Steve Benen, in looking at conservative reactions to Johnson's announcement, begins to make a good point about the stupid "both sides" nonsense that attempts to portray the base elements of either side of the ideological spectrum as being somehow equal:
But this surface-level look is, at best, incomplete. Code Pink and Truthers don't have, and never have had, any meaningful role in progressive politics or the Democratic Party. Love these groups or hate them, we're talking about a fairly small group, with limited-to-non-existent influence. Indeed, Democratic Party leaders and officials take pains to keep the groups at arm's length. It's not as if leading Dem candidates, seeking high-profile offices, go out of their way to seek Cindy Sheehan's endorsement.I know practically zip about the "9/11 Truthers" and not much more about either the Code Pink movement or Cindy Sheehan's mental state. But, regarding Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan, their methods may be weird, but wasn't their message that the war in Iraq was a boondoggle? Hello? I would just point out to Benen, and anyone else that cares to listen, that another significant difference between the left's "fringe" and the right's is that ours may be "nuts", but they're right.
On the other hand, leading Republicans at every level can't do enough to express their support for the Tea Party crowd, and love nothing more than talking to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. We have GOP members of Congress, even some of the party's leadership, endorsing all manner of unhinged nonsense, ranging from Birther questions to state nullification.
The point is, there's a clear and impermeable line between the progressive mainstream and the left fringe. The line between the Republican Party/conservative movement and the far-right fringe barely exists.
Whereas Dems kept the fringe at arm's length, Republicans embrace the fringe with both arms. Both sides have nutjobs; only one side thinks their nutjobs are sane.