When you think of conspiracy theories, you probably think of people in crazy costumes with teabags hanging from their hats, their eyes glaring, their nostrils flaring, warning the world that a Muslim Nazi Communist Alien has invaded the White House and stolen their “freedoms.”
That’s nonsense, of course. Barack Obama is not a Muslim, not a Nazi, not a Communist. He was not born in Kenya. And, as president, he has not revoked a single American freedom.
But the crazies might have cause for their paranoia. It sure smells as if something fishy is going on.
I don’t think President Obama is the mastermind of the plot, whatever it might be. And I suspect the responsible parties are the opposite of the people those Tea Party types are raving against. What if the conspirators are not Socialists or Nazis but free-market fundamentalists bent on dismantling the welfare system put together under FDR and strengthened by ensuing governments?
That conspiracy theory is more complex. It would involve the genius of misdirection. The conspirators would make it look as if the president and his allies are up to the very mischief they, themselves, are concocting.
Or do you think the president is in on it?
What if the whole “politics” thing is a stage play, devised to distract our attention from the real business at hand? Could the Democrats be in cahoots with the Republicans? Are they trying to lose control of the House and Senate in November? Does President Obama want a Republican Congress?
Could he have an agenda we know nothing about? An agenda that can be implemented only with his “opponents” in power?
I know. I sound as if I’ve lost it. What possible evidence could I have to support such wild surmise?
But the man who campaigned for president on a promise of change, the man who insisted yes we can, hasn’t shown up in the White House. In his place is an ultra-pragmatic president who makes backroom deals with health care executives and plays golf with international bankers.
In his place is a president who appointed Alan Simpson as co-chair of the Deficit Commission – Alan Simpson, who views Social Security with contempt and says veterans are draining the national economy with their demands for benefits.
You might think Simpson is an aberration. But he is not.
His remarks are representative of the kind of thinking that goes on behind the closed doors of the Deficit Commission, the most anti-democratic and un-transparent body in Washington.
According to Glenn Greenwald, in today’s Salon.com newsletter:
It [the commission] is filled with behind-the-scenes political and corporate operatives who steadfastly refuse to talk to the public about what they’re doing. Its recommendations will be released in December, right after the election, to ensure that its proposals are shielded from public anger. And the House has passed a non-binding resolution calling for an up-or-down/no-amendments vote on the Commission’s recommendations, long considered the key tactic to ensuring its enactment.
The whole point of the Commission is that the steps which Washington wants to take – particularly cuts in popular social programs, such as Social Security – can occur only if they are removed as far as possible from democratic accountability.
Does that sound like the kind of transparency that candidate Obama promised? Or does it sound like something out of a conspiracy novel?
Or could we be living in a real-life novel, one too monstrous to contemplate?