There is a small but growing trend among the local level of the GOP that should have the national Republican Party staring to worry. More and more Republicans are voicing open support for conspiracy theories. One Republican lawmaker went as far as saying that the Boston Marathon bombing was a government conspiracy.
Conspiracies about the government are not new phenomena in American politics. From the formation of the Anti-Masonic Party to oppose Freemasons, believing them to be a secret society that was intent on domination of the country, to anti-Catholic rumors that President John F. Kennedy would take direct orders from the pope due to being the first Catholic president of the United States, the American political process has seen conspiracies come and go. But there is growing trend of Republican politicians taking up these conspiracies, which threatens to drive the Republican Party further into the fringe.
Perhaps the most recent example of this is the remarks of New Hampshire State Representative Stella Tremblay (R). In a post to Glenn Beck's Facebook page, Tremblay voiced support for a conspiracy theory that the Boston bombings were a "false flag" attack instigated by the government on purpose. She posted on Facebook, "Just as you said would happen. Top Down, Bottom UP. The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops 'terrorist' attack."
She proceeded to link to a YouTube video from InfoWars, a conspiracy theorist website run by Alex Jones. Jones has previously supported conspiracy theories that the moon landing was faked and that the September 11 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center were part of a government "false flag" operation.
When asked about her remarks Tremblay refused to back down:
Tremblay is far from the only Republican politician embracing conspiracy theories. In Georgia a four-hour briefing was given to Republican state senators last October about a critical issue. That critical issue turned out to be conspiracy theories about Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is a nonbinding UN agreement about sustainable development. It has been referred to by right-wing figures such as Glenn Beck as a means of creating "centralized control over all of human life on planet Earth." A Tea Party activist who also supports September 11 "false flag" conspiracies and believes that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States headed the talk to legislators.
In North Carolina, State Representative Michelle Presnell (R) was asked by a constituent if she would be comfortable with a prayer to Allah in the State House after Presnell voiced her support for a now-withdrawn bill that asserted North Carolina’s right to instate a state religion. Presnell responded, "No, I do not condone terrorism."
In Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbot, the second most powerful official in the state, told an audience in his opposition to an international arms treaty that "We fought a war in 1776 to fight against foreign dictators telling us what to do, not now to turn around and give that power to them ... That’s why I sent a letter to the president ... informing the president that Texas is not going to tolerate this cession of authority to the U.N."
State department officials have repeatedly stressed that the treaty only affects international trade and that the United States has repeatedly requested that the treaty do nothing that could infringe on the Second Amendment since the outset of the negotiations.
And in Missouri, lawmakers voted to cut all funding to the state driver's license bureau due to it being tasked with supervising concealed-carry permits back in 2003. Department officials say that the records help prevent fraud. During a hearing on the measure, the wife of State Representative Kenneth Wilson (R) stated that she was sure that the information was part of a larger conspiracy, “I have been doing some study on UN Agenda 21," said Melissa Wilson. "With this information going to the federal government, I feel that I will be a target. With Agenda 21, I will be someone who will be put on a watch list."
While the Republican Party may be disappointed and angry with the federal government and the Democratic Party, tolerating such conspiracy talk makes it seem as though the inmates are running the asylum. While all parties have fringe elements, allowing such a fringe element to gain a prominent voice only threatens to drive the party's base of support to those close to falling over the cliff.