One of the main derogatory (only just) terms for extreme right wingers is “wingnut,” which is, obviously, derived from “right wing nut”. They call anyone they perceive as even slightly liberal or left of centre a “moonbat”, though there’s no agreement on the origin of the term (which seems to reinforce the feeling that wingnuts are a few sandwiches short of a picnic).
Anyway, I like the term. It’s short, a put down, but doesn’t use obscenities, even though swearing is so often justified when talking about wingnut ideology. It’s actually kinda cute in a way. However, there’s one wingnut fantasy going on right now that is so crazy that it reinforces a literal meaning to the word: Wingnuts claim that Barack Obama isn’t “really” a US citizen, and so, is ineligible to be President.
The only reason I’m mentioning it at all is that a wingnut anti-tax group has taken out full-page ads promoting their obsession. The Chicago Tribune, which published the ad, ran an excellent refutation of the absurd claims made. They also speculate that the group is seeking publicity for themselves. That’s obviously true, but I suspect that another purpose is to set-up some bizarre justification for treating the Obama presidency as illegitimate.
They’ve done this before. The wingnuts thought Bill Clinton’s 1992 election was “illegitimate”, and spent four years trying to tear him down by exaggerating claims of “scandals” that never were. When he was re-elected in 1996, they went into overdrive to try and drive him from office (and the main leader of that effort, Ken Starr, is now apparently leading the defence of the anti-gay Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court).
So the wingnuts spent eight years undermining, sniping at, muckraking over, smearing and lying about Bill Clinton, and they seem to be preparing to do it all over again. I have absolutely no idea what their problem was with Clinton—he was hardly a liberal, after all. But their problem with Obama is obvious: He’s a black man.
Hatred is a funny thing. At first it may seem to the hater that they’re being reasonable and rational, but over time it consumes them, driving out all higher brain thought functions until, in the end, they become nothing but the hate. In the case of the extreme right, they then become the very definition of “wingnut”, demonstrating why the term was coined in the first place. The real tragedy is that such a term is needed at all.