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Gov. Mike Pence speaking at Tea Party rally.March 31, 2011
It will never die down.
If you're familiar with energy policy, you might have run into the term, "peak oil." Simply put, it refers to a hypothetical time at which global oil production reaches its zenith and subsequently enters a period of irreversible decline as proven resources are depleted faster than new discoveries can be made and brought into production. It has long been speculated that when peak oil occurs (and there is significant debate about exactly when that will happen), there will be an increased proliferation of research and investment into alternatives to petroleum-based fuels as cost and lack of availability make such investments more prudent from the point of view of both finances and environmental stewardship.

Many in the hydrocarbon industry, of course, believe that peak oil is a myth, that new discoveries and new extraction technologies will supersede the extraction limits on which the idea of peak oil was based in the first place, and the global oil supply will continue on unabated, with scarcity an irrelevant consideration for a clean energy future.

But what does peak oil have to do with right-wing conspiracy theorists and their increasingly outlandish effect on the American political landscape? The analogy is actually fairly apt. Follow below the fold for more.

The political movement known as the tea party and its media arm at Fox News have consistently taken up the mantle of racism, homophobia and crazy conspiracy theories. There is a widespread believe that the mortgage meltdown was not cause by irresponsible banks, but rather by irresponsible homeowners—and in particular, minority homeowners who might have been aided by the Community Reinvestment Act. In general, they deny the science of climate change, but go far beyond that by claiming that any action taken to combat emissions is part of a grand United Nations conspiracy theory called Agenda 21. Many tea party elements and other reactionary conservatives genuinely believed that the Affordable Care Act was part of a socialist plot to turn the United States toward some ill-defined notion of socialism and institute death panels where apparatchiks would supposedly make life judgments about whether our senior citizens were worth keeping alive or not.

From an electoral point of view, this ultra-conservative streak has cost the Republican Party control of the U.S. Senate. The only reason Democrats still hold a Senate majority is because of strategic blunders by Republican primary voters who nominated far-right candidates over better-liked and perhaps more mainstream contenders. If, in the 2010 and 2012 elections, primary voters had selected someone besides Sharron Angle in Nevada, Todd Akin in Missouri, Richard Mourdock in Indiana or (most laughably) Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, it would be Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fighting for his electoral life in Kentucky right now amidst a far different political dynamic.

Given the combination of their ideological extremism, their fanaticism of their media operation and their lack of anything representing a cohesive electoral strategy to actually promote conservative causes rather than generate self-inflicted wounds, I have long been a subscriber to a theory of "peak wingnut." I believed that at a certain point in time, when enough negative electoral consequences had occurred and enough crazy conspiracy theories had proved not to be true, that the energy expended in producing further fanaticism from the tea party base would prove not worth the energy produced. Peak wingnut, if you will. But the events of recent weeks have set out a convincing case that peak wingnut is, in fact, a myth.

The virulent reaction to the negotiated release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is perhaps the most striking. Even though tea party types usually have reverence for those who don the uniform, they uniformly opposed the exchange of five Guantanamo prisoners for Bergdahl—not just on the grounds that an American POW was not worth the freedom of five Taliban fighters and administrators, but because Sgt. Bergdahl himself was allegedly a traitor and a deserter. And it did not matter that these same conservative activists had previously been critiquing President Obama for not having brought Bergdahl home already. Not bringing Bergdahl home was disrespectful to the military, but in the world of the tea party, so was negotiating his release.

The reaction to the capture of the prime suspect in the attack on Benghazi was not much better. One could have expected that the conservative movement, which has invested so much time and energy into supposedly holding accountable those who were responsible for the attacks, would have been overjoyed. But Republican politicians in general were dismissive of the incident at best, and shamelessly opportunistic at worst. As Brian Beutler writes:

Treating every iterative development as further evidence of a shapeless conspiracy to gin up a reactionary political base doesn't come close to that balance. It isn't even really responsive.
Heck, Fox News even speculated that the capture of the Benghazi suspect was timed to facilitate a Hillary Clinton book tour. And ultimately, it is precisely this sort of conspiratorial fervor that leads to shocking outcomes like what happened earlier this month, when former Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary election to a total unknown, largely because despite having courted the tea party base in what has been speculated to be an informal popularity contest against Speaker Boehner, he still was not perceived to be far enough right on the issue of immigration—a key point of necessary flexibility if the Republican Party is to survive for the long term.

Oil may not be a renewable resource, but the conspiratorial tendencies of the right wing are. It's a vicious feedback loop that seems to pay no heed to cost or consequence, much less intellectual consistency. There is no such thing as peak wingnut: there's always a fresh reserve bubbling up somewhere.

Author's note: the term "peak wingnut" appears to have been first used by John Cole at Balloon Juice in 2008.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lol (14+ / 0-)

    John Cole at balloon juice offered up the idea of 'peak wingnut' years back. We still make fun of him over it.

    anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

    by chopper on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:09:20 PM PDT

    •  BTW, Professor Cole (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was as informative as usual on REAL NEWS (Al Jazeera) last night. Catch him daily at his blog, Informed Comment.

      "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

      by Joe Jackson on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:59:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong Cole (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko, JVolvo, Joe Jackson, LuvSet

        Juan Cole and John Cole took opposite sides of the original Iraq war debate.  John eventually reversed his position in the face of evidence that the war was a dumb idea and his team were morons and criminals; Juan's argument looks even better in retrospect.  

        Tom Frank was a pseudo that I coined before I found out about that guy who writes books.

        by Tom Frank on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:55:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks Tom, (0+ / 0-)

          for helping inform me (always a difficult process).

          "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

          by Joe Jackson on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:55:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Not sure I get the analogy (22+ / 0-)

    We WILL eventually run out of oil unless we drastically cut consumption - it's a question of when not if.

    We'll never run out of wingnuts.
    There is no if.

  •  Well there is a Decay Curve (20+ / 0-)

    Fox's demographics is aging out and dying off.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:13:51 PM PDT

  •  The key issue is maybe the question of seeing (27+ / 0-)

    things from "an electoral point of view" and a rightwing "cohesive electoral strategy".

