John Avalon, who first named Rep. Michele Bachmann as a "Wingnut of the year" on CNN, has now included her in his new book, "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America."
In an interview, he compares Bachmann to Father Charles Coughlin, the Depression-era priest and broadcaster who was an early supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but who turned against FDR and became better known for anti-Semitic speeches and writings, and sympathy for Hitler and Mussolini.
Avalon was interviewed in Politico:
What is an example of a wingnut?
It's someone from the far right wing or far left wing of the political spectrum -- the professional polarizers, the unhinged activists and the paranoid conspiracy theorists. They're the people who always try to divide rather than unite. Wingnuts confuse partisanship with patriotism.
So, who do you expect to buy the book, considering you've alienated the majority of buyers just by the title?
Washington may be the only town in the country where people think that "wingnuts" describe the "majority." But Washington is also the only town in the country where your political affiliation is the most important thing about you. Most Americans don't live their lives that way. They don't submit themselves to an ideological straitjacket.
Who are the most colorful, well-known wingnuts?
Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) fit the bill today. Louisiana populist Huey Long and the radio priest Father Coughlin could be considered colorful wingnuts from left and right during the Great Depression.