by Mike Lofgren
How do the horrific events of Charlottesville, the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and a similar hate crime in California directly relate to the eye-rolling pronouncements by Devin Nunes, Rudy Giuliani, and other Republicans in defense of President Donald Trump?
The answer can be found in the Republican id, where a toxic brew of conspiracy theory, urban legend, photoshopping, and comment-board trollery self-organize into an alternate reality. While this alt-reality has only burst into wider public view during the Trump presidency, like the monstrous space alien exploding out of the bodies of the infected scientists in John Carpenter’s The Thing, I was in a position to observe its germination, more than two decades ago.
It is therefore refreshing that finally, a former national security council employee, Fiona Hill, has given widely publicized testimony to the House intelligence committee decisively exposing as a lie one of the linchpins of the conspiratorial Republican world view—the assertion that it was Ukraine, not Russia, behind disruption of the 2016 election. Previously, the media had sporadically raised the conspiracy theory, disjointedly explained it, and weakly dismissed it, allowing it to hang like an incubus in the air for the credulous to half believe.
What received less attention from the big media, however, was Hill’s elaboration of one specific component of the GOP’s imagined conspiracy. She said that lurking behind their Ukraine fantasy was the claim that billionaire George Soros was financing the supposed disruption operation, and that he manipulated not only politicians in Kiev but crucial components of the U.S. government.
Indeed, Republican performance artist Joe diGenova has alleged that Soros steered the State Department and FBI effectively to politically dominate Ukraine, and he echoed Trump fixer Rudy Giuliani’s false assertions that Soros was involved in faking corruption evidence against Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
Hill likened these defamations to an infamous fabrication by the Tsarist secret police, more than a century old, called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In her words, that forgery was “the longest-running anti-Semitic trope that we have in history, and a trope against Mr. Soros was also created for political purposes, and this is the new Protocols… ”
How did we sink to the point where an approved talking point of one of our two major parties rehashes a long-refuted anti-Semitic calumny whose toxic effects helped bring on the nightmare of 20th century fascism and the most destructive war in history?
The major media are finally getting around to debunking the Ukraine conspiracy in detail, now that congressional testimony has given them permission, but it is useful to stand back and look at the bigger picture, of which Ukraine is only a part. What is the larger narrative?
We are expected to believe that Hillary Clinton, in concert with Ukraine, arranged for her private emails to be stolen, along with those of the Democratic National Committee, in order to sabotage her own campaign for the presidency. Why on earth? Doing so helped hand the presidency to Donald Trump, but it served the larger goal of falsely framing innocent Russia for collaborating with the Trump campaign, when the real culprit was Ukraine.
Oh, and George Soros was in there somewhere pulling wires and arranging things, because, hey, Jewish financiers are clever and you can’t expect much from blockheads like the Ukrainians.
That, in capsule, is what Republicans earnestly endeavor to have you believe, although it sounds as if some of Catch-22’s more phantasmagoric passages got mixed up with Mein Kampf. Do Republicans believe it themselves?
Undoubtedly there are many, mostly elected officials, gamely going through the motions of believing it because the party demands it. Senator Kennedy (R-LA) has been waffling of late, his position probably dependent on how well his pollsters tell him the tale sells down in the bayous.
But there is also the vast Republican base of true believers of the type once described by political philosopher Eric Hoffer. Back in the 1990s, I knew one of them on Capitol Hill. I’ll call her Margaret, because that’s her name. It was through her tutelage that I became aware of the ubiquitous and omnipotent Mr. Soros. Margaret, being a movement activist, worked enthusiastically for an unpleasantly sanctimonious Midwestern Republican congressman (who later resigned after an affair with a staffer became public). He was at the legislative forefront of the 1990s epidemic of draconian sentences for illegal drug use.
She informed me that the worst thing about drug legalization (at the time an all but moribund cause), was that it was manipulated by Soros, who had given donations to drug legalization advocacy groups. He was poised, she theorized, to buy up brand names and cigarette production capacity in order to corner a future U.S. market for legal marijuana. Thus would the Hungarian-born billionaire condemn a whole generation of American youth to crazed depravity.