    A part of Fox News ideology, along with varied internet wingnuts, has created its own constituency that is not really concerned with winning elections.  It's the part of Fox ideology that is not the media arm of the GOP.

    In fact, losing elections increases their constituency of rightwingers who feel themselves 'victims' of a 'liberal media' and political establishment conspiracy.  

    "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

    by Calvino Partigiani on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:13:58 PM PDT

  •  Wingnuts have been around (24+ / 0-)

    since the dawn of time, and we have had our fair share of them in the US during our relatively brief history.

    I think the development of information technology have given them a longer lifespan than they would have otherwise accomplished.  60 years ago, Cliven Bundy might have garnered a few lines on page 3 of a local newspaper and no one else would have heard of him; now, with radio, television, and particularly the internet, he is global news in 24 hours.

    So we just have to continue to beat them back eery time they pop out of their holes and crawl out from under their rocks, understanding it will be a never ending process.

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:14:04 PM PDT

    •  It's not the longevity, The web has made it (18+ / 0-)

      easier for them to find each other. They used to be isolated from each other by geography, one whackjob here, two over there... Now they can link up and form virtual militias.
      But the reality is, they are a small minority of the population and even when they conspire to act to overthrow the gubmint, to convene the revolution on the Mall in DC, 300 of them are about all that actually show up.
      What has given them power is that they are an easily manipulated, noisy bunch that the Koch Brothers and their ilk can use and by directing their media machine to cover them, the Billionaire Boys Club make it look like these fringe whackos are a movement, a political force to be reckoned with. And they can be motivated to turn out in off-year, down-ticket primaries to bully politicians. But if you boil it down, Cantor was defeated by a tiny minority of voters.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:34:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you are exactly right. (8+ / 0-)

        Every little town had its crazy old man screaming at the chickens and spraying vinegar into the sky and the internet just let them all find each other.

        The flip side of that coin is sites like DKos that allow progressive people to network.  

        Time will tell whether the benefits outweigh the risks.  

      •  I agree (4+ / 0-)

        I think we are saying the same thing in different fashion.

        Using the Bundy example, prior to the dramatic increases in communication technology over the past decades, he would have been howling at the moon. Almost no one would heard a thing about him and his craziness.

        With the media and internet coverage that he received, it drew hundreds of well-armed whack jobs to his side, creating a massively dangerous situation.  

        Fortunately, the situation was de-escalated by the federal authorities, and then he imploded with his racist nonsense.

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 08:38:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Internets allow them to function in a bubble (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        avamontez, CwV, Subterranean

        Ironically, the freedom the internets allows them to self segregate. It allows them to change their own reality through conservapedia. It allows them to hatch propaganda at the blog level through morans (CQ) like instaputz, Drudgery, False Flag Jones, etc where it is then spread — like manure — on Oxy Flopsy's radio show or Manatee's. Then it's on Faux Nooz, and then the trad media will ask the same questions because Faux Nooz did. And so it goes...

    •  Persistence of wingnuttery may have a lot to do (3+ / 0-)

      with two factors: 1) the development of "niche" infotainment tailored to particular populations, which allows the wingnut to spend his entire life within a right-wing information "bubble" filtering out all knowledge that might contradict and undermine his faith (Ted Cruz, for example, entered that bubble at age 11); 2) Every major wingnut meme is rooted in US Christianity (very different from European Christianity) and is crafted to defend US Christianity from the contradictions and shocks of modernity.  

  •  I know some pretty entrenched t-persons (20+ / 0-)

    that would take up arms against the United States, in the bat of an eye, to preserve the Bible.
    Because of the US Constitution!

    •  The Confederacy revered the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      on the cusp

      US Constitution, too. They just thought it worked differently than the Union did . . .

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:47:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who's the asshole above the cop-killer flag? (20+ / 0-)

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:18:04 PM PDT

  •  Because ignant has been winning since 1980 (16+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:19:13 PM PDT

  •  For teabaggers, opposing Obama is like an (22+ / 0-)

    addiction. They need to be more fierce and more extreme in their opposition to get the same "high" that they got off merely opposing Obamacare in 2009, so they have to do ludicrous and outrageous things like oppose bringing American POWs home safely.

    Sick, really.

  •  and to carry the analogy further: (10+ / 0-)

    If peak wingnut is a myth like peak oil (from which the top of the bell curve keeps receding because of ever more complex and environmentally disastrous extraction methods which feed back into ever more rapidly accelerating climate changes and ecological), then the pathology and social toxicity that we're witnessing in our political system from endless, ever-amplifying  right wing insanity is nothing more than the same kind of morbid feedback loop that fracking and tar sands and Macondo have given us in our ecosystem.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi, 6/30/07 // "Succeed?" At what?

    by nailbender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:25:05 PM PDT

  •  All about the asymptote. (9+ / 0-)

    As fossils fuels are depleted, we'll use less of them, but without ever depleting them entirely.

    As conservatives deplete language by talking too much, eventually they're reduced to gibberish, but without depleting coherence and intelligibility entirely.  (Or else they'd make no noise at all.)

    It's science.

    "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." (Artemus Ward)

    by Silencio on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:25:19 PM PDT

  •  No it isn't (6+ / 0-)

    It is just their peak will result in widespread civil unrest and violence.

    I need your support, my paypal is:

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:26:11 PM PDT

  •  wanna see wingnutter in all its radiant splendor? (6+ / 0-)

    Check the reviews of Hard Decisions on Amazon.

    “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world's greatest need.” Frederick Buechner (born 1926);

    by vickijean on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:27:07 PM PDT

    •  Makes me want to buy it now : ) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You can read what others review these people have written, (but maybe they don't realize that)

      Musk perfume
      Star Trek
      Refrigerator magnets
      Pyrex & Corell
      Warmachine, the game, Batman, the movie
      A book on Michael Jackson
      Lots of gadgets
      A book on bugs in Georgia
      A Time/Life book on WW2 flying craft

  •  Peak Oil is a doomsday cult (0+ / 0-)

    They are waiting for society to collapse.

