The gap between the right of the Republican party, which is providing the angriest critics of the reforms, and the left of the Democratic party, which thinks the proposals too timid, is unbridgeable. These groups do not merely disagree. They despise each other. Their differences are only secondarily about policy. They hold each other’s values in contempt.
These snarling extremes are nonetheless somewhat alike. They have an equal and opposite penchant for conspiracy theories. Almost a third of Republicans, according to a recent poll, believe the unsupported story that Mr Obama was not born in the US (in which case he would be disqualified from serving as president). But remember that more than a third of Democrats subscribe to the even more outlandish theory that the Bush administration knew about the attacks of September 2001 in advance.
I shouldn’t wade into this, and I could be wrong here, but isn’t the “inside job” crowd well planted not in lefty groups but around the far-right? Push polling like this can get crazy results, so let’s look at keynote speeches by representative groups. Here’s part three of Jesse Ventura’s keynote speech at the 2008 Ron Paul convention that was held as a conservative and libertarian alternative to the Republican convention.
This section opens with 9/11:
Now, I’m going to go on to another subject that a lot of people don’t want to discuss today, I know I discuss it, its amazing, I get attacked. that’s called something called 9/11. why is it that when you ask questions about 9/11, its all out of bounds?…Well, here’s my question that I want you all, 2 questions that I want you to think about today. Number 1: Why has the United States Department of Justice not charged Usama Bin Laden for 9/11?…
I was shocked when I heard about this, that the keynote speech of the conservative rally was filled with dog whistles to the “inside job!” crew, and even more shocked when I heard it. At 4m02s you can start to hear parts of the crowd chant “Inside Job! Inside Job!” for about 10 seconds. He is notably not boo’ed, and, though I wasn’t in attendance, there doesn’t seem to be any mass agitation or uncomfortableness with the subject material by the audience.
Note that Ventura’s questions are dog whistles for the inside job theory – not the “Bush and Clinton were asleep at the wheel” meme, but that the standard narrative of 9/11 is grossly incorrect.
I’ll put out this dare, though I might be completely wrong and egg and my face will be in alignment, but I’ll paypal $10 to the first person who finds a Netroots Nation where the keynote speech takes a detour through the “Inside Job” land and the crowd loves it. Not that Bush was incompetent at protecting the country, or that the intelligence for the Iraq War was cooked, but an argument in the vein that the government itself put explosives in the Twin Towers, or that something other than an airliner crashed into the Pentagon, etc.
I think the best analogy for the left would be something like Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11″, which doesn’t have any inside job paranoia – if memory serves, the argument is that Bush was too buddy-buddy with the Saudia Arabians, but there’s no insinuations that a cruise missile hit the Pentagon.