The tentacles of Soros even extended, according to her catechism, to sporadic efforts to reintroduce the growing of hemp as a cash crop for struggling Midwestern farmers because of its industrial uses. Hemp does not have the pharmacological qualities of cannabis, but through some metaphysical process that escaped my powers of insight, Margaret had deduced that Farmer Brown’s growing hemp for rope manufacturers would lead to an outbreak of reefer madness.
This was around the time things were heating up in the Balkans. Some thought that the United States had an obligation to intervene militarily, while others believed, per Bismarck, that blood vendettas there were the norm and the area was not worth the life of a single soldier. But one Republican foreign policy expert on the Hill informed me that we must under no circumstances intervene because something-something George Soros. Yes, his fine hand was stirring the simmering Balkan cauldron.
It is probable that Soros’s name was never mentioned once on the House or Senate floor, either in connection with the Balkan debate or national drug policy. In those days, legislators mostly kept up the pretense of sanity.
But beneath the surface, as in the world beneath the Planet of the Apes, there was an undercurrent of strange mutant ideas, confined at that moment to certain staff members (aside from a few certifiable wackos like Dan Burton). You could sometimes hear them after hours at the various watering holes frequented by Republican staff, or in the basement grill room of the Capitol Hill Club. In the ensuing couple of decades, these ideas took over the politics of Washington and the country.
In a sense, Charlottesville and the synagogue shootings were a predictable outcome, not just of Trump’s fueling of stochastic terrorism through his calculatedly hatemongering speeches, but of a whole generation of conspiratorial thinking whereby George Soros and Jewish banking plots seamlessly merge into the New World Order, Black Helicopters, a FEMA concentration camp in Beach Grove, Indiana, Muslim scares, cyclical moral panics about gays and feminists, wars on Christmas, and they’re going to outlaw barbecued ribs.
The incoherent discourses of Devin Nunes and Rudy Giuliani didn’t come out of nowhere, nor are they purely a sign of obedience to Trump. They had been germinating for ages in what was once called, without irony, the Party of Ideas.
Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His books include: “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government” and “The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.”
The person that wrote this article is the type of liberal that are infecting the state of Florida with their liberal nanny state big government programs way of thinking. In another 10 years the northern half will be looking to secede. Its a shame but the liberals ruin everything they touch and most of them came from the northeast. They voted in big government that gave them free stuff and once the new higher taxes started to effect them they decided to move south.
bob gorden says
And of course nothing you commented on has anything to do with the article..please pay attention.
George Soros may be well known within the Beltway, but I would wager in Middle America, despite the Internet, he is still largely unknown to Republicans. And anti-Semitism may now be more prevalent in the Democratic party these days than in the GOP. As a footnote, I question Lofgren’s claim that he originated the term “Deep State.” I have ordered his book to get the details, but the Merriam-Webster website says the term goes back at least to 2000, long before “Deep State” was published. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deep%20state
Nancy N. says
You are making a huge assumption that the book is his first use of the term and there’s no reason to believe that to be the case.
Mike Cocchiola says
Actually, it’s the lunatics themselves that are corroding the GOP.
Alphonse Abonte says
Trump is still your President! Will be for another 5 years! Dems have guaranteed that, thanks!
I find it hilarious that authors like this one take the position that it’s an either/or situation with Russia and Ukraine. Either it was Russia who tried to influence the election or it was Ukraine. In their minds, it’s absurd to think both could have been involved. As we learned from the Politico article on Ukraine involvement, it most assuredly was both countries.
But what’s even more baffling is why not one mainstream media outlet has sent an investigative team over to Ukraine to investigate this issue. Instead they use the same old worn out terms like “debunked” or “conspiracy theories” to support their tired/desperate narrative.
