- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Beast Books; First Printing edition (February 23, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0984295119
- ISBN-13: 978-0984295111
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 78 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#253,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #251 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Political Parties
- #906 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Ideologies & Doctrines > Conservatism & Liberalism
- #1999 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > United States
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Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America Paperback – February 23, 2010
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"Wingnuts offers a clear and comprehensive review of the forces on the outer edges of the political spectrum that shape and distort our political debate. Shedding more heat than light they drive frustrated alienated citizens away from the reasoned discourse that can produce real solutions to our problems."
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Some examples of groups that he discusses: the Tea Party, "Birthers" who believe that President Obama was born outside of the US. 9/11 "truthers" that believe President Bush was part of a conspiracy, and a "code pink" movement that sees moral equivalency between US Armed Forces and Jehadists.
Wing nuts was also an enjoyable read. I delayed reading it after purchasing but when I finally picked it up I couldn't put it down.
“The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower
That said, Avalon does not spare the extremists on the left, even if the material is more weighted to the right. The book puts liberals Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, and groups like Occupy Wall St. under the microscope as well as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity.
Avalon gave extensive coverage to the ordinary citizens getting caught up in political misinformation, propaganda, distortions, and hate speech. From the so-called "Hatriot" groups to the "Birthers" and "9/11 Truthers". Where he missed the mark somewhat is the scant mention of agitators on the left like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (both are merely mentioned once in passing as past presidential candidates) and manipulators of the political system like the Koch brothers on the right (two brief mentions with no real substance).
With the power, influence, and determination to change our political system at every level, the Koch brothers deserved more than a couple of sentences in this book.
Those flaws aside, this book is well worth reading for anyone who wants to be well informed about the extremists operating in America today. Sadly, the people who need to read this the most are the ones who certainly will not read it, the extremists themselves. If they were to read it, it's unlikely to cause them to re-examine their beliefs and why they believe them (no amount of evidence will persuade unreasonable people).
He later adds, "We are caught in a pendulum swing of hyper-partisanship. The extremes echo and incite each other, confirming their side's worst stereotypes..." (Pg. 19) He argues that redistricting "has helped push political power to the margins," even as it resulted in 96% reelection rates, since it effectively ended competitive general elections. (Pg. 157)
Observing the criticisms of the president's health care proposals at town hall meetings, he suggests, "The roots of the town hall protests were the same as the Tea Parties---anger at the growth of government and the unprecedented spending. The fact the president had called for the health-care legislation to pass before the August recess felt to many citizens like liberal arrogance and overreach." (Pg. 30) He also notes the objections of liberals to Obama's "realpolitik agenda---a surge for Afghanistan, a cautious exit from Guantanmo, pragmatism on health care..." (Pg. 188)
He concludes the book on the note, "Washington was the original independent... George Washington warned us about the Wingnuts. We would be wise to take his advice." (Pg. 244)
Although obviously coming more from the Left, Avlon spares neither side completely in his analysis; this book (despite having been written in a mere three months in-between his wedding and honeymoon; pg. 245) will be of interest to anyone who deplores the growing "extremism" on both sides of the political aisle.