    When I got laid off, my right-wing friend said that it was because of Obamacare. My peak-oiler friend said that it was because of peak-oil. Both beliefs require no evidence whatsoever.

    There is no evidence that we are running out of oil. Hubbert's prediction for American oil production was totally wrong.

    Peak-oilers counter with the assertion that we will run out of oil eventually. So what? We all know that. If you can't tell me whether will will occur in ten years or ten thousand years, your prediction is totally useless.

    What I don't understand is why otherwise rational environmentalists embrace this peak-oil nonsense?

    My theory is that they think that if we repeat it often enough, the movers and shakers will start moving away from the use of fossil fuels.

    This is sheer folly! Those people aren't going to be fooled. They probably know a lot more about how much oil is in the ground than we do.

    I think that people pushing peak-oil theory are more likely to burn their bridges in a fool-me-once scenario.

    People are going to say, "You were wrong about peak-oil, so why should I believe you about climate change.

    I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

    by Ender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:28:15 PM PDT

    •'s an actual thing. (22+ / 0-)

      In the 1950s you got a yeild of 100 barrels of oil per barrel of oil you use to extract it.

      Today you get a yeild of about 6 to 12 barrels of oil per barrel of oil you use to extract it.

      When you reach a yeild of 1 barrel of oil for 1 barrel of oil to extract it, the game is over.

      Yes...there's still oil in the ground. But you get no net energy yield from it.

      The Canadian tar sands oil needs energy to heat it up to make it flow, making it a ridiculously low yeild energy source. If we're taking tar sands oil seriously as an energy source, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel and we should be worried.

      •  That's a non-sequitur (0+ / 0-)

        It in no way shows that we are running out of oil.

        I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

        by Ender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:38:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If you have a lease to a 100 million barrel (0+ / 0-)

        oil field that you think is not economical to extract, I will be glad to take that lease off your hands.

        I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

        by Ender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:42:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We STILL haven't beaten our 1970 peak domestic (3+ / 0-)

        oil production, according to the US Energy Information Administration (go to the link, check the top box for total US oil production (since 1859), then hit the 'graph' button).

        I'm reminded of OPEC Oil Minister Sheik Zaki Yamani's comment that "the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil." It'll just get more expensive than it's worth--especially if its price starts reflecting the true cost of carbon emissions.

        Even if the sharply rising trend indicated in the graph for recent years does match or exceed the 40+ year old production peak, it simply reminds me of former Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-MA) and his warning not to "Drain America First".

        "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

        by bartcopfan on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 09:16:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I said world oil production was an all time high (0+ / 0-)

          Domestic oil production is much higher than predicted by the Hubbert graph and on the rise.

          I believe that it will exceed the 1970 value in a couple of years.

          I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

          by Ender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 09:28:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed, but how long will it last & what then? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bring the Lions, Ender

            We will have drained America first.

            I'm quite sure that those advocating "drill, baby, drill" aren't talking about world oil production.

            And this discussion is irrelevant to and separate from the discussion of global warming. We're already over 400 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide for the first time in (meaningful, modern) human history and that's an increasing trend as well, baked in for hundreds (thousands?) of years. In the face of that, what difference will it make that for a few (several? even a generation or two?) years in the early (to mid-) 2000s, the US set a new record for domestic oil production?

            "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

            by bartcopfan on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:05:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed, peak oil theory is irrelevant to everythin (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It's global warming that we need to worry about.

              If we continue to burn all of the fossil fuel that we can extract, there is a one out of one hundred chance of triggering a runaway Venus effect.

              Imagine rolling two ten-sided dice. If they both come up zero, you die, I die, everyone dies. All species larger than a comma go extinct.

              I don't want to take that chance.

              I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

              by Ender on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:50:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Hubbert did not predict that oil would run out! (8+ / 0-)

      His theory, based on actual observation of oil well life cycles is elegantly simple.  Basically it states that the extraction cost of each additional barrel of oil rises over time.

      Hubbert's theory does not say anything about running out of oil.  His theory doesn't rule out the ability to increase production of oil.  It simply says that the cost of each additional barrel of oil will rise.  (Now, the implication is that at some point oil becomes too expensive for mass use - but that's not what the theory deals with.)

      The increase in oil from shale and oil sands actually perfectly illustrates Hubbert's theory - those are extremely expensive methods of extracting oil.  No one would be using this technology if they had cheaper ways to extract oil  (Same for deep ocean drilling - it's expensive!)

      Hubbert still rules.

      •  Hubbert published a prediction graph (0+ / 0-)

        of oil production in the United States. It is a bell curve.

        Hubbert was totally wrong about that.

        I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

        by Ender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:12:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yep (3+ / 0-)

          God will keep creating oil underground for us to use anyways so it's all good! (Actual wingnuttery)

          Seriously, 'peak oil' came and went already...they're wringing it out of the ground now, plus they run this show since they've got all the money. How do you think they got so rich? You know. Petroleum products.

          I get your bottom line approach to the subject, and the heads up about the doomsday cult. Your concern is noted.

          Citizen #6 on Moon Base Callista

          by Mike E on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:37:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  He predicted that domestic conventional oil would (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          peak in '73?  And he missed the North Slope fields, which resulted in domestic conventional production peaking in about '77.  Total fail on his part.

          222 house republicans support the Ryan budget that would convert Medicare to a premium-support program. In other words, they want to repeal Medicare and replace it with a system that works just like Obamacare.

          by happymisanthropy on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 09:11:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hubbert didn't invent law of diminishing returns (0+ / 0-)

        which is all that you are stating.

        Hubbert failed to predict improvements in technology that allow us to economically extract more oil. He didn't predict the north pole melting and uncovering more oil reserves.

        In 1962, Hubbert predicted that world oil production would peak at a rate of 12.5 billion barrels per year, around the year 2000. In 1974, Hubbert predicted that peak oil would occur in 1995 "if current trends continue."

