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It’s a Conspiracy!

The (non-existent) plot to destroy the American economy for partisan advantage

Aug 15, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 45 • By NOEMIE EMERY
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“The Democratic party is purposely sabotaging the private sector of this economy,” Rush Limbaugh told his 20-million-plus radio audience. “It’s on purpose. All of this economic destruction is on purpose. .  .  . They are purposely targeting the private sector—sabotaging it, if you will.” Jeannie DeAngelis in the American Thinker agrees: “Barack Obama has spent the last 1,000+ days defying reason and choosing policy directions that seem nonsensical. .  .  . Could it be that [he] is purposely pressuring the system in a pre-meditated effort to foster a .  .  . crisis? One that would demand extraordinary measures to control?”

Thus we now have two different efforts at sabotage; each undertaken with malice aforethought, and each hoping, at least in the short term, to bring the country’s economy down. But oddly enough, the Democrats seem to believe the Republicans are undermining the president’s efforts to enact his own policies because they fear his ideas would help the economy; while the Republicans think Obama himself is enacting policies he has purposely set up to fail. This means that each side believes that the other accepts its ideas of which policies are better, a sure sign of projection and fantasy. But if both sides agree on what helps the economy, then why are there two parties and numerous arguments? This is something that neither explains.


And neither explains how they know there is malice, not merely mistaken ideas. Mistaken ideas are often adopted in earnest. Some members of the America First movement before World War II were active seditionists, but most underestimated Hitler’s ambitions, recalled World War I and did not want to relive it, and thought that if we left it to its own devices, the world would not bother us. Joseph P. Kennedy feared the loss of his children. Norman Thomas distrusted colonial powers. Charles A. Lindbergh tried to enlist the day after Pearl Harbor (he was stopped by a vindictive Franklin D. Roosevelt) and spent the rest of the war serving his country. Young members of America First campus chapters, such as Gerald R. Ford and R. Sargent Shriver, surely intended their country no harm. 

A closer call was the behavior of Democrats in 2007‑08, when they did their best to kill the surge in Iraq before it got started, which would have had dire consequences for the United States, the Middle East, and the world. “This war is lost,” Senate majority leader Harry Reid said in June 2007, not sounding unhappy. But perhaps they believed that the war had been lost, and that this latest attempt was merely prolonging the agony—and risking, and losing, additional lives. When the GOP sabotage theme emerged in June 2010, the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait suggested, contrary to his fellow liberal bloggers, that “Republicans probably weren’t engaged in conscious economic sabotage” but “allowed themselves to change their mind in a way that dovetailed with their political interest.” On the other hand, he linked to a rationale for conscious sedition that blogger Jonathan Zasloff had posited: “If you’re a right-wing Republican nutcase—which is to say, you are a Republican—then you think that Democratic policies are very, very bad for the country. .  .  . So of course you want to ‘sabotage’ any economic recovery .  .  . because you believe that any temporary improvement will pale in comparison to the medium- and long-term damage that Democratic policies will cause.”

But if you were a Republican nutcase who believed Obama had tanked the economy all by himself with the stimulus, health care, and deficit spending, and you wanted the economy to stay tanked through November 2012, would you oppose all of his plans for more stimuli, health care, and deficit spending? Wouldn’t you back those policies, and urge cap and trade in the bargain? More spending, more light rail, and more regulations! Now that would be sabotage! Full steam ahead!

And if you were Obama, or a liberal nutcase, and you wanted to turn the United States into a social democracy, would you start by trying to trash the economy, on the dubious chance that voters would let you hang around long enough to get a chance at redesigning what they already knew you’d destroyed? Or would you try to build programs you imagined would work, that would make people’s lives better, that would lead them to trust you, and to ask for more? 

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