It stands to reason that policymakers, especially throughout the Southwest, would be concerned about unattended children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador coming into the country illegally. But I’d like to think reasonable people can agree that wild-eyed conspiracy theories aren’t constructive.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is not backing away from a conspiracy theory he recently floated about the Obama administration somehow coordinating the surge of immigrants coming over the border for some unknown reason.Perry recently suggested on Fox News that the Obama administration might be “in on this somehow” and helping move immigrants over the border. Asked about that statement on Sunday, Perry didn’t back away.
Perry told ABC’s Martha Raddatz yesterday that President Obama may have “some ulterior motive” for recent developments. How could that possibly make sense? The governor didn’t elaborate.
That said, as part of the same interview, the Texas Republican said of the president, “I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure.” It’s an odd condemnation given how far Obama has gone to strengthen border security and increase deportations.
To her credit, Raddatz patiently pointed to reality, reminding Perry that the humanitarian concerns along the Southern border aren’t related to the border patrol, much of the recent developments relate to a 2008 law signed by George W. Bush, and President Obama has specifically communicated an unambiguous message to those thinking about sending unaccompanied children: “He’s telling people not to come. He’s telling them in ads not to come into the United States, not to leave their homes.”
But Perry was unmoved by facts.
In this case, reality clearly isn’t on the Texas governor’s side, but what’s troubling is the larger pattern.
Occasionally, there really are legitimate conspiracies. In New Jersey, for example, Gov. Chris Christie’s team really did conspire in secret to abuse their power and endanger the public. There’s nothing wrong with theorizing how and why officials conspired to commit wrongdoing.
But these theories have to make at least some sense and not become a reflexive response to every question.
For the right, conspiracy theories have too often taken the place of analysis, which really isn’t healthy. The job market is improving? Conspiracy. An American outpost in Libya suffered a deadly attack? Conspiracy. U.S. officials secured the release of an American prisoner of war? Conspiracy. A conservative media personality broke campaign-finance laws? Conspiracy.
The idea of simply evaluating developments on their merits is apparently too difficult. It’s easier to see just about everything through a “there must be a conspiracy in here somewhere” lens. In the immortal words of Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), if Democrats believe Republicans are on a witch hunt, “that must mean there is a witch somewhere.”