It’s like the 90s took their vitamins

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 13:09 EDT
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The evolution of right wing crankery under the “stress” of having to live with the fact that the nation willfully elected a Democrat as President is utterly fascinating. I hope one day a historian writes a book comparing the ever-more-baroque conspiracy theories that proliferated under Clinton and Obama. The two have very different content, shaped both by the personalities and frankly the races of these Presidents, but they both have a very similiar rhythm, where new information keeps getting sucked into the theories, making them more elaborate and byzantine by the minute. Plus they conspiracy theories multiply. With Clinton, it started off with some weird stuff about Whitewater, but it got more elaborate with the murder accusations and claims of affairs and whatnot, which in turn spun off other conspiracy theories about Clinton being some sort of serial rapist. And because the far right consistently elects a lot of their people into power, that in turn led to the impeachment. But at the same time, you had all these conspiracy theories about a secret government “takeover” of the sort that was really ill-formed in the right wing imagination—they knew kicking in the doors was coming, followed by black helicopters, but to what purpose was never completely clear—that resulted in the creation of militias and eventually led, famously, to the OKC terrorist attack.

Which is why we should be very concerned about the same patterns erupting under Obama. Obama is less a target of sexual interest, but if anything, the paranoid fear that he’s “coming to take our guns!” is far worse even than it was under Clinton. Considering that the NRA-stoked paranoia about guns is what really laid the groundwork for various shootouts with the feds as well as the OKC bombing, we should be deeply worried about the amount of validation the crazies are getting from prominent members of Congress, like Darrell Issa. 

This whole situation around the Fast and the Furious scandal is a perfect example of how right wing paranoia is just turning everything into shit. I’m not a law enforcement expert, but I definitely think that there’s legitimate reasons to think the undercover operations in gun dealing on the Mexican border was perhaps a bad idea. It would be nice if it could be dealt with by grown-ups. But alas, instead we have Issa running around spewing crankery about how it was all really about trying to create more violence in order to get Americans to support more gun control. So, we’re back into black helicopter territory, presumably right on schedule. If Obama wins re-election, which of course I hope he does and which he seems on track to do, we can expect that this stuff will spiral even more out of control as it did during Clinton’s second term. But this time around, it seems there’s even more congressional validation for “our guns! our guns!” folks. Last time, the congressional paranoia was aimed at Clinton’s dick more, as we all no doubt remember well. The fact that Mexico is legitimately having a war isn’t making the tensions any lesser, either. 

I’m just worried is all. Not much else to say about it beyond that and shame on Darrell Issa. 

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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