        As of 2012, both world crude oil production and remaining proven reserves were at record highs.

        I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

        by Ender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:30:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If we are economically extracting more oil... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yonit, ItsaMathJoke

          Why doesn't the price come down??  So far, all technologies that have increased or maintained production cost more than previous extraction technologies.  (That's the basis of Hubbert's prediction.)

          •  Because the demand keeps increasing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And Bush wrecked the Middle East.

            I think the the speculators at Goldman Sachs have more to do with oil prices than supply and demand.

            And it's not exactly a free market when a handful of companies control all the production.

            I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

            by Ender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 08:43:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Hence the gold scams (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bring the Lions

      See Twilight Zone "The Rip Van Winkle Caper." Please proceed.

  •  They've been saying the same shit for fifty years (3+ / 0-)

        Ever since I can remember -- and I remember my first job as a driveway attendant at a Standard Oil gas station in Sioux Falls South Dakota when I was 16 -- oil companies have claimed with great sincerity and earnestness that we're going to run out of oil.  That we've reached the peak of production and we're on the decline.  
          That's just like the Republicans claiming that anything -- anything -- that protects the environment is going to cause catastrophic economic collapse.  That any change in the social status quo will forever shred the fabric of society.
         It is not true.  It has never been true.  Yet we believe the Republicans every time they say this shit.  Do your self a favor:  the next time you hear a Republican politician or a businessman come out with the gloom and doom, laugh in their face.   They are wrong and they're just trying to scare you into doing what you're told.
         If, on the other hand, oil companies somehow get it right one of these times, there will be people like Elon Musk who will produce an electric car, powered by solar collectors even, that will take oil's place in the economy.  

  •  But as long as the demand for wingnut is there (5+ / 0-)

    the wingnuts will keep supplying more.  Let's not bullshit around here.  The problem is that a significant number of white middle Americans believes this wingnuttery or aren't bothered by it enough to vote for Democrats and liberals.  

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:36:26 PM PDT

  •  2016? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dbcoe, JeffW, METAL TREK, Dancing Frog, offgrid

    Peak wingnut will occur when they get a true-believer presidential candidate who loses big.  Ted Cruz 2016 might do it.

  •  Analogy not very apt. (4+ / 0-)

    Not sure what oil and wingnuts have in common other than your placing the word peak in front of them.
    Cheap conventional oil already peaked in 2005  we're just making up the difference with LNG., Ethanol, tar sand,-actually bitumen-very dirty stuff, and tight oil...all with net energy problems. Monbiot and Maugeri have gone to the dark side and can no longer be trusted.
    The mortgage problem was brought on by oil at 147 dollars a barrel which froze up the credit markets. Yes the paper was bad but it's worse today there's more bad paper than ever. 29 trillion more issued by central banks. Not to mention the trillions in notional value of derivatives. Ack!  But I do agree that these wingnuts do have and outsized effect. Maybe we can render them when oil get scarce.

    skip the light fandango, turn cartwheels across the floor

    by radicalink on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:41:37 PM PDT

    •  maybe there is more to it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bartcopfan, Yonit, Bring the Lions

      some people wait around for peak oil to "fix" all our wasteful energy habits & stuff like climate change.

      some other people seem to wait around for GOP stupidity to finally exhaust itself and for our "friends" on the other side of the aisle to finally come to their senses.

      In each case waiting around for something, no matter how inevitable it might seem, is not the good move.

      We have to push push push for better energy habits.

      And we have to beat the right.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:53:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  peak wingnut (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    aka the marginal propensity to be stupid which exists only in theory. So pleased to see my traveling governor addressing the crowd. The more he's gone, the less damage he can do.

  •  Whoa! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Al Fondy, Yonit

    The problem with this article is that the writer makes the mistake that may doom the democrats to permanent minority status.  That is, he focuses solely on GOP blunders in national elections.

    Democrats chose to continue to overlook the fact that elections are local matters and the landslide local victories by the GOP, even in Democratic strongholds like PA, MI and WI, means that the GOP will control the elections apparatus for decades.

    It will not matter how quickly old white people die off and are replaced by young brown people; if those young brown people cannot get to the polls it won't matter.

    True, the GOP blew it in 2010 and 2012 with looney senate candidates.

    It only delayed the inevitable until this year.

    Democrats need to understand they cannot rely on winning only non-gerrymandered elections if they expect to gain/regain the majority.

    Now, if you REALLY wanted an issue to jump on, then take a look at the photo accompanying this article and ask why on the front of the speaker's podium there is displayed the yellow snake flag of the cop killer.

  •  The Powell Memo was 1971 Not 2011. (4+ / 0-)

    What we're seeing is not a popular movement that can peak, it's the downward spiral of democratic governance and economy, which is being taken by its owners back down to its historic floor.

    This idea of peak wingnut is a debate that should've happened around 1982 when the phenomena had been advancing steadily for nearly a generation, and formally organized to a large degree for at least a decade according to then publicly available documentation.

    Academic studies showing government represents only the rich, finally coming out in the last few years quantifying trends that were underway when the Beatles were still recording.

    I think I've found a community more stuck in the past than the religious right, and it seems to be civilization.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:48:03 PM PDT

  •  Fact: Peak oil is not a myth. (7+ / 0-)

    One can debate when it will happen, but not if (unless we stop using oil, period). Oil is a finite resource which is not replenished on human time scales. On the other side of the ledger, oil is being burnt Everry. Single. Day. New recovery technologies, as well as discoveries of previously unknown deposits can push back the date at which peak oil arrives, but can never avoid it occurring. It's simple math. Any number which is always subtracted from and never added to (again, on human timescales), will eventually reach a level which is effectively zero.

    Anyone who denies that is an idiot or a liar.

