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.”


message 3: by Melki (new)

Melki | 149 comments Oh, and here is my review:
In the publishing glut of "novels" by Rush Ann O'Reilly Limbaugh-Beck, it's nice to occasionally hear something from the other side of the fence.
Avlon attempts to present a "fair and balanced" look at political blowhards and their followers by including Keith Olbermann and a look at the 9/11 conspiracy theories, but let's face it -- liberals just do not ride the crazy train as well as their right-wing counterparts. One group of people signs petitions and talks amongst themselves in hushed voices. The other group repeatedly threatens, "Be like us, or we'll kill you." Which group do you think makes for more interesting reading?
The author goes to great pains to investigate the nutjobs' claims, even venturing inside the lair of Orly Taitz, a leading figure in the "birther" movement and a woman who scares the hell out of me.
He checks out claims that Obama is a Nazi by contacting an active member of the American National Socialist Party - they don't use the "N" word much anymore. The answer is no, Obama is not a Nazi and he needn't bother submitting an application anytime soon.
The book is an entertaining read, going into deeper detail on things the mainstream media have only touched on, but in the end offers no real solutions on how to repair our Divided States of America


message 4: by Shelley (new)

Shelley | 48 comments I like Melki's comment about how liberals don't "ride the crazy train as well."

I'm troubled when some people in the media (including Jon Stewart, whom I usually like)set up a false equivalency--Fox on the right, MSNBC on the left. They're not mirror images. Rachel Maddow, for one, is always fact-based. There's a difference between fact-based opinion and falsehood-based opinion.

The latter is, indeed, the crazy train.

Shelley
Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Shelley wrote: "I'm troubled when some people in the media (including Jon Stewart, whom I usually like)set up a false equivalency--Fox on the right, MSNBC on the left. They're not mirror images."

As much as I enjoy Jon Stewart, this is definitely one of my biggest problems with his show. Although I think Rachel is sometimes overeager in defending President Obama, I listen to her show every day and find her information very trustworthy.


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