Sometimes I wonder if I'm too uncharitable to the conservative movement in this country. Sometimes I wonder if it's really fair to characterize the right as an unholy alliance of plutocrats, theocrats, totalitarians, bigots, crooks, and thugs. However, I have to admit, this surprised even me. If anything, my opinion of conservatives is clearly too high.
One lone nut case waving around machine guns on stage is kind of disturbing, but relatively inconsequential. What's far more disturbing is the room full of cheering fans, and fact that the Wall Street Journal publishes his writing.
This is also why any false equivalence between nut case leftists and nut case right wingers is ridiculous. It is not the nut cases who matter; it is the relationships between nut cases and mainstream movements that matter. Nut case leftist loons who prance around on stage with weapons, yelling their fantasies about assassinating Presidential candidates and Senators, get excluded from the mainstream discourse pretty quickly. Yet nut case right wing loons like Nugent, and Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, remain tightly coupled to the mainstream conservative movement --- not marginalized, not shamed, but given voice in influential outlets where they can reach millions of people.