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:48:10 PM PDT

    •  Right on! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BelgianBastard, bartcopfan, Yonit, offgrid

      Oil companies threw 600 hundred billion at oil production in the last year or two and only increased the production 1 1/2 percent. Jeez The vaunted Shell Oil spit 4 billion into the ocean on a rig in the arctic and then folded dragging the rig back home but not before it ran aground on the rugged Alaskan coast. Understand the problem oil runs everything. Egypt peaked 1995. What happened there. United States peaked 1970's Ukraine owes Russia billions for energy, they are totally broke and now being carved up. China just moved a second rig into Vietnamese  coastal waters risking a local war...cause cause there's so much oil just laying around. We buy most of our oil from Canada and Mexico, if there is so much oil around here and next door why did we kill 100,000 in Iraq to get more.

      skip the light fandango, turn cartwheels across the floor

      by radicalink on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:53:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Peak Oil Theory is bunk (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Yes, oil is a finite resource. Yes, it will run out one day.

      We all know this!

      If you know these two things, you don't need Peak Oil Theory. The rest is simple deductive reasoning. If a finite resource is getting scarce, it will increase in price. (use your own definition of "getting scarce") First the extraction industry will go after the low-hanging fruit, then as the price rises, it will become economical to put more effort into it.

      I think that the ancient Egyptians probably understood this. I can image some underling reporting to the Pharaoh that the gold mines weren't producing as much gold.

      So the Pharaoh said, "Use those more expensive iron picks and shovels instead of the bronze ones and put more slaves on it!"  

      If you are exploiting a limited resource, this is going to happen. It's simple economics and it wasn't invented by the peak-oilers.

      What the peak-oilers did invent is the Hubbert curve and predictions of when global oil production would peak and predictions that the world economy would soon collapse after that.

      All of their timeline predictions have been wrong.

      Without a timeline what good is peak oil theory?

      For example, I know that the sun is burning hydrogen. That hydrogen will run out one day. (It won't completely run out, it just won't be able to sustain a fusion reaction.) That's not a theory. It's a simple deduction. The astrophysicists can make a good prediction as to when this will happen. That is a theory. It is not a simple deduction as, "That stuff is going to run out one day." It actually says when the inevitable event will occur.

      I've got people splitting hairs with me in this diary: "Hubbert didn't say that we would consume all the oil, it would just get to be too expensive to extract." Well duh! What's the difference?

      Or: "Peak Oil theory predicts the mid-point of the depletion and not the end." What's the difference?

      PS: I don't think that oil or coal are replenishing on any timescale. Bacteria have evolved to consume what makes them.

      I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

      by Ender on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 10:15:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stop contradicting yourself (0+ / 0-)
        Peak Oil Theory is bunk (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, oil is a finite resource. Yes, it will run out one day.

        We all know this!

        On the plus side, you didn't waste many electrons accomplishing it, just a truckload afterward.

        No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

        by koNko on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:56:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The effective finiteness is not a trivial claim (0+ / 0-)

      Solar production is also finite, after all -- eventually, the sun will die.  Whether we'll still be around when it happens is a different question, since the answer is "of course not."  (In fact, Homo sapiens is, as a species, senescent; few species last more than 50K years, and we're close.)

      As a result, the question of whether there are effectively finite supplies is the interesting one, not the question of whether there are finite supplies.  That's actually not at all clear -- anthropogenic climate change could shrink consumption so radically that our descendants would always have more than enough.

  •  It's sort of like a crease in the spacetime (0+ / 0-)

    continuum. The very reason the Teabaggers are around is because a sizable segment of the populace is seriously unhappy with our present socioculturally manufactured reality and has decided to collectively reject it in favor of their own reality. Such deep cultural-cognitive schisms emerge from time to time. Europe went through one at the dawn of the modern era and then experienced a couple more during the 20th century. The Teabagger Fault is basically the latest manifestation of a major ideological fault line that has been around in the U.S. since before the founding of the Nation. It's roots arguably came over here with the Puritans and the Baptists. It came to its most violent eruption to date during the Civil War and is currently once again very active obviously. What the outcome might be - time will tell.

    "I understand, Mr. Spock. The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity."

    by brainwave on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:52:08 PM PDT

  •  It became obvious to me that (5+ / 0-)

    wingnuttery was a bottomless pit last winter when we had the various wingnuts in the south posting videos of the "fake" snow. An unusually bad winter with a very natural explanation although one tied to global warming and these nuts went to Alex Jones instead.

    What has to happen is the cultural equivalent of the Scopes trial where they are publicly humiliated in front of the entire nation and the entire cultural movement leaves the public sphere for a generation or the nation is in big trouble.

  •  The question's being examined... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    richardvjohnson, Yonit, offgrid

    ...from the wrong angle. It's not one of there ever being a diminishing supply of wingnuttery, but of diminishing acceptance thereof. That is to say, there will always be those selling it, but will they eventually be driving away more "buyers" than they can gain?

    I still think a time is possible - not inevitable, mind you, but possible - when the wild'n'wacky world of wingnuttery repels more than it attracts, resulting in a net loss of adherents.  

    A microcosmic example may be found in LGBT rights and acceptance, wherein the more strident and hysterical the voices of opposition have become, the more their acolytes have dwindled.  

  •  I find phenomena like "Peak Wingnut" (10+ / 0-)

    to be incredibly frustrating because, even if they have roots in what was thought of as strategic analysis or tactical theory, even if the idea being embraced had nothing to do with a cop-out or conflict dodge mentality at all, it was just another concept that communicated the dangerous notion that there was something that would serve as an alternative to fighting. An alternative to making an argument against Movement Conservatism, and to making an argument in favor of non-Conservative or liberal policy options and leadership as a better path. A 'we win the fight, without fighting' gambit. It wasn't the intent. It wasn't the idea behind it. It was just a toxic byproduct to a movement that is riddled with forces and voices that long for a way to beat a war machine with Tai Chi and patience.

    If the Right is going to destroy itself, or come to it's senses and peter out, then, basically, you have to wait them out. Defense. Hold the ground you have. Pick your battles. Survive. Endure.  

