Republican Conspiracy Theories Are Getting Darker and Darker

Illustration based on photo by Yin Bogu/Xinhua via ZUMA

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Hum de hum. The right-wing conspiracy machine is really going off the rails. That is, it’s going even more off the rails. But wait. Once you’re off the rails, can you go more off the rails? You’re already off the rails! I don’t know.

Anyway, you know what I mean. Yesterday brought us two shiny new stories. First there was Rush Limbaugh, who suggested—just asking questions, folks!—that maybe the intelligence community deliberately fed false intelligence about Iraqi WMDs to the Bush administration:

What if the intel on the war in Iraq was another disinformation campaign to damage another Republican president?…But just what if? The, quote, unquote, intelligence community misrepresented on purpose the degree to which Hussein had WMDs, cause, I’ll tell you, it was a very, very embarrassing moment for the Bush administration….What if Saddam weapons of mass destruction was also a false narrative designed to…? Did it ultimately embarrass Bush? Did it weaken the U.S. military? Whatever it did, I mean, it opened the doors for the Democrats to literally destroy his presidency in the second term.

I know what you’re thinking: Come on, that’s just Rush. He’s a jackass. And that’s true enough. But if you have the guts to click the link and read the whole rant, you’ll see that it’s based on reports that there’s a “secret society” in the FBI dedicated to destroying Donald Trump:

That is not Rush Limbaugh in the video above. It’s Republican Ron Johnson, the senior United States senator from the state of Wisconsin. And he doesn’t even have the excuse of being forced to get his crazy on because there’s an election coming up. His term isn’t over until 2022.

And yet, there he is retailing a story about a secret society within the FBI whose goal is to destroy Donald Trump. All Limbaugh did was pick up that ball and run with it.

The hell of it is that there was a sort of secret society in the FBI. It was a bunch of agents in the New York office who were obsessed with destroying Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. And they had enough clout that they were able to effectively blackmail FBI director James Comey into releasing the infamous letter that, in the end, did destroy Hillary Clinton.

I do not believe that America is on a slide to fascism under Donald Trump. However, that’s mostly because of the quality of the resistance that he’s touched off. But that resistance is sure going to need to step up its game. The Republican Party, from Ron Johnson to Devin Nunes to Tom Cotton, has demonstrated that they are not planning to rein in Trump. Far from it. They are determined to turn the party into equivalent of what dittoheads are to Rush Limbaugh. If that means smearing the FBI into compliance, that’s fine.

The resistance doesn’t have just one lunatic to fight, they have an entire party that’s apparently willing to go down any dark alley that presents itself if only it helps keep them in power. They will not accept defeat easily.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has a pretty good roundup of the entire Republican effort to destroy the FBI in order to discredit the Russia investigation. It’s worth a read. If you look at it through the lens of a party trying to bring the FBI to heel, it’s pretty scary stuff. The FBI’s leadership knows they can stop the heat they’re getting anytime they want. All they have to do is agree to support Trump and smear Democrats whenever they’re asked to.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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