Quote of the Day: GOP Embraces “The Crazy” with Conspiracy Theories and Extremism

Rod-Serling-picture

Our political Quote of the Day comes from The Daily Beast’s John Avlon, who warns in a column titled “False Flags, Sharia Law, and Gun Grabs: GOP Lawmakers Embrace The Crazy,” that the Republican Party, in its ongoing effort to be a kind of political vacuum cleaner of all votes on the right it can muster, is playing a perilous game with its own future — and how our democracy functions.

Despite speculation after the election that the GOP would rebrand, there now seems a)little indication it will happen b)little indication that the most rightwing forces and members of the conservative entertainment complex who make big bucks by getting partisans worked up will allow it to happen. Avlon details some of the Twlight Zone-like theories on the right and laws that can only be passed where GOPers have the power but will turn off independents, moderates and centrists (and yes, they do exist which becomes evident in national elections). He starts off:

A few days after the Boston bombings, Stella Tremblay went to Glenn Beck’s Facebook page to express her conviction that the terror attack was, in fact, orchestrated by the U.S. government
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“The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops ‘terrorist’ attack,” she wrote. “One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now ‘terrorist’ attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a ‘wake up’ to all of us.”

She then linked to a video at Infowars.com called Proof! Boston Marathon Bombing is Staged Terror Attack.

Tremblay’s post, though, stood out from the wave of post-attack crazy because of her day job: she is a New Hampshire state legislator.

Like too many enthusiastic dupes, the Republican representative was echoing conspiracy entrepreneurs like Beck and InfoWars’ Alex Jones, who blend dark alternate history with a dystopian future, offering the listeners the “secret truth.”

Tremblay is part of a disturbing trend of – conservative state legislators and even congressmen entertaining conspiracy theories that are creepy and unseemly coming from average citizen, but a sign of civic rot when they start getting parroted by elected officials.

Of course, craziness is a bipartisan issue, with Republicans frequently pointing to former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as a Democratic example – but the right has been particularly prone to paranoia since Bush Derangement Syndrone on the left gave way to an epic case of Obama Derangement Syndrome from the other side.

He details some how some laws are motivated by an justified by a world belief that suggests those who have ib believe in black helicopters, then writes:

Adding to the reality-free high pitch of anxiety was the Texas state attorney general who – during the height of the North Korean escalation earlier this month – declared that the real danger to America wasn’t a communist dictatorship threatening to attacks us with nuclear weapons, but the Obama administration.

“One thing that requires ongoing vigilance is the reality that the state of Texas is coming under a new ?assault,” A.G. Greg Abbott said, according to the Waco Tribune, “an assault far more dangerous than what the leader of North Korea threatened when he said he was going to add Austin, Texas, as one of the recipients of his nuclear weapons. The threat that we’re getting is the threat from the Obama administration and his political machine.”

This is the leading elected law enforcement official in our second-largest state.

He gives some more examples, then:

This sickness is starting to infect the halls of Congress. Friday, Congressman Louie Gohmert couldn’t resist telling WND radio that, “This administration has so many Muslim brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America.”

That remark came just a day after Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jason Chaffetz of Utah held a hearing “to examine the procurement of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.”

His conclusion:

Perhaps the highest profile impact of conspiracy theories to date on national policy was the defeat of the universal background check bill – specifically the widespread claims threat that closing existing loopholes would be a first step toward a national gun registry that would in turn bring Hitler-style confiscation to America. That, of course, would in turn lead to martial law, as former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee explicitly claimed on his radio show earlier this month.

Never mind that the bill explicitly made it a criminal offense to make any such list—fear-fueled hyper-partisan narratives can outweigh facts. As Jonathan Swift famously put it, “you cannot reason someone out of something they were not reasoned into.”

The fact that conspiracy theories are percolating up to local party leaders and even the halls of Congress should be a warning sign for the GOP. As the faithful know, you reap what you sow, and the steady diet of hyper-partisan media has seeded these conspiracy theories in the minds of party activists to the extent that they are starting to shape policy debates. The embarrassing incidents are evidence of a larger problem that needs to be confronted: when you do not condemn the use of hate and fear to serve as a recruiting tool against your political opponents, the ability to reason together is undermined and self-government is compromised. There is a cost to condoning extremism when it seems to benefit “your team.”

