Even the right isn’t far enough to the right

EVEN THE RIGHT ISN’T FAR ENOUGH TO THE RIGHT…. Rep. Bob Inglis (R) of South Carolina isn’t exactly a moderate — he has one of the more conservative voting records in the House. When he held a town-hall meeting in his district on Thursday, Inglis’ constituents were probably pleased to hear about his opposition to health care reform.

But the crowd turned ugly when Inglis suggested it’d be a good idea to “turn the TV off” and stop listening to Glenn Beck. “Turn that television off when he comes on,” the conservative congressman said. “Let me tell you why. You want to know why? He’s trading on fear.” The fearful audience responded with relentless boos for their far-right representative.

But it got worse. Gabriel Winant reports on some of the highlights from the same event.

[T]he more acute a questioner’s paranoia, the more eager the crowd’s support. The video begins with a woman saying she’s afraid of President Obama and the congressman asking why — in response, the audience erupts with people calling the president a socialist. “You should be afraid of Obama!” one says.

Later, a woman named Rose asks about being forced to accept vaccinations, and the crowd applauds. You can hear a shout about “martial law!” One man, seemingly with the approval of his peers, describes how everyone he knows is talking about revolution. Apparently there’s even widespread concern about the involvement of the federal government in the regulation of light-bulb efficiency.

Winant, noting Inglis’ conservative voting record, added, “If this guy is a sell-out Constitution-violating secular statist to a significant portion of the party base — it’s hard to know how representative this crowd really is — then the GOP is heading to some strange places.”

“Strange” isn’t the first adjective that comes to mind, but it’ll do.

Inglis later told a local blogger, “The America that Glenn Beck seems to see is a place where we all should be fearful, thinking that our best days are behind us. It sure does sell soap, but it sure does a disservice to America.”

It seems the South Carolina congressman saw the results of this disservice first hand. When even far-right lawmakers aren’t quite far-right enough for the activist base, it’s a dangerous situation.