I bet you thought that right-wing talk radio couldn’t get any more vile and hateful. Well, if you believe that, then you better sit down and read this disturbing profile of a conservative talk show host named Pete Santelli. It’s from the invaluable site Right-Wing Watch.
The author of the post, Miranda Blue, explains that Santelli is the type of figure that RWW normally wouldn’t cover; his show is internet-only and his audience is relatively small. But though he’s still marginal, he’s becoming increasingly less so. Of late he’s been attracting some big-name gun activists to his show, such as Ted Nugent and the head of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt. Gun Owners of America, you see, is a group that believes the NRA frequently hasn’t “gone far enough.” Though far smaller than the NRA, it is growing in influence. This recent New York Times profile of the organization credits it with being a major player in the recent Congressional defeat of the background check gun control bill.
Now on to this Santelli lunatic. Santelli is a conspiracy theorist who dwells in the most fetid swamps of the far right. Last week on his show, he called for the execution of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the entire Bush family. As Right Wing Watch reports:
On his show last week, Santilli went on a disgusting, violent rant in which he called for the entire Bush family and President Obama to be “tried, convicted and shot” for “treason” (and in George H.W. Bush’s case “involvement with his cronies in the John F. Kennedy assassination”) and for Hillary Clinton to be “tried, convicted and shot in the vagina.”
Here’s the part about Hillary, whom he refers to as “[t]his ‘C U Next Tuesday,’ Hillary Clinton” — how charming! Observe how lovingly he lingers over this sick scenario:
I want to shoot [Clinton] right in the vagina and I don’t want her to die right away; I want her to feel the pain and I want to look her in the eyes and I want to say ‘on behalf of all Americans that you’ve killed, on behalf of the Navy SEALS,’ … the families of Navy SEAL Team Six who were involved in the fake hunt down of this Obama bin Laden thing, that whole fake scenario - because these Navy SEALS know the truth, they killed them all - on behalf of all of those people, I’m supporting our troops by saying we need to try, convict, and shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina.
The right-wing base seems to be becoming more unhinged by the minute. We see it in the escalation of far right conspiracy-mongering and in the right’s hysterical attempts to gin up alleged “scandals” like Benghazi. They seem to be finally recovering from the shock of the November election and are getting back to what they do best: halting democratic progress by stoking up rage and spreading hateful lies. Demographically, these people know they’re on the losing side of history. But as they become more politically marginal, they have made it clear that they are not going to go gentle into that good night.
The increasing militancy of the gun nut right has been particularly alarming, because that element of the right is the most openly violent and thus the most potentially dangerous. One of these days, one of those people is going to murder a prominent public official. The vicious, eliminationist rhetoric of people like Santelli and his slightly (but only slightly) less rabid counterparts like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter is all but daring them to do it. And when it finally happens, no one should be a bit surprised.
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