March 28th, 2015
Conservatism Is A Desperate, Sick And Absurd Conspiracy Theory
I can pinpoint one of the most gut-wrenching days of my life. November 2, 2004. I can almost nail the exact moment it became terrible: about 10:30 pm, EST.
That was the moment in which America decided to re-elect George W. Bush. I’ve analyzed that moment over and over and over, and I will go to my grave not understanding what, exactly, America was thinking.
For today’s conservative movement, it seems almost every day treats them like I felt that day.
The back to back elections of Barack Obama and the coalition that elected him were a direct rebuke to the world conservatives know and love. Even when they lost to Bill Clinton, they could comfort themselves with the thought that he pandered to some elements of conservatism, was from the south, and was a white male – and hey, he didn’t even get a majority* of the votes both times he ran. Losing to Clinton was disconcerting for the right, but here comes Obama, with well over 50% of the vote, winning with single women, minorities, all while getting walloped among white voters.
It just isn’t done. Even worse, he did so while campaigning on raising taxes on the wealthy and in the midst of a much slower economic recovery than in the past.
Especially for older conservatives, this has made them feel as if America is being ripped out of their hands.
And in response they have turned themselves over to extreme crackpot conspiracies.
People turn to conspiracies to explain things that seem illogical. In the past those catalyzing events have been the murder of a president, the killing of a presidential candidate, or a mass casualty terrorist attack on one of the world’s most important cities.
A conspiracy theory grows because it has to make the world make sense again.
To these people on the right, still confused as to how Obama could win and still maintain his office, it just makes sense that a bureaucratic screwup in the IRS couldn’t just be that. It has to be a vast and complex plan from the President himself, so obsessed with winning re-election that he did what tyrants always do and sort of kind of ordered a review of applications for non-profit groups. It’s an absurd idea, and a poor use of tyrannical powers in my point of view, but it is now an accepted article of faith on the mainstream right.
Similarly, a tragic terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in an unstable Middle Eastern country couldn’t just be what it appears for all intents and purposes to be. No, instead it’s a CIA operation covered up by a bumbling president because as we all know, the 2012 election swung on the events of a single day in a city most Americans couldn’t point out on a map.
Everything has become a conspiracy in the era of Obama, and double so since Obama’s election. Normally mundane activities – the President playing golf, his wife going on a foreign trip, the exchange of gifts with the Queen of England – have now become elaborate strategies executed by President Obama and his obedient henchmen, and of course covered up by his toadies in the mainstream media.
Actual Conservative Meme:
It’s the only way they can make sense of the world they once held in the palm of their hands now slipping away into the mitts of people they believe to be inferior in every manner.
Even the likelihood of some conservative victories in the fall elections won’t be able to chip away at the thought nagging them in the base of their brains. They now know that 2010 was not a harbinger of the resurgence of the Reagan coalition two years later. The Reagan coalition had its rear spanked and can’t realistically ever wield the power it did 30 long years ago.
Flash forward two years from now, and there is the distinct possibility that another person they are only capable of seeing as a caricature could once again snatch the precious out of their hands. A coalition of the unworthy can cobble together a majority, even as they repeat “Reagan, Reagan, Reagan” in a desperate mantra meant to disappear the progress of the last three decades.
And if she wins, you can expect another weird, illogical theory explaining it away. Again. Because the conservative movement is now a conspiracy theory.
* Correction: I originally said plurality when I meant majority
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March 28th, 2015