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In the 1990s, if people told you about three men on television spinning ever more complicated conspiracy theories about the federal government, you’d assume they were talking about an “X-Files” spinoff. If you heard the same thing today, you’d be on solid ground assuming they were talking about high-ranking members of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.Mainstream birtherism is, for the most part, dead (top Mitt Romney surrogate Donald Trump keeps hope alive, but President Obama’s birth place is no longer an actual part of the congressional agenda). Fears that the president of the United States is a secret Kenyan may have faded, but newer, bolder, conspiracies about the secret schemes at work in Washington are taking hold.
Conspiracy theorizing is not a partisan activity — plenty of progressives opposed to President George W. Bush believed sinister agendas lurked behind the scenes in his administration. But most of the outlandish claims never came from the top levels of the Democratic Party.
A look over the new grassy knoll:
The White House Plot To Undermine The Second Amendment
Underpinning much of the Republican focus on the federal Fast and Furious operation is the very real belief that the Obama administration purposely let guns fall into the hands of criminals to be used in the Mexican drug war. Proponents of this idea believe Democrats were seeking a legislative avenue for stricter gun control.
Conservative gun owners have worried Obama will be coming to take their firearms since the moment the president took office. But as the Fast and Furious investigation reached its zenith last week, with the House voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, top Republicans like Rep. Darrell Issa (CA) signed onto aspects of the theory.
The White House Plot To Destroy Right-Wing Think Tanks
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) has been on a crusade lately to protect Washington’s conservative intellectuals from what he says is an obvious plan by top White House officials to destroy some of their most beloved think tanks under the guise of campaign finance reform.
Democrats, McConnell believes, want to force groups that spend on political ads to disclose their donors so progressives can expose supporters of conservative groups and shame them out of funding the causes they care about. McConnell also says Obama’s White House has shown a Nixon-like willingness to sic the IRS on its political opponents, giving the conspiracy a real cloak-and-dagger feel.
McConnell’s solution? Republicans must stand united against the Democratic-sponsored Disclose Act, before it’s too late. But the fear of campaign spending transparency has been a tough sell for McConnell:
The Huffington Post noted:
But while McConnell’s speeches argued strongly against the notion of more disclosure itself, transparency used to be the tradeoff that conservatives would make in exchange for eliminating limits on the donations that people could give. McConnell has a long history of making this very argument. But with the Supreme Court’s having wiped away many of the caps on political giving, there is really no more need for him to make that trade.
John Roberts, Manchurian Justice
What led Chief Justice John Roberts to cast his vote with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, thus dashing the hopes — and expectations — of conservatives everywhere? Some options, as espoused by top Republicans:
Radio host Michael Savage said Roberts was on drugs. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said Roberts was in the pocket of the New York Times. The National Review said Roberts was scared of Obama after the president scolded the court during the State of the Union. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
These suggestions aren’t restricted to the conservative fringe — the idea that outside forces somehow got to Roberts is being espoused by top Republicans, including the one at the top of the presidential ticket.
“Well, it gives the impression that the decision was made not based upon constitutional foundation, but instead political consideration about the relationship between the branches of government,” Romney told CBS in an interview broadcast Thursday when asked about Roberts’ ruling. “But we won’t really know the answers to those things until the justice himself speaks out, maybe sometime in history.”
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