January 1, 2010

January 01, 2010 CNN

Heather: Only the Villagers like those on CNN would think that Ed Schultz and Rep. Alan Grayson's fiery rhetoric during the health care debate is the same as the insanity of Glenn Beck, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. Shame on John Avlon and CNN for this bit of false equivalency bullpucky.

JOHNS: Every week independent analyst John Avlon joins us to name the Wingnuts of the Week. Wingnuts, according to John, are professional partisans and unhinged activists.

KAYE: John even has a book coming out called "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America." And he's put together a list of last year's 2009 worst offenders. He joined Kiran Chetry to countdown the top five, including the biggest wingnut of the year.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Let's just get right to the list. We did this little countdown, and we're going to start with number five. So who made the cut for wingnut -- top five wingnut?

JOHN AVLON, INDEPENDENT POLITICAL ANALYST: Top five wingnut, big threshold, we have Ed Schultz, sort of aiming to be the liberal Rush Limbaugh this year. And here's one comment he made this fall regarding health care that really stood out.

Let's take a listen.


ED SCHULTZ, HOST, THE ED SHOW: The Republicans lie. They want to see you dead. They'd rather make money off your dead corpse. They kind of like it when that woman has cancer, and they don't have anything for her. That's how the insurance companies make money -- by denying the coverage. My God, Democrats, what's wrong with you? You can't deal with these people.


AVLON: Wow. That's wingnut stuff.

CHETRY: It sure is. And the health care debate seemed to really brought out the worst in people, I guess you could say. Your number four pick for wingnut was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, when she posted on Facebook the whole talk about death panels that bureaucrats would then decide whether people were worthy of health care calling the system downright evil.

AVLON: Yes. Boy, that ended up hijacking the health care debate this summer. And for that she won PolitiFact's Lie of the Year Award as well. So Sarah Palin, death panel Facebook post coming in at number four for wingnut of the year.

CHETRY: All right. Let's get to number three right now. And this is another controversial talk show host at number three. Tell me more.

AVLON: OK. Well, this is sort of have been the year of Glenn Beck in many ways. The man has made a big splash. He's got a cottage industry going and a lot of devoted fans, but he caught a lot of heat this year for calling the president racist.

Let's take a listen.


GLENN BECK, HOST, GLENN BECK: I'm saying he has a problem. He has a -- this guy is -- I believe, a racist.


AVLON: And the "ist" were big for Glenn Beck this year. He also talked about we're heading towards fascism, communism, socialism and talk about that America might not survive Barack Obama. It's been a big year for Glenn Beck, numero three.

CHETRY: And number two, interestingly enough, is actually a sitting lawmaker.

AVLON: It is. And it's a symptoms of the ways, sometimes crazy ends up affecting both sides of the aisle. Florida Congressman Alan Grayson tried to make a name for himself as a liberal bomb thrower. Let's listen to one of his many comments.


REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this. Die quickly. That's right. The Republicans want you to die quickly, if you get sick.


AVLON: And this was kind of mild. Grayson actually won a terror in one month, making around six wingnutty statements and end up of his -- one of the Florida residents tried to criticize him with a Web site called My Congressman is Nuts. He wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking that she be put in prison for five years. So sometimes people who throw bombs have kind of thick skin.

CHETRY: Wow. And you can't make this stuff up. How about that. All right, so who then your top number one? Your biggest wingnut of the year?

AVLON: For sheer tons of wingnuttery, we're going to give the award to Michelle Bachman. Here's just one of the many, many comments she's made this year.

"When freedom is tried, the people rejoice. But when tyranny is enforced upon the people as Barack Obama is doing, the people suffer and mourn."

There you have the whole thing tied up, one of many comments she's made, but it's been this drum beat of tyranny. Some Republicans this year on the wingnuts fear -- seem to be confusing, losing an election with living under tyranny. And it's ended up creating a whole serious of conspiracy theories. Michelle Bachman has had an unerring capacity to keep articulating.

Michelle Bachman, number one.

CHETRY: There you go. Wingnuts of the Year.

Now moving forward to 2010. I mean, we had very contentious issues. I mean, the bailout. You know, the stimulus plan. And, of course, the health care debate, which a lot of your wingnuts made comments about the health care debate, and we're shaping it in various ways.

As we look at 2010, do you think it's going to be -- you're going to see some of the partisan politics recede, or do you think it's going to get ratcheted up again?

AVLON: You know, it's going to get ratchet up. Here's the scary thing. The first year always of the new administration is usually the time where everybody comes together. Midterm election is where things get ugly. So if that's any indication, we haven't seen anything yet, folks.

CHETRY: All right. You got a lot of work ahead of you then for the next year. Happy New Year, John.

AVLON: Happy New Year.

CHETRY: Thanks so much.


JOHNS: No shortages of wingnuts in Washington.

KAYE: Well, I'm sure there won't be a shortage this year either.

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