Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who lost recently in his primary run-off for the Republican nomination to keep his seat in Congress, is speaking out about the influence of hate radio and right-wing fear mongering in the Republican Party. In an interview with the AP, Inglis called out reactionaries like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck for spreading “demagoguery” and hatred in society:
– Noting that Palin had spread the “death panel” smear, Inglis said, “there were no death panels in the bill…and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership.”
— Inglis slammed GOP leaders for following hate radio talkers, rather than leading on principle: “I think we have a lot of leaders that are following those (television and talk radio) personalities and not leading […] What it takes to lead is to say, ‘You know, that’s just not right.”
— Inglis on the right-wing’s effort to divide America: “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. It’s very difficult to come together to find solutions.”
— Although Inglis did not hear the racial slurs hurled at Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) at a tea party protest on Capitol Hill during the health reform vote, he did see threatening and abusive behavior. “I caught him at the door and said, ‘John, I guess you’ve been here before,’” said Inglis, referring to Lewis’ role in the Civil Rights movement.
Like Inglis, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) lost his GOP primary, despite a similarly conservative voting record. Bennett later slammed the GOP for being held captive to far right-tea parties and Fox News, noting, “I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas.” Inglis, who stood out as one of the only Republican lawmakers to publicly criticize Glenn Beck, warned that voters eventually will discover that the GOP is “preying on their fears” and turn away.