Unfettered by Reelection, Inglis Lets Loose on the Right

Bob Inglis, despite his membership in the House Republican conference, is not a wild-eyed firebrand of grassroots fiscal conservatism, a Glenn Beck acolyte, or a drum-beater against President Obama's "socialism." Not that all House Republicans are, but even those who aren't naturally inclined to participate in the Tea Party strain of political ideology know, these days, that that's where their party's bread is buttered.


But Inglis, even as the Tea Party swept the nation and became the locus of energy on the right, wasn't that type of guy. Now that the South Carolina congressman has been defeated in his June 22 reelection primary by a more conservative candidate, he's letting loose on the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins of the world. Inglis tells the AP:

"There were no death panels in the bill ... and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership. It's not leadership. It's demagoguery," said Inglis, one of three Republican incumbents who have lost their seats in Congress to primary and state party convention challengers this year.

Inglis said voters eventually will discover that you're "preying on their fears" and turn away.

"I think we have a lot of leaders that are following those (television and talk radio) personalities and not leading," he said. "What it takes to lead is to say, 'You know, that's just not right.'"

Inglis said the rhetoric also distracts from the real problems that politicians should be trying to resolve, such as budget deficits and energy security.

"It's a real concern, because I think what we're doing is dividing the country into partisan camps that really look a lot like Shia and Sunni," he said, referring to the two predominant Islamic denominations that have feuded for centuries. "It's very difficult to come together to find solutions."

Inglis, a six-term incumbent, was bounced from Congress by Terry Gowdy, a Republican prosecutor who announced he was running, in part, because the federal government was "threatening freedom," essentially making him a casualty of Tea Partyism. Which explains, in part, his palpable frustration.


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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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