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John Avlon quotes

What's different now is that while political leaders used to give talking points to talk radio, now talk-radio hosts are giving talking points to political leaders. It's all part of the suffocating spin cycle we're in. In media, politics and publishing, the conventional wisdom is to play to this base.

First, I think more Americans need to declare their independence from partisan politics on both sides. The more that Americans declare their independence, the more the parties will have to compete for their votes using reason rather than the hateful appeals.

I'm an independent. I'm a centrist. A new generation is arriving that has grown up with a multiplicity of choice in every aspect of their lives, and yet politics is the last place that they are told that they should be satisfied with a choice between brand A and brand B. It doesn't fit the way they think. It doesn't fit the way they live.

Politics follows the lines of physics: every action creates an equal and opposite reaction.

Right now, politics follows the rules of talk radio - using conflict, tension, fear, and resentment to find new recruits.

When people tap into this politics of resentment, it usually ends ugly.

A wingnut is someone on the far-right wing or far-left wing of the political spectrum - the professional partisans, the unhinged activists and the paranoid conspiracy theorists. They're the people who always try to divide rather than unite us.

One tell-tale sign of a Wingnut: they always confuse partisanship with patriotism.

It's important to remember that Bush Derangement Syndrome on the left - comparing him to Hitler, calling him a terrorist and a tyrant - preceded Obama Derangement Syndrome on the right.

If you only take offense when the president of your party is compared to Hitler, then you're part of the problem.

The American people are smart. They've gotten sick of the predictable hyperpartisan talking points and canned anger.

The two parties are still more polarized than ever before and the rise of partisan media is an important reason for it.

We need to punch back against the extremes of both the left and the right and define the terms of the debate ourselves.

I believe that the far-right and the far-left can be equally insane - but there's no question that in the first years of the Obama administration, the far-right has been far crazier. In part, this comes from parties being out of power - without the responsibility of governing to ground them, the activists and the ideologues take over.

What might be good for ratings can be bad for the country. The hard-core partisans are self-segregating themselves into separate political realities. But the majority of Americans are starting to wake up to the game.