After appearing on SNL in the 80’s, Jackson had largely faded from public view until she reshaped herself in recent years as a tea party activist and conservative bomb-thrower. Her proclamations that Obama is definitely a communist and possibly the Antichrist sparked something of a second career, leading to a stint as a columnist for conspiracy website WND, a web-TV series, occasional Fox News interviews, and regular appearances at conservative and tea party events.
This week, Jackson ”filed to run as an independent candidate for a seat on a county commission outside Nashville, Tenn.”
During an interview promoting her book on Fox News last year, Jackson told Bill O’Reilly that while she had always been a Christian, she was apolitical until 2007 when she discovered an “underground conservative group of people” in Los Angeles that “educated” her about how a communist named Barack Obama was running for president. A Miami New Times profile of Jackson from 2012 tracing her journey from SNL to the tea party explains that while she refuses to name the “secret organization” that helped awaken her political side, she “is clearly talking about Friends of Abe,” a group of conservative celebrities whose members reportedly include Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammer, Pat Boone, and Gary Sinise.
After this political awakening, Jackson took to political blogging, making headlines in 2008 for writing on her website that Obama “bears traits that resemble the anti-Christ” and asserting that it was important to “ask if Barack Hussein Obama could be a Muslim terrorist sympathizer or a Marxist mole.” Despite her extremism and nonsensical political views, she was nonetheless quickly absorbed into the conservative movement, appearing in an October 2008 National Republican Senatorial Committee ad attacking her former SNL colleague Al Franken
Jackson’s fledgling conservatism was apparently heavily influenced by Fox News and its fever swamp coverage of Obama’s first term.
Several of you have asked me why I care what Bill O’Reilly thinks or says about me. Frankly, I don’t give a damn. But I do care that our national conversation is increasingly shrill — with name-calling substituting for civil debate and ad hominem attack for reason. O’Reilly and Fox News are partly responsible. Millions of Americans tune into his and his colleagues’ rants every day. That’s why I’ve challenged him to a debate. He obviously disagrees with me — why else would he call me a “Communist” and “secret admirer of Karl Marx,” and go after me on his show this week for even bringing this up? The fact he’s unwilling to debate speaks volumes — not just about him and Fox News but also about the poison he and others are infecting America with, making it almost impossible for people of different political views to engage in reasoned and civil discussion.
The scourge of widening inequality is causing large numbers of Americans, working harder than ever but getting nowhere, to feel frustrated and angry. O’Reilly and his ilk are using that anger to turn us against one another at the very time we most need come together to solve our problems. This is contemptible.