    Movement Conservatism, rather brilliantly, has built an empire based on an intellectual foundation of bad faith. Liberalism doesn't have a tactical or strategic foundation in systemically operating in premeditated or baked-in bad faith with those it ideologically disagrees with to get ahead. I have never met a liberal who would write up, and then pass, and then field an army of lawyers to defend in court, up the Supreme Court, a law making it almost impossible for a conservative to vote. All the while knowing that what they were doing was wrong, but since it would be helpful, it was okay. "Those" people are evil. So they merit no quarter or consideration. It's not in the wiring of those who want good government, working roads and bridges and schools, and for upward social mobility and basic class fairness and equality of social prosperity to be this way.    

    So, there is this trap. The Waiting for Godot. For good faith. For tipping points. Realizations of wrong. Shame.

    The only thing that beats them is a fight, a winning argument that is brought to them.

    Movement Conservatism is like a fire, if you keep throwing logs on it, keep the air flowing, it will burn. The logs are resentment. Does resentment trump common sense? Does resentment make millions not want to listen to those they resent, or have been taught to resent?

    So how does bad faith factor in?

    "Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed".

    If x didn't work, it was because it was not conservative.

    How can you tell it wasn't conservative? It didn't work.

    If y failed, it was because they were too liberal, in a time when, to the Right, liberal just means 'bad, or things I hate'.

    There's no good faith to kick in.

    So much of how the Right operates is based on enabling them.

    Liberals, like anybody else, get seduced by things they would very much like to hear. Believe. I've been fighting, for years, the disarming notion that something that makes me feel really really good is vastly more substantive than that. Sometimes I lose, at least for a while. 'Peak Wingnut', no matter how the theory is broken down, or a person's version of what the means, has a component to it where wingnuttia hit's a tipping point where it's excess destroys itself.  

    Some of the smartest people I know, some of the most cynical people I know too, still bought into the notion of 'Peak Wingnut'. I get it. Because, if it had been true, it would have been awesome. Like total faith in demographics being a lasting fix, it offered up the idea of a lasting, maybe permanent, fix. Sadly, the decades of steady triumphs by Movement Conservatism tells me that the only way the Right is held in check is by fighting them. Politically. Ideologically. On all levels of political engagement. You can't let anything go. Not even a bogus talking point or meme.

    Resentment and Bad Faith is a tough nut to crack.

    So, there's no tipping point that isn't won in battle. Direct and occasionally indirect sustained confrontation.

    At least there is recognition.

    The base of the GOP is even more conditioned by the dogmatic black and white answers it offers to do the same thing expecting that, this time, things will be different. Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed.

    Peak Wingnut? It would have been nice.

    The upside to falling for a notion that has great appeal, but turns out to be a mirage, is that, at least in my experience in Democratic politics, the grassroots or base-level Democrats or liberals who find themselves deeply disappointed by such ideas are even more resistant to finding themselves in this place again.

    In a movement that often recalls the notion of "Lucy with the Football" to describe itself getting jammed up by the same things?

    That's not a small or insignificant insight to gain.

    "Real journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." -George Orwell

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:17:18 PM PDT

  •  Great diary up until the Cantor part. Cantor di... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lorikeet, musicsleuth, Yonit

    Great diary up until the Cantor part. Cantor didn't lose on immigration. He lost because he abandoned his district and alienated the voters there by making it seem like he was better than the common folks.

  •  You would think that Peak Wingnut (5+ / 0-)

    would be when the mainstream media started to marginalize them, rather than giving them credibility.  Instead, you have Jake Tapper giving credibility to the Bergdahl slander, you have Iraq war architects given a platform on Iraq now, you have failure to disseminate the truly loony ideas of Dave Brat, etc.

    So it's not just that they can get crazier.  It's that the likes of Gregory et al won't call them crazy.

  •  NOM and Operation American Spring (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnitaMaria, Yonit, Dirk McQuigley

    NOM held a rally for one-man-one-woman, and got low turnout compared to prior years.

    Operation American Spring was supposed to attract "10-30 million" protesters. That was obviously far too optimistic a prediction, but they didn't even get numbers that would look pretty respectable. A few dozen came, at most. Their excuse for low turnout? It rained.

    Their turnout is pretty good when somebody with deep pockets is paying professional organizers and covering the costs for transportation and the like. The turnout is respectable, not embarrassing, because the professionals know to pull the plug early on if there won't be enough people, or know how to generate bigger turnout, if early numbers aren't too good.

    Supporters are not driving their movement under their own steam; they are willing participants if the moneybags orchestrate everything, so all they have to do is be on time to catch the bus.

    Support for the tea party has dropped quite a bit between 2010 and now. More poll respondents say that they are familiar with the tea party, and fewer support it, more disagree with it.

  •  FDR: All we have to fear is fear itself. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bartcopfan, Yonit

    RWN:  All we have is fear.

  •  The Hobgoblins that Haunt the Right-wing Mind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yonit, Dirk McQuigley

    have no limit. The reptile-brain folks live in a world of fear, because without the ability to reason, they can't put their irrational fears to rest. For this reason, there is no end to the crazy and stupid stuff that comes out of their mouths.

  •  It will always be easier for people... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yonit, Bring the Lions turn on the TV than pick up a book. have an "expert" explain something to them than to form their own ideas. listen to pre-digested "facts" than go out and discover them for themselves. zero in on one "fact" (or forcefully-presented opinion) than see the gestalt of all evidence.

    It will also always be more entertaining to listen to fire and brimstone speeches and watch "controversey" than to thoughtfully reflect upon the issues.

    Therefore, all the things that feed the wingnut will continue to be easier than the things that banish them. Thus, wingnut will be with us for as long as those in power deem stupidity to be useful.

