The latest Republican conspiracy theory is that the oil spill happened because environmentalists opposed to offshore drilling sabotaged the oil rig. Several prominent republican media figures are already parroting this theory. First, of course, Rush Limbaugh:
But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they're sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they're sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing here.
On Fox and Friends this morning, former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino said she was "not trying to introduce a conspiracy theory" before asking, "But was this deliberate?" "If there was sabotage involved," wondered Perino.
Turkana has more on how this is spiraling. Right now, "respectable" Republican media figures are suggesting that environmentalists might have done this. However, it won't be long before this becomes a definite conspiracy orchestrated by Barack Obama himself.
Although no poll has yet been conducted, I am going to start placing odds on the percentage of self-identified Republicans who believe that the oil rig cuaising the current spill was sabotaged by environmental SWAT teams acting independently, or at the direction of President Obama himself.
Past polling offers some clues as to how many Republicans believe this. Last year, according to PPP, 52% of self-identified Republicans believe that ACORN stole the election for Obama. In March, Harris produced a slew of relevant findings:
Majorities of Republicans believe that President Obama:
- Is a socialist (67%)
- Wants to take away Americans' right to own guns (61%)
- Is a Muslim (57%)
- Wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government (51%); and
- Has done many things that are unconstitutional (55%)
Also large numbers of Republicans also believe that President Obama:
- Resents America's heritage (47%)
- Does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (40%)
- Was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president (45%)
- Is the "domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of" (45%)
- Is a racist (42%)
- Want to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers (41%)
- Is doing many of the things that Hitler did (38%)
Even more remarkable perhaps, fully 24% of Republicans believe that "he may be the Anti-Christ" and 22% believe "he wants the terrorists to win."
It won't be long before at least 51% of Republicans think that the oil rig was sabotaged, as that is the same percentage of Republicans who think that Obama wants to use a crisis to take dictatorial powers. That conspiracy theory has never received public validation from prominent conservative voices, or tat least not as much validation as the oil rig theory is currently receiving.
However, it is unlikely that 57% of Republicans believe the oil rig of was sabotaged, which is the same percentage of Republicans who believe he is a Muslim. That theory has been pushed for a long-time in Republican circles, and the oil rig theory will never receive the same circulation. So, at most 56% of Republicans will believe that the oil rig was intentionally sabotaged.
This leaves us with a range of 41-56%. While I am tempted to peg the number right at 51%, which is the same percentage of Republicans who think that Obama is seeking one-world government, belief that liberals are pushing for one-world government is a long running conservative conspiracy theory that isn't specific to Obama. So, oil rig sabotage probably comes in at under 51%.
With the range now 41%-50%, I am going to go with 45% as the over / under mark. This is the same percentage of Republicans who think that Obama was not born in the United States. The birthers have never been fashionable, or a majority, of Republicans. Even when it gets more media play, my feeling is that this theory seems like it will fall into that same category. It might end up falling in the "under" category, because it is a new theory and hasn't received much media play yet. Or, it might fall in the "over" category, because 25% of Democrats think that Bush let 9/11 happen to justify war, and there are usually about twice as many Republicans believing in these conspiracy theories as Democrats (for example, about twice as many Republicans think Obama stole the 2008 election as Democrats who think bush stole the 2004 election).
So, there is the over / under: 45%. Start placing your bets, and wait for the first poll!