In a revealing interview with AP, Inglis -- a bona fide conservative who took office in the GOP revolution of 1994 and helped lead the impeachment of Bill Clinton -- said the Republican Party had become poisoned by demagogues and racists. Inglis singled out Sarah Palin's oft-repeated (but false) claim that there were "death panels" in the health care reform bill.
"There were no death panels in the bill ... and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership. It's not leadership. It's demagoguery," said Inglis, one of three Republican incumbents who have lost their seats in Congress to primary and state party convention challengers this year.
Inglis said voters eventually will discover that you're "preying on their fears" and turn away.
Inglis said racism motivated some of the GOP antagonism towards President Obama:
Inglis, 50, who calls himself a Jack Kemp disciple because he has emphasized outreach to minorities as the late Republican congressman did, thinks racism is a part of the vitriol directed at President Barack Obama.
"I love the South. I'm a Southerner. But I can feel it," he said.
Inglis also said that right-wing media personalities were dividing the nation:
"I think we have a lot of leaders that are following those (television and talk radio) personalities and not leading," he said. "What it takes to lead is to say, 'You know, that's just not right.'"
Inglis said the rhetoric also distracts from the real problems that politicians should be trying to resolve, such as budget deficits and energy security.
"It's a real concern, because I think what we're doing is dividing the country into partisan camps that really look a lot like Shia and Sunni," he said, referring to the two predominant Islamic denominations that have feuded for centuries. "It's very difficult to come together to find solutions."
Maybe he should have written the introduction to kos's upcoming book, American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right.
Join the discussion in karpaty Iviv's recommended diary, GOP congressman: GOP is led by demagogues.