This Week In Crazy — April 12th Edition

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:


Erick Erickson

Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) compromise bill to expand gun sale background checks produced a number of furious reactions from the political far right, but none was more random than that of Red State blogger and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson.

On Wednesday evening, a furious Erickson took to Twitter to rant about how background checks will somehow prevent Christians from buying weapons.



Putting aside Erickson’s impressive right-wing triple play — promoting a conspiracy theory, lying about gun control, and attacking doctors in one fell swoop — it’s unclear why Erickson suddenly believes that Senator Toomey is anti-Christian. Unfortunately for the rest of us, however, Toomey’s background check deal isn’t nearly tough enough to prevent crazies like Erickson from stocking up on firepower.

4. Jesse Benton

jesse benton
Photo: Gage Skidmore via

Godwin’s Law” held true during the controversy over the secret recordings of Mitch McConnell and his aides plotting a strategy to defeat Ashley Judd’s hypothetical Senate campaign. While McConnell and his advisors declined to address the substance of the tapes — which promised to attack Judd’s history of depression, among other sensitive topics — they immediately responded with outrage over the tapes’ very existence. Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager, initially slammed the recordings as “Nixonian,” but soon graduated to a much greater villain.

“This is Gestapo-kind of scare tactics, and we’re not going to stand for it,” Benton said.

Given Benton’s grandfather-in-law and former boss Ron Paul’s long history of anti-Semitic rhetoric and association with neo-Nazis, it’s not entirely clear whether he considers “Gestapo-kind” to be an insult. But in any case, the comparison between a SuperPAC with an iPhone and the Nazis is clearly off base.

3. Family Research Council

acorn protest

Photo: Frank Vest via

The Family Research Council, an anti-gay hate group run by right-wing power broker Tony Perkins, has finally found the perfect argument against Obamacare: It will lead to voter fraud from ACORN.

The FRC made the attack in its daily email last Friday, during a typically overheated warning about a new Obamacare rule that gives the uninsured the option of registering to vote when they apply for health insurance. According to the FRC, this rasises the obvious question of “how this army of ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and union activists would twist their access to influence people’s party affiliation.”

“With this administration, it isn’t a question of whether they would abuse their power–but when!” the email adds.

Of course, ACORN hasn’t existed since 2010, when a bogus right-wing smear campaign led to its demise. But apparently the Family Research Council is among the 49 percent of Republicans who believe that the defunct organization stole the 2012 election.

2. Glenn Beck

Professional crazy person Glenn Beck claims his regular spot on this list for his latest rant against Common Core, the system through which Beck believes children will be turned into cogs in a corporate machine. The indispensable Right Wing Watch has a good guide to the absurd conspiracy theory.

On Thursday, a typically overwrought Beck explained Common Core’s costs for his own family:

“I am not sending another child to college, I won’t do it. They’re being indoctrinated…I’m not going to give them my money,” Beck says, before warning that Common Core will “enslave your child.”

While Beck’s promise to hold his kids out of college is surely a great disappointment to the folks at Beck University, thankfully his fellow Libertarian lunatic Ron Paul has all of his home-schooling needs covered.

1. Joe Barton

This week’s “winner” is Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), who offered an outrageously bad example to disprove climate change is caused by humans: the Biblical Great Flood.

Barton made the claim as part of an ill-fated attempt to defend the Keystone XL pipeline before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

“I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don’t deny that climate is changing,” Barton said. “I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what’s causing that change without automatically being either all in that’s all because of mankind or it’s all just natural. I think there’s a divergence of evidence.”

“I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy,” he added.

Barton’s citation of the Great Flood isn’t even his most embarrassing attempt to invoke religion as a way of denying climate science; that honor would go to his argument that wind power will speed up global warming, because “wind is God’s way of balancing heat,” and if we use too much wind power we may run out of it.

Representative Barton, by the way, is the Chair emeritus of the House Committe on Energy.

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