Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Republicans spin conspiracy theories

Remember how much conservatives and Republicans jeered when Hillary Clinton said she and Bill were victims of a "vast right-wing conspiracy"?

Well, now the shoe's on the other foot.

Leading Republicans, with the support of conservative media outlets, are charging that the Mark Foley scandal was a plot orchestrated by Democrats to damage the G.O.P.'s electoral prospects this November. According to the Washington Post, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert appeared on Rush Limbaugh's radio show and "agreed when the host said the Foley story was driven by Democrats 'in some sort of cooperation with some in the media' to suppress turnout of conservative voters" before the midterm elections.

Conservative talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt has said that Hastert had become the "target right now of the left-wing media machine," and House Majority Leader John Boehner has charged that the release of the Foley documents so close to the elections "is concerning, at a minimum."

The rest of the article is one journalist's explanation of how the Foley e-mails came to light, which shoots down many of the theories outlined above.

But the theories were junk to begin with. Was it plausible that the Democrats might pull something like this? Sure. Was there any evidence that they had? No. And the "suspicious timing" argument was silly, too. The e-mails and IMs are three years old; why wouldn't the Dems have released them in 2004 instead of waiting for the 2006 by-election? And if they were going to wait, why release them five weeks before the election? Why not two weeks, or one?

It was all just speculation -- pure, partisan speculation masquerading as fact. And a sad spectacle, too, because let's just say that it turned out to be true -- that Democrats released the e-mails. So what? Does that change their substance? Does that let GOP leaders off the hook?

The only way this could tar the Democrats is if they had the far-more-lurid IMs and sat on them, waiting for a moment of maximum political advantage. But again, there's no evidence that this happened.

What we do have, however, is clear evidence of right-wing hypocrisy and double standards when it comes to crying "conspiracy", and intellectual dishonesty when it comes to separating fact from fantasy.

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Anonymous Marc Schneider said...

Totally agree. It's amazing that these people can say this after all their whining about the "right-wing conspiracy" theories that were being circulated by the Democrats. And even if it was a conspiracy, so what, unless the Democrats actually prevented some action from being taken in order to release the memos at a propitious time. This is so desparate it's pathetic. Interestingly, I did hear this when I was in Tennessee last week and happened to turn on a right wing talk show. Talk about a conspiracy--all the right-wingers are in lockstep on this. I just don't believe this is going to help the Republicans at all. It's just a way to save face.

10/11/2006 1:17 PM  

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