I don’t blame these writers though. Hell, if I made a living writing books, op eds, or opinion pieces, I would definitely jump on the anti-Trump bandwagon. You have to give the extreme Left credit. They put their money where their mouth is. All you have to do is say you hate Trump and then sit back and watch the money roll it. Unfortunately though, they don’t realize the damage it’s causing the Country and their credibility.
Lunatic Conspiracy Theories Are Corroding Today’s GOP? LMAO! Clearly some of the most left bent, dreamed up BS printed here to date….. Come on desperate Lib’s, get a grip on reality! Donald Trump is the President of the United States and will be for another 5 years. All your anger, whining, sniveling and pouting won’t change that. BS articles like this won’t change that. Your Democrat Presidential hopefuls are from “the land of misfits” and hello….. unelectable. Every one of em’s a “stinker” and you know it!. So, get on the Trump Train and hold on tight! Gonna be even more awesome the second term!
I couldn’t have said it better myself!!! MAGA
Edith Campins says
Where is the healthcare plan he promised?
Where is the infrastructure plan he promised?
Has coal come back like he promised?
Where is the 10% raise he promised the military?
Has N. Korea given up a single nuke?
Have his tariffs accomplished anything? Why are farm bankruptcies increasing?
What happened to the middle class tax cut he promised on Nov. 1, 2018?
Are you ok with over $110 million taxpayer dollars used to pay for his golf?
Has he paid down the national debt as he promised?
Has he balanced the budget?
Where is the trade deal with China?
Why hasn’t NAFTA Light been brought up for Congressional approval and what enforcement mechanism does it provide?
Where are the new factories being built in the US?
What exactly has he accomplished to control illegal immigration?
Why does his proposed budget cut Social Security and Medicare when he promised he would never do that?
What measure has he put in place to prevent mass shootings?
Where is the 4% GDP he said would be easy to achieve?
Why does he believe Putin over all 11 of our national security agencies that have proven Russia interfered with our elections?
Why did he exit Reagan’s signature arms treaty without negotiating anything to replace it?
Why did he abandon our Kurdish allies to be massacred by Turkey and then welcome Turkish dictator Erdogan to the White House?
Why did he lie about his “wall” and say it couldn’t be escalated when even children can climb it?
What has he done to improve the country’s educational system?
Why does his travel ban not include any of the countries that have actually sent us terrorists?
Why has he fired so many of the “best people” he picked in the first place?
Where is the proof he said he had about being wiretapped?
Why does he want Hunter biden investigated for making $500,000 when Jared and Ivanka made $82 million last year, while working at the White House?
Why did he use the funds donated to his charity for personal purchases?
If he is such a great businessman why have everyone of the 16 lines of business he started failed?
Is the country better off having a former nude model with no education as a First Lady?
Did you really get any benefit from his tax cut that raised the debt to the trillions?
What damage have his twiiter rants and insults done to the dignity of the highest office in the land?
Is the country not more deeply divided under his administration than ever before?
Why did he void the Obama era ban on the mentally ill owning guns?
Why did he engage in eleven instances of obstruction as listed on the Mueller report?
Why has he refused to show his taxes, after promising to do so?
Has he negotiated lower prescription drug prices with big Pharma?
What legislation has he passed to improve unemployment? Are the good unemployment numbers a result of his governance of a legacy from the previous administration?
Why was last December the worst month in the history of the stock market?
What has his administration actually accomplished in spite of having Republican control of both houses of Congress for two years?
The bottom line…how is our country better off now than three years ago?
Hmmm…… have you looked at what the economy has done since he was elected? The very same economy that was supposed to tank as soon as he was elected. Most of the things you bring up are almost comical. Surely you cannot be that blinded as not to see what had been going on and what progress as been made. He is surely not the most “Presidential”, and surely not the most political correct, and surely I would not have him over for dinner, but he is exactly what this country needed. A shot in the arm of honesty and no BS.
Heres some BS for you. I rarely mske predictions o2n Markets, but following some technical indicators we are on verge of some roller coaster ride ahead. PS See no reaction from Mkts Friday on Ohony Trade deal announcement. We are right back where we started.
