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:
5: Michele Bachmann
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Minnesota representative and unofficial chairman of the Tea Party’s Crazy Caucus Michele Bachmann made news this week at an event at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. During a wide-ranging interview, Bachmann made this jaw-dropping claim: “I was very proud of the fact that I didn’t get anything wrong that I said during the course of the debates. I didn’t get anything wrong and that’s a huge arena.”
Bachmann’s claim is outrageously false, and borderline delusional. In fact, Bachmann got so many things wrong during the debates that Associated Press fact-checker Jim Drinkard said, “We had to have a self-imposed Michele Bachmann quota in some of those debates.”
4: Glenn Beck
Beck, a This Week In Crazy staple, earned a spot on this week’s list for his interview with religious-right leader James Dobson. Dobson was there to promote his new novel, Fatherless, which depicts a dystopian future in which demographic shifts and the “drastic decline” of marriage derail civil society.
According to Beck, the novel is clearly the modern-day Uncle Tom’s Cabin:
“Uncle Tom’s Cabin caused the Civil War,” Dobson says during the interview. Holding Fatherless and Uncle Tom’s Cabin side-by-side, Beck says Dobson’s novel will “wake people up.”
Meanwhile, Harriet Beecher Stowe is presumably rolling over in her grave.
3: Louie Gohmert
Texas congressman Louie Gohmert advanced an especially crazy defense of the Second Amendment during a recent interview with Freedom 107 radio, arguing against laws limiting magazine capacity because it takes about 50 rounds to shot down a drone.
“Most of us think if you’re going to use a drone and fly over our homes to analyze what’s going on in our backyard…you can use all kinds of technology to see what’s happening inside the home as well,” Gohmert warned.
“But I had somebody last week in Washington from either Georgia or Alabama that was saying, ‘Look, this goes back to we have got to have at least 50 rounds in our magazines because on average that’s about how many it takes to bring down a drone,'” Gohmert continued. “I hope he was kidding, I don’t know for sure.”
Given that Gohmert serves on the Congressional Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, one would hope that he knows that drones are not currently spying on him — and that shooting at a drone with his assault rifle is a very bad idea. But given his long history of unhinged statements, no one should be surprised at his tenuous grip on the facts.
2: Sarah Palin
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr
In a Tuesday afternoon Facebook message to her 3.5 million followers, Palin revived a particularly ludicrous conspiracy theory: that the government is stockpiling bullets, in preparation for a revolution caused by the national debt.
“If we are going to wet our proverbial pants over 0.3% in annual spending cuts when we’re running up trillion-dollar annual deficits, then we’re done. Put a fork in us. We’re finished,” Palin wrote. “We’re going to default eventually and that’s why the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest.”
The post, which ironically urges elected officials to “cut the drama” in its title, sparked an immediate response from several departments of the government, which reiterated that Palin’s conspiracy theory — which has floated around right-wing circles for months — is bunk.
Still, expect more of these conspiracies to come from Palin. Without a job as a television pundit (much less as an elected official), she’ll have plenty of time to troll on Facebook.
1: Robert Ringer
This week’s “winner” is Robert Ringer, a columnist for conspiracy repository WorldNet Daily. In Ringer’s column — ironically titled “A Voice Of Sanity” — the self-help guru turned crazy libertarian explains that President Obama’s modest gun reform package is actually a step in Obama’s life mission: “the complete destruction of Western civilization.”
Obama “senses that the Tea Party is threatening to make a comeback, this time with many more rednecks in the mix,” Ringer writes. “Rednecks are a government’s worst nightmare,” he adds, due to their high levels of gun ownership and tendency to live in “the Ozarks, the Appalachians, and the Smokys.” The only way for Obama to stop this new Tea Party threat? According to Ringer, it’s the introduction of “gulags, gas chambers, and firing squads.”
“Do I seriously believe that gulag prison camps are possible in the U.S.? Yes,” Ringer writes. “Do I seriously believe that gas chambers and mass executions are possible in the U.S.? Yes.”
If Ringer truly believes that the Tea Party is the only thing standing between Barack Obama and the end of Western Civilization, then he will presumably be disturbed to learn that only 8 percent of Americans now self-identify as Tea Partiers — which is, coincidentally, around the same minuscule number that opposes President Obama’s plan to enact universal background checks on gun purchases.