    Odds and ends about life in Japan:

    by Hatrax on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:50:44 PM PDT

  •  To be fair, it takes two to tango... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But the housing bubble was more of a manage a trois or even quatre; many banks lent money to people who the knew couldn't afford the payments (which often started low but balloned later on).  They also lent to people with little or no income or assets, some even encouraged borrowers to lie about their income (Look, Joe, put whatever you want, we're not gonna check anyway...). Stupid right? Well no. Because the ratings agencies  (S&P, Moody's and Fitch) somehow rated these loans as ultra safe investments, so the banks who made the loans could sell them on, while pocketing significant fees for initiating the loans. Dumb of the ratings agencies, right? Umm, still no. They pocketed significant fees too, for rating these ass-ets. Telling your customers they are frauds, turns out not to be profitable. So these loans were sold to other banks, who obviously didn't do due dilligence. I'm not a banker, and I knew this was coming more than a year in advance. I wasn't the only one. Google it. Stupid of these banks, right? Well, yes and no. These loans offered high returns for suposedly little risk. This meant these banks stood to make a lot of money, but because of triple A ratings, they didn't have to reserve a lot of capital, so the could make more per share by having these assets (yes, only in theory). So greed all round so far.

    So what about the borrowers? I'm sorry but the were greedy too. They wanted houses they couldn't afford. Sure they are less guilty than the others - who were professionals - but they clearly didn't bother to do the math, signed up for stuff they didn't understand and in some cases lied to get loans. That makes them partially responsible. That's just true, unfortunately.

    I feel bad for people who did do the math, took out loans they could pay back but lost out because they had to pay too much for their house or later lost their jobs because of the Great Recession.

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:56:51 PM PDT

    •  Sorry but "both sides are responsible" is bullshit (0+ / 0-)

      EVEN IF you 100% buy banks were "forced to loan money" to the poor and minorities because of the Community Reinvestment Act, the fact that the banks sold these liar loans as AAA investments involved significantly more money than the mortgages did.

      Moreover, the reality is we have a lot of idiots among us. People who do not understand investment and risk. But when the market is good, it's easy for some slick salesperson to convince you that you won't lose money since your home will always appreciate.

      The very fact that banks made money and had no documentation loans means that they knew what they were doing. The average home buyer might not have.

      You would rather blame the victims because they bought homes they really couldn't afford. When you dangle the prospect of owning your dream home that normally is outside their price range, it's not hard to entice people to empty their savings to support the greater grift. It's the kleptocracy that caused the housing bubble to burst. It's the kleptocracy that caused the economy to tank, nearly causing another depression. It's the kleptocracy that was bailed out by the American taxpayer.

  •  Nope. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "One could have expected that the conservative movement, which has invested so much time and energy into supposedly holding accountable those who were responsible for the attacks, would have been overjoyed."

    Exactly what has happened since January of 2009 that would have made anyone expect that?

    As for the concept of 'peak wingnut', it's not about whether or not said wingnuts exist, it's whether or not they're being taken seriously enough to move the national debate on whatever topic in their direction.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

    by grape crush on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 07:59:08 PM PDT

  •  It isn't a myth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chicago Lawyer

    We just haven't reached peak wingnut.  I think it will take another Presidential loss in 2016 to reach it.

    •  Agree. As crazy as the Tea Party is... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      offgrid, JG in MD

      and as shockingly backward as some of the stuff happening in Republican-dominated states has been, nothing I've seen at the federal level since 2010 matches the unbelievable horseshit of the Newt Gingrich/Contract for America congresses during the Clinton Administration (when the Moral Majority/Christian had a much bigger and vocal influence).  One reason I strongly hope Hillary runs and wins in 2016 is that having another Clinton in the White House will make that crew go absolutely nuclear.  The nutters will push for the most unconstitutional nonsense (e.g., nullifying election results, pre-emptive impeachment, declaring an official religion, imposing 90-day waiting periods for abortions) out of fear that the New World Order/Illuminati finally will assert their mind-control over the good white folk of this country.  The media will catch a Republican candidate for office saying the N-word in a televised speech (I thought Sarah Palin would in 2008).  It will be just awesome.

      •  having another Clinton in the White House... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JG in MD

        ...will make that crew go absolutely nuclear."

        That's why I voted for Obama twice. Irrespective of anything he accomplishes, his merely being in office has greatly accelerated the self-immolation of the political right.

  •  bagger energy plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hatrax, srelar

    I asked a teabagger why he was so against solar energy. He said it would be lots more ficient to just send a oil company to the sun and bring back tankers full of energy. When I pointed out that would not work because the sun is so hot he replied without any hesitation 'They need to land at night and be gone before morning'. So I told him 'Here's your sign.'

  •  I call it distillation. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Their increasing crazy causes increasing numbers of unforced errors and self-inflicted wounds diminishes their number, but what remains is more and more motivate, more wingnutty, more crazy, more credulous of their religious leaders and media moguls, who in turn fleece them.

    But as with alcohol, once it is distilled to a certain potency, it is quite flammable -- eventually, explosively so.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 08:11:39 PM PDT

    •  their rigging of the house is feeding it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the repugs gained enough state legislatures that they were able to redraw the house district maps in their favor. this has led to the concentration of the crazy that is played out in the primaries.

      in the end this is what dooms so many of them in the senate races that are much more open and less the result of gerrymandering.

      I think it is only going to get worse as the wingnuts age. as in most primaries it's the older people that vote in the highest numbers (I think...) and unless they redraw the districts to dilute the crazies were stuck with these morans for a while yet.

      at this point they are drinking bath tub gin and the rest of us are going blind.

      "If you do not speak up when it matters, when would it matter that you speak?"- Jim Hightower

      by perdiem on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:41:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I believe in "Peak Wingnut" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yonit, offgrid

    But it might be several more Presidential Electoral Cycles before it hits.

    Should the Democrats take all three Chambers in 2016 - and I fully expect that to happen - That may set the stage for the peak to occur, if the victory is decisive.

    Should Democrats be able to achieve realistic electoral and legislative victories between 2016-2020, that might provide impetus.

    I think the earliest we might see it really begin in earnest is 2024, if/when Democrats are able to maintain the Chambers again.

    Some of you might immediately think it is impossible that one party could keep a virtual lock on the Federal Government for 8-10 years, but I think it is possible.

