Charles Johnson is trying to put me out of a job.
It doesn't seem so long ago that Johnson, the founder and editor of the right-wing blog Little Green Footballs, was a wingnut's wingnut. He was one of the ones who led the charge against Dan Rather after Rather's infamous story about George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard service (or lack of same).
He and his Little Green Footballers spent hours poring over fonts and something called "kerning" to justify their theory that the memos stating that Dubbya had used his Daddy's political connections to walk away from the Guard were faked because you could create something that looked just like them with Microsoft Word. Even though no actual experts ever declared the memos faked, Rather was fired over the incident for failing to verify his sources properly.
Johnson was also one of the founders of the right-wing online consortium Pajamas Media, which featured hard-right all-stars like Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, et al. He was fond of describing left-leaning public figures as "idiotarians," and if he didn't originate the term "Islamofascists," he was certainly one of the people who helped spread it.And after the Republicans lost control of the House and Senate in 2006, it was the good Americans at Little Green Footballs who called for the politically impure parts of America to be purged by fire, with commentators saying things like, "I just hope the nuke attack comes soon. Let it be on the East Coast, where it belongs."
So it was startling, to say the least, when Johnson went online on Nov. 30 to explain, in his words, "Why I Broke With the Right." His reasons provide a textbook definition of the word "wingnut":
-- "Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism."
-- "Anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.)."
-- Support for "anti-government lunacy," "conspiracy theories," and "raging hate speech."
-- "Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide."
And Johnson names names: Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck, the "birther" movement, Sarah Palin -- pretty much the whole wingnut aviary. The American right wing, said Johnson, "has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff."
Well, yeah. I mean, that sort of thing has given me material for more columns than I can count. What the heck am I supposed to do if more right-wing Republicans follow Johnson's lead?
What do I do if Sarah Palin comes out and says, "You know, I don't think Democrats are really friendly with terrorists. We have some honest disagreements, but gosh-darn it, we're all in the same boat here and all this talk about who's a real American and who's not isn't good for the country"?
How am I supposed to make fun of the Republicans if they actually start acting as if they have some sort of political philosophy other than "Everything Barack Obama does, right down to the mustard he orders on his burgers, is The Death of the American Republic, but everything's OK if you're a Republican"?
What do I do if Glenn Beck starts taking his medication and stops raving like Captain Queeg at the end of "The Caine Mutiny"? What's next? Wingnuts actually learning the meanings of the words "fascism," "socialism" and Marxism" and applying them correctly? It's almost too horrible to contemplate.
But then I read that some members of the Republican National Committee are trying to enact a conservative "purity test" into the party platform, under which moderate Republican candidates, or anyone insufficiently ideologically "pure," would be denied funding or support from the national party, and I realize that, in the GOP, the lunatics are still running the asylum.
I'll have enough material to be with you for a long, long time. I hope that makes you as happy as it makes me.