Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The GOP Conspiracy Problem

Politico writes about "The GOP Headache" that the party currently has. In this case it is the conspiracy theorists (badly chosen word there) that believe, in the complete absence of evidence, that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and, therefore, is not qualified to be POTUS. As Lisa Lerer and Daniel Libit write:

As GOP Rep. Mike Castle learned the hard way back home in Delaware this month, there’s no easy way to deal with the small but vocal crowd of right-wing activists who refuse to believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

At a town hall meeting in Georgetown, a woman demanded to know why Castle and his colleagues were “ignoring” questions about Obama’s birth certificate — questions that have been put to rest repeatedly by state officials in Hawaii, where the birth certificate and all other credible evidence show that Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961.

When Castle countered that Obama is, in fact, “a citizen of the United States,” the crowd erupted in boos, the woman seized control of the gathering and led a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The video went viral; by Sunday, it had been viewed on YouTube more than half a million times.

Between the Nirthers and the creationist/ID crowd, likely voters who voted democrat are largely going to continue doing just that, reasoning that the GOP has gone off the deep end. Every creationist/ID bill that is drafted is done so by a Republican. Every time a school board considers watering down evolution, it is always the Republican faction that does so. Until the GOP officially divests itself of the creationists and the nirthers, it will continue to be seen as the backward party that promotes ignorance instead of education and conspiracy instead of common sense.
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  1. Donald McLeroy might just as well have said, "I disagree with reality. Someone has got to stand up to reality." I'm glad Charles (LGF) has been doing the work he's been doing, but it has been getting pretty ugly over there lately. Just by bringing the issue up, he's brought to the surface lots of ugly racism that he's thankfully smacked down. In one sense I'm glad that's come out. It's puts to the lie that we don't have a "race" problem anymore. I do find it supremely ironic that the most vocal antagonists of evolution, the ones who love to connect Darwin with racism, quite often are also the most vocal Nirthers, and who often launch into thinly veiled racism in their attacks on Obama. Disgusting but not really surprising. Thanks for the essay. I'll check out the Politico article.

  2. Anonymous1:01 AM

    ....and which party affiliation do all the "9/11 inside job" clownshoes have?

    Seems like the birth certificate issue pales in comparison to the, largely Democrat, morons who continue to push this absurd idea.

  3. There are extremists on both sides, the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats with the assistance of the liberal media whitewash the ridiculous behavior of their exrtremists, like Jeremiah Wright and the Kos kids. Where is the embarrassment over Janine Garofola and Al Franken, two idiots of considerable magnitude. Where is the embarrassment over the conspiracy theorists who believe the George Bush and the CIA are behind the 9/11 attacks.

    There is no embarrassment, the Democrats never try to rein these people in.

    Why are Conservatives buying into the liberal lies that the vocal, conspiracy theorist minority of the conservative side is any more representative of the general community than their lefty counterparts, such as Code Pink?

    Have you been bought out by George Soros? Yeah, that's the ticket...attack fellow conservatives and leave those liberal Democrats alone. How can so many conservatives be so taken in by the simplistic Alinsky methods? Read the book, it is the equivalent of political science for dummies. Which is why the liberals take to is so readily.

    Best regards,
    Gail S

  4. Anonymous, your point is well taken. There is certainly idiocy on both sides. But the 9/11 conspiracy theory was hammered pretty early, thanks to the vocal absurdities of Rosie O'Donnell on The View. Popular Mechanics decimated it and, with the exception of a few useful idiots, it does not get much airplay anymore. Creationism continues to get lots of airplay all over the country in GOP circles and it just makes the party look irrational and ignorant.

  5. Gail,
    Thanks for the note. I think that you are correct that there are extremists on both sides, and it is true that the liberal media tries to ignore them in the hopes that they go away. But the general public doesn't give these people much thought. It wasn't until you mentioned Code Pink in your post that I even thought about them, because they get no airplay. The problem that I have is that, as you correctly pointed out, the GOP conspiracy theories are high profile (in part because these people want to be high profile, e.g. the Discovery Institute). All the more reason for the GOP to divest itself of these controversies. The GOP has an uphill battle against the media the way it is. All the creationism/ID flap does is make that battle harder.

  6. Jim,

    The GOP can't just divest itself of the anti-science crowd, or their electorate would shrink by a good 25% or so.

    The US has historically had two-party dominance in the political arena, and on average about every 70 years or so one of those parties crumbles and there's a reshuffling. But I believe it's been over a century since the last reshuffling. I think we're due.

  7. AMW, this is the problem. The legislators have to listen to their constituents, who often know as much biology as they do quantum mechanics. Then these bills show up in the legislation and the legislators feel beholden to said constituents or they will risk losing votes. The funny thing is that, somewhere along the way, real science gets thrown under the bus.

    I think it is time for the GOP to adopt the plank of non-interference in science education. There are way too many other issues to get all hot and bothered about.

    Will the Republicans lose votes? Maybe. But the people that won't vote for them probably won't vote at all. I doubt very many would vote for the donkey even if they don't like the elephant.