S.C. GOP congressman slams Tea Party 'demagogues'

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Rep. Bob Inglis is a six-term Republican congressman from South Carolina (1993-99, 2005-present). Needless to say, you don’t get to that position in S.C. without toeing a very conservative line. Inglis, in fact, was one of the leaders of the Clinton impeachment effort, and enjoys a 93-percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. Even that kind of record wasn’t good enough for the Fox-Beck-Palin-Limbaugh crowd that has taken over the GOP, however, and Inglis was thrashed in his primary race by a Tea Party favorite, Solicitor Trey Gowdy, 71 to 29 percent.

Since that defeat, Inglis has been on a sort of crusade to warn his party’s leaders that if they keep going along with Tea Party style “demagoguery,” they’ll take the GOP right off a cliff. There’s a great story about Inglis at Motherjones.com that’s a must-read for anyone interested in what’s going on in the Republican Party. The story begins during the primary campaign, as Inglis meets with a small group of donors who had contributed thousands of dollars to his previous campaigns. But this year . ... these donors hadn't ponied up ... "They were upset with me," Inglis recalls. "They are all Glenn Beck watchers." About 90 minutes into the meeting, as he remembers it, "They say, '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 didn't know how to respond.

Inglis is blunt in his assessment of the extreme right’s effect on the GOP, while noting that Republican leaders are pushing rhetoric tainted with racism, conservative activists are dabbling in anti-Semitic conspiracy theory nonsense, and Sarah Palin celebrates ignorance.

Inglis goes on to explain why he wouldn’t give in to constituents’ demands that he call Obama a “socialist” (the Ninth Commandment about bearing false witness), a discussion of the Tea Partyers with Rep. John Boehner, and meetings in which he realized the leadership of the GOP was being taken over by the crazies. Finally, Inglis worries that  We're being driven as a 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 ... When we start just delivering rhetoric and more misinformation...we're failing the conservative movement, [and] we're failing the country.

Rep. Bob Inglis, Republican of S.C.: Right-wing enough to impeach Clinton, but not crazy enough for the extremists taking over his party
  • Rep. Bob Inglis, Republican of S.C.: Right-wing enough to impeach Clinton, but not crazy enough for the extremists taking over his party

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