On Wednesday night's edition of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow explained exactly what's going on with "Fast and Furious," and why House Republicans voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. in contempt of Congress.
We now live in what Maddow calls a "bifurcated society," in which conservative Americans get all of their news strictly from conservative sources and everyone else gets their information from a more heterogenous group of sources, hopefully. As a result, at times people on the right seem to be speaking an entirely different language than other people. Yesterday was one of those times.
The "Fast and Furious" flap building on Capitol Hill is an instance of Republicans in power trying to transfer a phenomenon out of their tightly controlled, information-proof right wing news bubble and manifest it in the real world. Whether the controversy will survive the transition remains to be seen.
The whole mess, however, has its origins in the fevered imaginings of Alabama militiaman Michael Vanderboegh, a blogger and writer of Timothy McVeigh-inspired anti-federal government fiction. Vanderboegh, who, when health care reform was passed in March of 2010, urged conservatives to commit acts of violence against Democratic headquarters across the country.
"If you want to send a message that Pelosi and her party cannot fail to hear, break their windows," he wrote on his blog when the Affordable Care Act passed, "Break them NOW. Break them and run to break again. Break them under cover of night. Break them in broad daylight. Break them and await arrest in willful, principled civil disobedience. Break them with rocks. Break them with slingshots. Break them with baseball bats. But BREAK THEM."
A wave of anti-Democratic vandalism struck multiple party offices in several cities. Vanderboegh wasn't done yet, though. It's Vanderboegh who cooked up the conspiracy fantasy that "Fast and Furious" is all part of President Barack Obama's sinister master plan to take away America's guns.
"Operation Fast and Furious" was a plan begun under the Bush administration that intentionally allowed unauthorized guns to be sold with the intention of following those guns and seeing if they would lead to Mexican drug cartels.
"Whatever you think of that style of law enforcement program, whatever you may think of the George W. Bush administration for beginning it or the Obama administration for continuing it," said Rachel, "To this militia blogger guy, to the 'Break their windows, break them NOW' guy, this got re-imagined as a conspiracy to eliminate the Second Amendment."
And of course, whenever right wingers think their gun ownership rights may be threatened, they tend to go full-tilt-boogie batshit cuckoo crazy, which is exactly what has happened.
"If it doesn't sound like it makes sense," warned Maddow, "It's because it doesn't make sense."
To Vanderboeg, liberals were planning on using what he called "Project Gunwalker" to increase the number of guns available in the Mexican border region. "If there weren't enough semi-auto 'assault rifles' in Mexico, the ATF could fix that," he wrote, "And the murders would follow, justifying the policy change of cracking down on 'assault rifles,' gun shows and the like."
And yet, as protracted and convoluted as this theory is, Vanderboegh, a genuine sponsor of domestic terrorist, a man who views himself as a member of an armed insurgency poised to take down the federal government in the name of patriotism, has gained quite a following on the right, up to and including Republican legislators like Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). Issa is currently heading the investigative committee that is trying to seize records from the Justice Department, and led the movement to hold AG Holder in contempt.
Did you get all that? If not, just watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below: