Rep. Bob Inglis weathered a storm at a town hall. And no, it's not because he's a Dem facing down the angry Teabag Mafia. No, it's because he's a Con who had the balls to tell people to stop watching Glenn Beck.
Seriously. He did. Responding to an audience member (inaudible beneath the screams of "I'm afraid of Obama!" and "socialism!" and other such Pavlovian responses instilled by the rabid right), Rep. Inglis said, "The suggestion was 'Glenn Beck.' Here's what I suggest: turn that television off when he comes on." You can hear it for yourselves right here.
Of course, the screaming ninnies didn't like that much, poor babies. Think Progress has a clip showing the reaction: boos, jeers, and a bunch of them stomping out in a huff.
Later, he called a South Carolina blogger and held a good long discussion. Mind you, he called a Daily Show/Colbert Report-watching blogger, and actually carried on a conversation. I'm just highlighting the bits pertaining to this post, but you should read the whole thing to get a sense of what conversation with a non-insane Con can be like (h/t):
Just to make sure, I asked him if he used the specific term “fear-mongering.”
“Probably,” Inglis said. “That’s what he does. That’s what Glenn Beck is all about. And Lou Dobbs. I’ve had the misfortune of listening to those shows a couple of times.”[snip]
Since we were on the subject, I asked him more about Beck.
“I don’t listen often to Glenn Beck, but when I have, I’ve come away just so disappointed with the negativity… the ‘We’ve just gone to pot as a country,’ and ‘All is lost’ and ‘There is no hope.’ It’s not consistent with the America that I know. The America I know was founded by people who took tiny boats across a big ocean, and pushed west in tiny wagons, and landed on the moon. That’s the America I heard on the streets of Boiling Springs.”
He continued: “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.”
“What you saw tonight was people who had been convinced of this negativism, and are detaching from the communities and institutions that hold us together,” Inglis told me. “And I believe in the importance of strong institutions. I’m not an anarchist. And I’m not a Libertarian. I believe in a strong, smart federal government that is able to meet challenges like 9/11, and figure out how to correct its mistakes from Katrina…”
He lost his signal. (He was, after all, on Highway 11.) He called back and we wrapped up.
“I hope to convince people that there’s every reason to be optimistic, and there is a way forward. And I hope to help position the Republican Party as the party that presents a message that America can fall in love with, rather than a message that would drive fear in order to win votes."
I'm marking this one on my calendar, because it is a rare thing for a Con to inspire me. But Rep. Inglis did. If more Cons were like him, we'd be having spirited debates on which road we should take to get where we're going, but there would be no argument about actually getting to the destination somehow. There'd be a lot less selling of fear, hate and paranoia, and a lot more healthy opposition. Bipartisanship might even be possible.
Cons will always be with us (as long as the whole party don't implode through terminal stupidity, which is looking more likely by the day). That doesn't mean they all have to be ridiculous fearmongering shysters.
More like Bob, please.