Rep. Bob Inglis and the Nutjob Wave

“Why do I want to represent these a___oles?”
-John McCain, 2007
(responding privately to the first wave of comments in town hall meetings accusing Obama of being a Muslim; from the book, Game Change)

This story has more threads to it than I can unwind right now.  There will probably be a follow up post.  But here are the basics.

Rep. Bob Inglis from South Carolina was one of the Young Turks of the GOP’s ’90’s  revolution.  As I’m sure you’re well aware, radically conservative by ’90’s standards leaves you sitting somewhere next to Mao on today’s expanded political spectrum.

Facing a Tea Party challenge in his nomination campaign this year, he made cautious, halting efforts to push back against the nutjobs.  He got beaten solidly.

Now he’s talking with unusual candor about what he experienced.  In particular, he is taking shots at the Party for its cynical, craven, and increasingly self-defeating efforts to ride, rather than confront, the mob.

Here’s a timeline of his story in links:

Inglis suggests to angry villagers in a town hall meeting (the town is called Boiling Springs, cool huh?) that they should reject those who try to motivate them with fear.  Regarding Glenn Beck he said, “turn the television off.” Listen carefully to the side-comments.

Beck and O’Reilly, looking down from high atop a massive pile of money, commiserate on air on how tough it is to be constantly under attack for spewing outrageous lies.  O’Reilly – “I run the ‘no-spin zone’ and I think I’m pretty straightforward…”

Inglis draws a serious primary challenge.

He takes an old-fashioned beating in the election.

He starts talking…a little late.

In this interview with the deep-left magazine Mother Jones, Inglis starts naming names.

Inglis’ situation and his reaction to it raise a lot of interesting questions.  He’s showing a lot of guts now – now that it won’t help.

Where was that ‘courage’ during the campaign?

What CAN the GOP really do about this problem?

What moral culpability does Inglis bear for going along with Boehner’s advice on the nutjobs (see the Mother Jones article)?

What does this situation tell us about the private conversations that are occurring right now in Rick Perry’s war rooms?

This is a nasty problem for the GOP, and by extension, for America.  I think there are signs that this crazy wave is beginning to generate a backlash.  That’s good.  But what will be left of the Republican Party when its over?

Worse yet, what do you suppose will happen when these people finally meet their Waterloo at the polls?  What will they do then?

More to come on this.


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