There’s a LOT more so go to the link and read it in its entirety.

This music and intro are fitting when you read the info in his column in full:

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Avlon’s book of a few years ago is timelier than ever:

61 Comments

  1. Z, I think on a right-leaning forum, there would plenty of crazy and worse epitaphs hurled in a broad based fashion at the Dems. It is the human nature to pile on when one group is bigger, stronger or louder than the other group. At TMV we are the smaller group so all we can do is hold the fort and try and keep ‘em honest, same as outnumbered Dems would do on a rightie site.

  2. Steve K,

    thanks again for the videos.

    I am a staunch Democrat, but I agree that Democrats are winning public approval not because they are necessarily so virtuous, but because they represent a much preferable brand to the Republican Crazies that regularly shock anyone with any sanity left.

    The Schiff video from the Democratic convention, was probably the same statistically valid sample as the many college graduates interviewed on Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” feature, who have no idea where the Pacific ocean is—and reveal other unbelievable acts of ignorance. I know absolutely zero Democrats who think that Corporations should not be allowed make profits—which, of course, would totally destroy their interest and ability to be in business at all. Most of us know that, Corporations provide many economic and material benefits, but that the useful products of businesses are not the problem, rather the unethical ways they are run by CEOs and other company executives.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind if their CEOs made a trillion dollars a year, as long as part of that didn’t result from $300 million in Government subsidies (hypothetically of course) and if the people who nearly sunk Wall Street were actually required to be responsible for, and accept punishment for their greed. There then, would seem to be a shred of justice left in the world. It seems like Schiff found plenty of people who felt eager to accept such straw man portrayals of the very real financial dysfunction, which resulted in many good middle class families losing their 401ks, their jobs, their homes, their ability to help educate their children, and (in many cases) even their ability to put food on their tables! A crook is a crook, even if a golden parachute protects him from culpability and harm.

    Republicans really have become the problem, and the antics of Rove, and Norquist along with so many others, are not always going to go unnoticed by working men who really have become involuntary pawns in the plans of the rich!

    Sorry for getting on my soapbox again—I just saw Les Miserables, the movie, and witnessed the wretched society in 19th century France, which had all too many similarities to the demented world we live in now—along with the Mad Hatter opinions of so many Republicans today—not all, of course, but way too many!

  3. Petew, I would say corruption and cronyism are the problem. Why is Jon Corzine not in jail?

    “If Corzine is responsible for the alleged malfeasance of MF Global, does the Department of Justice consider the former senator, New Jersey governor and Goldman Sachs chief too big to jail?

    Who’s looking out for the little guy?”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jo.....tion-hole/

  4. Zusai,

    I’m not aware of the Jon Corzine, issue, but I do think that the government has been hesitant to go aggressively after Wall Street crooks out of the fear that an administration which seems bent on vengeance(even it that word doesn’t really apply) would only spook the business world and put another roadblock in front of our much desired recovery. Elizabeth Warren seems like a lone warrior as she refuses to believe that American Corporations have become too big to prosecute, as well as too big to fail. I expect to hear some terrific arguments and expose’s from her in the future as well!

  5. I wonder if Rangel will get his way:
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/o.....bfmE33mqhM
    “Rep. Charlie Rangel is suing the speaker of the House and a few other colleagues to have his 2010 censure overturned.”
    ” A Democratic-run House voted 333-79 to rebuke him for a slew of violations”
    Now that’s chutzpa.
    P.S. I don’t know if he ever paid the $23k fine for four rent controlled apartments he owned.

  6. Corruption is certainly an area where the masses on the left and right can join to fight the politicians. The first step might be to get rid of ear marks, which are basically public funds that are used to bribe the constituency back at home to keep electing them.

  7. If corruption is an area where left and right can join to fight then republicans need to be supporting Elizabeth Warren.

  8. z, I’ll try to keep an open mind.

  9. Yeh, you Reps need to keep an open mind. LOL

  10. I’m almost there with evolution so there is hope! :)

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