    With each new electoral defeat, wingnut will become crazier. The crazier it gets, the less they win elections.

    The less elections they win, the less they get done. The less they win, the crazier they get.

    The crazier they get....the less they win elections.

    I think that this type of vicious cycle, if it continues long enough, will finally allow "Peak Wingnut" to occur, when the crazy can no longer be sustained with fervor...when some of the die-hard adherents die off...when whatever is left of "Not Completely Crazy" conservatism actually bothers to stop the crazies in their tracks.


    They'll get so crazy that they'll write themselves out of electoral politics!


    Yes, it's very possible Democrats can fuck all of this up. But after 2009-2011, I think they'd have to be exceedingly stupid to do so again.

    We'll see though. We'll see.

  •  The Problem Is It Always Works (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Wingnuttery 101- as a wingnut you're always right.

    The enemies of True Americans are always wrong.

    Take this basic "philosophy" and have a media network to blast it to every corner of America, and you have a never-ending base of support.

    Your audience is made of people that know a little but not a lot.  They know they're getting screwed, but they're not sure how.  They know things used to "work better" but they're not sure where it went wrong.

    They are also generally "losers" in the mainstream media.  These are demographics that are mocked and ignored by the urban elites, the young, the hipsters.  No one in the MSM cares what they think or say.

    So you flatter them and tell them that they have it all right, but the "powers that be" have it all wrong.  Tell them that they are being screwed over by powerful forces (that sounds right).

    Only the "powerful forces" are teachers, unions, professors, any liberal or Democratic politician, and assorted entertainment figures.  The "saviors" are other True Americans who just happen to have a billion dollars (God bless 'em) or are former CEOs and lawyers just looking to be humble servants for the Silent Majority.

    If your side wins, it's proof of your superiority (never mind liberals talking about the money your campaign had or blaming it on "racism").  See, you were right all along.

    But if it loses, it's the nation that is losing.  We must fight back against the enemies of True Americans.  

    This is the way it never "ends".  Threats are constant, even if old ones mysteriously disappear (gay marriage, Obamacare).  It's constant warfare.  Hence, a constant audience that is told how important they are in this "time of crisis."

    Besides getting money "out of politics" (a necessary but seemingly impossible step), besides getting rid of the right wing media need to get rid of the psychology of the wingnuts.  You need to have citizens that don't feel that imminent destruction is going to happen if some part of the "order" is changed.  Like blacks and women and gays becoming more equal.  Like the nation being less white.   Or less Christian.

    We may be guilty of the "same thing" here, but that's only because we're talking about concrete threats.  Like billionaires stripping away the New Deal or corporations buying themselves immunity to anything they do.  On the other side is a notion that its a zero-sum universe, and that what little the white working class has is due to everyone below them, or not like them, having less.  That once things are more "equal" the great Other will come and take their fair share from them.  

    If you live with that fear, you're primed to be a wingnut.  THAT is the real problem.

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

    by Bring the Lions on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 11:40:17 PM PDT

  •  dude (0+ / 0-)

    Seems like you ought to add a link to John Cole coining the Peak Wingnut idea just before Obama won in 2008.  The phrase became one of the blog's running themes ever since.  

    FWIW the first deconstruction of John's peak wingnut idea came in the very next post at Balloon Juice.  I still feel pretty good about that one.  

    Tom Frank was a pseudo that I coined before I found out about that guy who writes books.

    by Tom Frank on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:50:58 AM PDT

  •  The election of America's First Black President (0+ / 0-)

    triggered a wingnut "surge" that we know as the TeaParty in general, and "Obama Derangement Syndrome" in particular.

    When people aren't acting rationally, or voting in their best interests, you have to look for hidden emotional motives for their behavior.

    Contemporary conservatism isn't overtly racist, but racism is the emotional fuel that has sustained it since the mid-sixties.  The Republican Party seized the resentment of the generation that "fled to the suburbs" in the sixties, and fought school-busing in the seventies, and skillfully transformed it into a general antagonism toward "big government".

    They played the dog-whistle artfully and kept that resentment simmering to win one election after another, even while robbing those middle class voters blind. But the pot boiled over when America voted to let a black man enter the White House through the front door.

    However, the generation that "lost" the civil rights battles of the sixties is now dying off. They managed to infect a great number of their children with the anti-government meme, but the emotional foundation for it isn't as strong in boomers who grew up in a multi-cultural America.

    Some Young Republicans today carry their parents' secret racist fire in their bellies. But most are just opportunists, or simply haven't outgrown their adolescent infatuation with libertarian promises of unfettered personal liberty.

    I expect to see the wingnuttery decline rapidly after PBO leaves office. The Morans who stormed the ACA town hall meetings in 2009 will reatreat back into the disgruntled apathy that kept them at home before 2008.

    It is my fervent hope that their excesses and failures have made such a bad impression on America's voters that we'll see a powerful liberal resurgence in the wake of their departure.

    Unfortunately, they will have left behind a tangle of gerrymandered districts and conservative state legislatures that will take years to clean up. The other challenge is that partisan strife has left many young voters "turned off" by politics... we need to bring them back on board.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:17:06 AM PDT

  •  PEAK WINGNUT? JUST WAIT (0+ / 0-)

    England achieved peak wingnut in 1649 when it assassinated it's legitimate ruler and anointed king, Charles I. (the German for Lord Protector is Fuehrer)

    Germany achieved peak wingnut in 1945.  Auschwitz means the same in every language.

    The United States has had a secret hankering for Fascism all its life.  McCarthy, not quite.  Reagan, nice try.
    Wanna try again?

  •  Another reason we can't achieve "peak wingnut": (0+ / 0-)

    a declining overall population means that the nutters need to go even more wingnut to attract the same amount in low turnout elections.  They can attract the same percentages of the overall electorate to low turnout elections, but that means that they are attracting a larger amount of their smaller group.

    The evolution of Jindal's comments from "Party of Stupid" to his most recent comments show that they are worried about off year turnout.

    I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

    by AZphilosopher on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:34:18 PM PDT

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