With extremists on both left and right driving so much political debate in the US these days, it seemed an appropriate time to talk with John Avlon, author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America."
What they're hijacking is a system that only succeeds when there is compromise from both sides. Unfortunately, the concept of working with those you disagree with to achieve a common good seems to be lost between the 10% on one side and the 10% on the other side who disavow anyone in the middle, particularly those who attempt any kind of cooperation.
Among the points Avlon and I discussed:
- how so many Tea Party protesters don't know that their tax rates and government pork have both been reduced in the last year
- the irony of Fox News stars turning on Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative members of the US Senate
- which liberals qualify as members of the lunatic fringe
- whether the media is failing in its coverage of these extremists
- what effect he expects these political divisions to have on the elections this fall and in 2012
John Avlon is senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and a contributor to CNN.