Well said Fredrick, I agree with you Edith’s comments were comical.
Our military who didn’t get its 10% raise and the middle class who didn’t get the promised cut are so happy. Who wouldn’t laugh at the proposal to cut Social Security and Medicare? You tell me buddy.
You know who is having a great time missing loved ones this Holiday Season? The families of the mass shootings because they have a government who doesn’t care about doing something to prevent the next one, not even keeping weapons from mentally ill people.
You know how happy the women who were abandoned with small children often a severely handicapped one by their loving man who took off leaving them with a mountain of debt, they are ever so happy with the proposed huge cut for food stamps so they will not have access to that crutch until they find employment and reasonable care for the children. Before you comment on me I am happily married and has never needed welfare.
The ever mounting debt is up to over 22 trillion, isn’t that a riot and this after we were promised he would eliminate the almost 20 trillion he inherited.
And yes a shot in the arm of honesty is what the USA needs from a bully who has lied and misled over 15,000 times in a little bit over 1,000 days, yup no BS. But who cares as long as the economy is good.
People are actually working and the economy is the best in 50 years
Barbara Kipnis says
Edith, perhaps you should take a gander at this list which was dated March 10, 2019.
Here is the link – https://tinyurl.com/y4c77rk4
Then again all Trump haters could care less about this list versus spouting their dislike and hatred across discussion forums.
THANK you, Edith. The rabies-infected brainwashed right wingers don’t want to see or know these truths about the satanically controlled lying conman who is our President right now, who kowtows and shares national secrets with his communist brethren (Putin, NK, Cuba, China, etc.) while trying to destroy the friendship of our allies who have stood by us, some over 200 years. The right wingers are all for destroying our Constitution, and prove it every day. They will take away your social security, medicare, are already destroying medicaid (sorry elderly who cannot afford to pay $5000/$10,000 a month at a ALF or nursing home in your elder years – Trump and his corrupt minions want YOU to continue working to be ‘eligible’ for medicaid and food stamps – might as well die off now). They want to undo EVERYTHING any and all democrats have done for YOU the people, JUST because it was a democratic program. Trump is already selling off our military to the highest bidder (Saudi Arabia) and stealing the resources of other nations so they stay impoverished. Oh, and he has cost us taxpayers over $200,000,000 playing GOLF every weekend! Oh how I remember the lies, shouts and screams from the right about how Obama played ‘too much golf’ – what, once or twice a quarter??? Republicans are such hypocrites…
Well stated Fuggetaboutit! Thank you…..
Steve Y. says
It is mind-boggling to read and hear so much hatred for this President by Leftists. Yes, he boasts and cannot keep his mouth shut when maybe he should, but the man stands up for himself as well as our country; he is fearless — a complete opposite of the last President. He stands and takes all the questions from a media who hates him, he doesn’t hide from them. He supports our military, building them back up instead of using them as a social experiment and depleting their budgets. He supports our great police officers, instead of vilifying them, and fueling a culture of malice and disrespect towards these great servants who risk their lives on a daily basis, protecting us. He fights to get our fellow Americans home, wrongly taken and held by foreign countries, not abandoning them. He stands up to dangerous regimes, who hate our country, instead of sneaking pallets full of cash to them in secret. It’s truly amazing all that President Trump has already accomplished to make this nation better and stronger, in spite of so many that should be working with him, but are only out to undermine and destroy him.
Thank you Steve for such a great post! Right on mate!
I love the phrase “he stands up to dangerous regimes”, do you mean he stands up to Putin, Kim Jung Ung, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman, Mohammed bin Zayed. There are not many criminal dictators that our trump doesn’t love, including the communist ones.
Clueless not fearless.
See how divided this country is ? Civil War is just around the corner. I’m already preparing for the slaughter that will happen.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Alphonse Abonte says
You have to wonder how much money Trump has if he is able to hire the entire Democratic Party to run his re-election campaign!