Crackpot Conspiracy Theories

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & Deficit, Obama OppositionLeave a Comment

Remember how the Clintons murdered Vince Foster?  That tripe was peddled around for years by conservative talk radio, and many still believe it today.

As the New York Times pointed out yesterday, conservative talk radio is salivating now at the prospect of an Obama presidency.

And already, they're rolling out conspiracy theories.  We've already heard (endlessly) about how Obama's parents, the government of Kenya, and the State of Hawaii conspired — back in 1962 — to fake the location of Obama's birth (because, supposedly, they all knew back then that Obama would be running for President one day).

Now the latest crackpot conspiracy — to wit — the entire economic downfall was engineered by Democrats in order to get Obama elected.  And heading the charge?  Limbaugh, of course:

Here’s how Limbaugh’s conspiracy theory goes: Schumer caused on run on IndyMac bank in California this summer, in order to create a feeling of financial panic amongst the public. Democrats then capitalized on this panic with electoral wins in the White House and Congress. The purpose of gaining this power, according to Limbaugh, was to nationalize U.S. industries:

LIMBAUGH: Who’s benefiting? Aside from the people being bailed out. The Democrat party and Barack Obama are benefiting.

They got elected, they increased their numbers in the House, they increased their numbers in the Senate, they got the White House now, and they’ve got a crisis that people think can only be fixed with the all-mighty and powerful government interceding to save this or to save that, when in fact, the government is going to nationalize the automobile industry. It’s going to nationalize some banks. It’s going to nationalize the mortgage industry, and may end up nationalizing the automobile industry.

This theory is quickly becoming a right-wing favorite. Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly also recently claimed that the economic crisis was deliberately manufactured — not by Democrats but by journalists who wanted to help elect Obama.

Limbaugh's conspiracy theory is a rather transparent effort to write an incorrect first draft of history, so that 4 years from now, he (and others) can claim that the economic crisis (which Obama got us out of) was actually Obama's fault in the first place.  The problem is that is, well, is bullsh*t.  Have you ever heard of the IndyMac bank?  Me neither.  And it's a pretty safe bet that most of the electorate hadn't either, when they went to vote.  But no matter.

Of course, we know better about the roots of the economic crisis:

There are plenty of culprits, like lenders who peddled easy credit, consumers who took on mortgages they could not afford and Wall Street chieftains who loaded up on mortgage-backed securities without regard to the risk.

But the story of how we got here is partly one of Mr. Bush’s own making, according to a review of his tenure that included interviews with dozens of current and former administration officials.

From his earliest days in office, Mr. Bush paired his belief that Americans do best when they own their own home with his conviction that markets do best when let alone.

He pushed hard to expand homeownership, especially among minorities, an initiative that dovetailed with his ambition to expand the Republican tent — and with the business interests of some of his biggest donors. But his housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.

Mr. Bush did foresee the danger posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance giants. The president spent years pushing a recalcitrant Congress to toughen regulation of the companies, but was unwilling to compromise when his former Treasury secretary wanted to cut a deal. And the regulator Mr. Bush chose to oversee them — an old prep school buddy — pronounced the companies sound even as they headed toward insolvency.

As early as 2006, top advisers to Mr. Bush dismissed warnings from people inside and outside the White House that housing prices were inflated and that a foreclosure crisis was looming. And when the economy deteriorated, Mr. Bush and his team misdiagnosed the reasons and scope of the downturn; as recently as February, for example, Mr. Bush was still calling it a “rough patch.”

The result was a series of piecemeal policy prescriptions that lagged behind the escalating crisis.

I find it odd and somewhat contradictory that Limbaugh can argue that the Democrats, and Democrats alone, had such power to create a worldwide economic disaster in such a short period time.  If Democrats were able to do this, why didn't they in 2004?

Of course, I'm thinking reasonably.  Rush Limbaugh and his ilk cater to Americans who don't think, much less think reasonably.

*Sigh*.  It's going to be a long 4-8 years, putting up with this garbage.