GOP Rep. Bob Inglis had a little sit down with David Corn from Mother Jones to discuss his recent defeat. In a meeting with donors who thought he
wasn't conservative enough. After about an hour and a half, Inglis recalls,""They are all Glenn Beck watchers." They said to him,"Bob, what
don't you get? Barack Obama is a socialist, communist Marxist who wants to destroy the American economy so he can take over as dictator. Health care
is part of that. And he wants to open up the Mexican border and turn [the US] into a Muslim nation.'"
Inglis has criticized Republican House leaders for acquiescing to a poisonous, tea party-driven "demagoguery" that he believes will undermine the
GOP's long-term credibility. And he's freely recounting his frustrating interactions with tea party types, while noting that Republican leaders are
pushing rhetoric tainted with racism, that conservative activists are dabbling in anti-Semitic conspiracy theory nonsense, and that Sarah Palin
The week after that meeting with his past funders—whom he failed to bring back into the fold—Inglis asked House Republican leader John Boehner
what he would have told this group of Obama-bashers. Inglis recalls what happened:
[Boehner] said, "I would have told them that it's not quite that bad. We disagree with him on the issues." I said, "Hold on Boehner, that
doesn't work. Let me tell you, I tried that and it did not work." I said [to Boehner], "If you're going to lead these people and the fearful
stampede to the cliff that they're heading to, you have to turn around and say over your shoulder, 'Hey, you don't know the half of it.'"
Inglis met with about a dozen tea party activists at the modest ranch-style home of one of them. Here's what took place:
I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there's a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you
were born based on a projection of your life's earnings, and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, "What
the heck are you talking about?" I'm trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said,
"You don't know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don't know this?!" And I said, "Please forgive me. I'm just ignorant of these
things." And then of course, it turned into something about the Federal Reserve and the Bilderbergers and all that stuff. And now you have the
feeling of anti-Semitism here coming in, mixing in. Wow.
While he was campaigning, Inglis says, tea party activists and conservative voters kept pushing him to describe Obama as a "socialist." But, he
says, "It's a dangerous strategy to build conservatism on information and policies that are not credible...This guy is no socialist."
"The word is designed to have emotional charge to it. Throughout my primary, there were people insisting that I use the word. They would ask me if he
was a socialist, and I would always find some other word. I'd say, "President Obama wants a very large government that I don't think will work and
that spends too much and it's inefficient and it compromises freedom and it's not the way we want to go." They would listen for the word, wait to
see if I used the s-word, and when I didn't, you could see the disappointment."
I refused to use the word because I have this view that the Ninth Commandment must mean something. 'Thou shall not bear false witness against thy
neighbor.' For me to go around saying that Barack Obama is a socialist is a violation of the Ninth Commandment. He is a liberal fellow. I'm
conservative. We disagree...But I don't need to call him a socialist, and I hurt the country by doing so.
Inglis lists examples of how his party turned toward demagoguery: falsely claiming Obama's health care overhaul included "death panels," raising
questions about Obama's birthplace, calling the president a socialist, and maintaining that the Community Reinvestment Act was a major factor of the
financial meltdown. "CRA," Inglis says, "has been around for decades. How could it suddenly create this problem? You see how that has other things
worked into it?" Racism? "Yes," Inglis says.
"We're being driven as herd by these hot microphones—which are like flame throwers—that are causing people to run with fear and panic, and
Republican members of Congress are afraid of being run over by that stampeding crowd." Inglis says that it's hard for Republicans in Congress to
"summon the courage" to say no to Beck, Limbaugh, and the tea party wing. "When we start just delivering rhetoric and more misinformation...we're
failing the conservative movement," he says. "We're failing the country." Yet, he notes, Boehner and House minority whip Eric Cantor have one
primary strategic calculation: Play to the tea party crowd. "It's a dangerous strategy," he contends, "to build conservatism on information and
policies that are not credible."
What about Sarah Palin? Inglis pauses for a moment: "I think that there are people who seem to think that ignorance is strength." And he says of
her: "If I choose to remain ignorant and uninformed and encourage people to follow me while I celebrate my lack of information," that's not
Inglis is a casualty of the tea party-ization of the Republican Party. And when he thinks about what lies ahead for his party and GOP House leaders,
he can't help but chuckle. With Boehner and others chasing after the tea party, he says, "that's going to be the dog that catches the car." He
quickly adds: "And the Democrats, if they go into the minority, are going to have an enjoyable couple of years watching that dog deal with the car
[edit on 3-8-2010 by 12GaugePermissionSlip]
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[edit on Wed Aug 4 2010 by DontTreadOnMe]