Home National Politics Poll on 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Highlights Difference Between Republican, Democratic Parties

Poll on 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Highlights Difference Between Republican, Democratic Parties


Over at Politico, Ben Smith digs up a 2006 poll that had over 50% of Democrats believing it was either “somewhat likely” or “very likely” that “people in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East.”

Yes, it’s completely bonkers – and deeply offensive – if any of my fellow Democrats actually believe(d) that crap. Yes, I understand the antipathy and distrust towards George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, etc. But that’s no excuse for heading into conspiracy theory fantasy land. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, anyone who believe(d) this crap about 9/11 is in the exact same category as people who believe(d) Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim, or was really not born in the United States (and therefore is not qualified to be president) — cuckoo, cuckoo!

So, alright, there are crazies on both the “blue” and “red” teams. So, then, what am I referring to in the title of this diary, exactly?  Very simple, just think about it for a second: how many Republican candidates — for president, Senate, House, whatever — pander to the “birthers” or, at least, “birther curious” (“politicians who casually lean up against the birther bandwagon but run away before anyone sees them“). A fairly high number, actually, including two possible GOP presidential front-runners, Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann (until recently). Also, there’s Sen. “Diaper Dave” Vitter, who said he supports birther lawsuits. Or Sen. James “Climate Change Denier” Inhofe, who believes the “birthers ‘have a point’.” Or Rep. Roy Blunt, who said it’s a “legitimate question” why “the president can’t produce a birth certificate.”  Then there’s Eric Cantor, seen here snuggling up to none other than “birther” queen Orly Taitz. Or, last but not least, our own cuckoo-bird Attorney General, Ken Kook-inelli, a super-popular leader among the rightwing nut-o-sphere, who was caught saying, “Someone is going to have to come forward with nailed down testimony that he was born in place B, wherever that is. You know, the speculation is Kenya. And that doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility.”

Now, let’s review a list of all the Democratic elected officials or candidates who believed that “people in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East.” Uhhhhhh. Well, there was total nutjob (as in, clinically insane) Rep. Cynthia McKinney, but fortunately she was defeated in a Democratic primary in 2006. Good riddance. Other than that? Well, there’s Dennis Kucinich, who’s never met a president he doesn’t think should be impeached (including, apparently, President Obama). Whatever. So, two insignificant, powerless weirdos from the far, far left fringes of the Democratic Party. Other than that, any other national Democratic figures who believe the lunacy that Bush and Cheney knew about 9/11 but let it happen anyway? Right, none.

Bottom line: both parties have plenty of followers who are willing to believe the most outlandish things, especially about the EVIL!!!! of presidents of the opposing parties. But only the Republican Party has leading, high-profile elected officials and candidates for president who either go right up to the edge, or cross over that edge, into conspiracy theory la-la land. That’s a major difference between the two parties right now.

  • Dan Sullivan

    For those who don’t find sufficient solace from matters beyond their control in a temple, church, or mosque, they soothe the soul. There are new faiths coalescing around the most absurd explanations for troubles; from extraterrestrials to a secret ruling elite. They are the easily lead; fodder for the con men and women picking their pockets while they have them distracted with these bright shiny “theories.”

    Agree that we Democrats have fewer of these charlatans carrying the standard. But we are not immune to pretenders and petty opportunists. So keep calling them out.

  • frisbee

    what happened on 9/11. But asleep at the wheel,incompetent, willfully and pridefully ignorant certainly come to mind.

    Combined with the fact, post 9/11 that our government failed to seriously investigate the role Saudi religious charities played in financing OBL. Or the duplicity of the Saudi and Pakistani intelligence services our erstwhile allies in da war on terriers.

    As Dan pointed out, when people feel powerless, they will grasp at anything, including conspiracy theories. Or believe whatever line their government feeds them. WMD’s being a case in point.

    Recently there was an article in Mother Jones that talks about just how intractable peoples opinions really are.

    The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science


    As for Dennis, what can I say except the annoying little gadfly is right.

    Bush should of been impeached for a multitude of reasons. As should Obama for escalating his military blunders….not to mention his handling of indefinite detention of the Guantanamo detainees and Bradley Manning.

    When it comes to knee jerk reactions to EVIL, is there some other way you would characterize this countries steady movement towards a corporate plutocracy state?

    Based on what I’ve seen happen to this country in the past decade, particularly at the state level in the past 3 months, it’s seems more likely that Hillary Clinton seriously understated the magnitude of the “vast right wing conspiracy.”

    As the quote often attributed to Freud goes, “sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.”


  • aznew

    I understand the equivalence point that Smith is trying to make, i.e., that Democrats can be just as bas shit crazy as Republicans.

    Lowell gets one aspect of why this is a false equivalence, namely, that at no time did any mainstream Democratic leader buy into Truterism, even a little bit.  Conservatives brought up the same thing in debating violent rhetoric in the wake of the Giffords shooting. They would cite some violent rhetoric from a  poster at Daily Kos, and argue it was the equivalence of Sarah Palin, their most recent candidate for Vice President and a leader in the party, using violent imagery in her rhetoric.

    Beyond that, the significance of Birtherism (and its alleged counterpart, Trutherism) is not that people can believe some crazy stuff sometimes, but rather what is reveals about how otherwise decent people in a political party can come to view a political leader of the other party who becomes a national leader, and why. And in evaluating that aspect of the 2006 poll, it reveals another reason why Politico is drawing yet another false equivalence in its ongoing defense of the insanity that is the modern Republican Party.

    The 2006 survey reveals that after taking us to war in Iraq on false pretenses, after seeing for themselves the Bush lies on Katrina, after enduring an election in which “swift boat” entered the lexicon as a verb, well, many Democrats had completely lost faith in the veracity of the Bush Administration, to the extent that they would give credence to this crazy conspiracy theory. I’m not defending it, only explaining it.

    What does Birtherism tell us? Well, it clearly speaks to a general belief among rank and file Republicans that Obama is an outsider. Among a sizeable portion of the GOP electorate, unable to beat Obama at the polls, and yet unable to accept him as their president, Birtherism offers them a chance to delegitimize his election and square this circle.

    Why can’t these Republicans accept him? I’ll leave it to others to put these people on the couch and figure it out.

    But it also demonstrates another reason why these matters are not equivalent. While Truthers are as nutty as they come, the  willingness of Democrats to buy into that nuttiness resulted from a reaction to Bush’s own record as president.    We did go to war against Iraq under false pretenses. Bush did lie about what was happening in New Orleans during Katrina. The swift-boating of Kerry was indefensible.

    But, I ask, what has Obama done to give rise to Birtherism, or feed a general impression that he is not American? I submit, absolutely nothing, beyond winning the election.