Craziness is not new in American politics. I remember the Joe McCarthy era, when otherwise sane people believed that President Truman was knowingly harboring Communists within his administration and patriots such as Dean Acheson and General George C. Marshall were secret Soviet agents. The John Birch Society, which out-McCarthy-ed McCarthy, said President Eisenhower was a secret Soviet agent. In their heyday, the Birchers represented a significant minority of American voters at that time.
I remember the Clinton administration, when otherwise sane people believed that President Clinton was a Soviet sleeper agent recruited on a trip to Moscow when he was a college student, that he murdered Vince Foster, that he was in cahoots with a drug cartel operating out of Mena, Arkansas, that his wife decorated the White House Christmas tree with obscene and blasphemous ornaments – it seemed as if nothing was too trivial or too far-fetched to throw at him.
Where President Obama is concerned, craziness is at high tide.
Some examples: Is Obama a Communist, Fascist or Socialist? He is all three at the same time. President Obama is a Muslim. Why is a crescent on the U.S. Missile Defense logo? Obama may be (it’s hard to say) the love child of Malcolm X. It’s not the birth certificate, it’s the DNA. Obama thinks like a Kenyan anti-colonialist.
Now, it’s true that crazy people can be found on all parts of the political map. I know otherwise reasonable people who take seriously the idea that the 9/11 attacks were masterminded by President Bush or Vice President Cheney, which is just as crazy as any of the idea I’ve linked to here. But although my political bias may affect my perception, I think the current right-wing craziness is something special.
The problem with the crazy people is that if you take the time to make the argument that, no, Obama is not really a Communist, fascist, socialist, secret Muslim jihadist or radical Christian black liberationist, you find you don’t have the time to talk about what Obama has actually done and said, including his very real failures.