Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mataconis: 'The GOP and the Conspiratorial Mindset'

The post, "The GOP and the Conspiratorial Mindset," pulls some current political issues out of the shadows as is typical of Doug Mataconis who has never been afraid to face the difficult subjects head on. His latest post at Outside the Beltway addresses the split now going on within the Republican Party.

He began by noting some conspiracy theories that have floated in groups that have moved into the GOP:
Ever since Barack Obama became President, indeed while he was still running for office, there has been a cottage industry of conspiracy theories on the right making seemingly outrageous allegations about the President. They’ve ranged from the now familiar birther conspiracy that, even with the release of the President’s long-form birth certificate, still refuses to die, to claims that the Administration was conspiring to confiscate weapons from legal gun owners. For the most part, though, these conspiracy theories were mostly the province of the Internet and a segment of conservatism that most mainstream Republicans tried as best they could to distance themselves from.
His comment, "Mainstream Republicans tried as best they could to distance themselves from" the constant conspiracy theories, resonates. He then documents that some Republican elected officials have bought into those conspiracies, something that may appease a small but vocal portion of the population.

It reminded of an event in Augusta County in 2009.

In April of 2009, one of the first tea party rallies was held in Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton with a group of about 50 gathering to declare their disapproval of ObamaCare. Immediately following that small gathering, another rally was held at Expoland in Fishersville. The building filled with citizens against one-size-fits-all health care who cheered as speakers talked about fighting against it.

Then the truthers began speaking about 9/11 and accused the U.S. Government of being behind the attacks on the Twin Towers, and something about highway cameras were more than just traffic monitors, and more. It was a stunning turning point for those attending. Almost in unison, at least three-fourths of the crowd rose from their seats and began filing toward the doors, many shaking their heads and wondering who had organized the event. It was organized by the Constitution Party, another of the groups that are part of the overall tea party federation. Their conspiracy theories drove a previously enthusiastic crowd out the doors.

Mataconis ended his post with this sobering comment:
This isn’t to say that every Republican and every conservative is a conspiracy theorist or a birther, of course. There are plenty of them who aren’t and who have a perfectly rational opposition to the President and his policies that doesn’t include the need to allege that he’s involved in some vast conspiracy to destroy the country. The problem is, as it always has been for the past four years, is that these voices tend to get drowned out by the shrill voices of the Obama Derangement Syndrome crowd, and it’s that crowd that becomes associated in the public mind with the party and the movement. That is the price the GOP is paying for giving these people space to grow rather than denouncing him in the manner that they should have been.
I saw Bush Derangement Syndrome during the administration of President George W. Bush and did not like it. Now I see my side of the aisle doing the same to President Barack Obama. Sadly, those voices tend to drown out the voices of others who understand that this country can better move forward with rational, pragmatic, bipartisan leadership.

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