Politics in the USA has a variety of traditions woven into its tapestry. And one slim and enduring thread is that of the paranoid tradition, which after all should not be taken too lightly: this sustained Joseph McCarthy before the junior Senator from Wisconsin was brought down by over-reaching himself, departing from reality, and the examination of Edward R Murrow.
Look at me, I'm officially Fair and Balanced!
The paranoid tradition also fuelled the fear and loathing of Government that led to Timothy McVeigh detonating a truck bomb in Oklahoma City with the loss of 168 lives. Nowadays it lives on, at the fringe of the right-leaning blogosphere, courtesy of the late Andrew Breitbart, for whom no conspiracy or accusation was too wild (calling the Occupy protesters “rapists and murderers” was, for him, routine).
And it is on BigGovernment, set up by Breitbart, that the latest excursion into paranoid politics has featured. We in the UK should take note of it, because this is the level to which Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips has descended as she tries to stand up her ridiculous smears on the character of Barack Obama as part of her equally paranoid rants on the Middle East.
Put directly, the accusation has been made that as part of an operation called “Fast And Furious”, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents had allowed weapons to go across the Mexican border to arm drug runners (and break drug cartels). One of these weapons was subsequently used to kill a US border patrol agent. The usual conspiracy theories reach all the way to the White House.
That there is no proven link to anyone within the Washington Beltway has not stopped the paranoia machine, which is operating on the theory that this sale of weapons was itself a conspiracy to enable the gun laws to be tightened – an accusation frequently made towards Democrats. The Forbes Online article came from Frank Miniter, a hunting advocate. Breitbart’s sites ran with it.
Thus when Young Dave commented that the basketball game he attended with the Prez was “fast and furious”, BigGovernment experienced a moment of orgiastic celebration, as the conspiracy allegation went transatlantic. It’s complete crap, one of so many over-inflated frighteners used by the paranoid tradition to maintain their idea that the rotten leftist liberal MSM is covering it all up.
It’s the kind of thing that responsible commentators tune out as they plug in their reality circuits. But Mad Mel is so desperate that she will believe anything that lands in her end of the pitch, as witness her complete acceptance that “Fast And Furious” is not merely a scandal, but one for which Barack Obama is personally responsible. And a supposedly mainstream newspaper gives her a paid platform.
But for how much longer?