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The nefarious ‘cabals’ that only Marsha Blackburn can see

Sen. Marsha Blackburn has now referred to nefarious "cabals" both at the White House and in the FBI. It's getting a little weird.


Over the summer, as part of a broader Republican offensive against the FBI, Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee went so far as to warn Fox News viewers of a “cabal” within the FBI that she said has politicized the agency’s work.

Yesterday, as a Washington Post report noted, the GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee used the same word while taking rhetorical aim at the White House.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said Monday that White House staffers are trying to “keep the pandemic going” so that they can spend more taxpayer money and prompt more people to vote via mail-in ballot. Blackburn cited no evidence for her claims during a morning appearance on Fox News.

As the senator argued, President Joe Biden has already said that he believes the pandemic is effectively over and the United States has entered a different stage.

But Blackburn is apparently concerned about other secret rascals at the White House.

“The team behind him, what I call that cabal in the White House, they have to keep this pandemic going so that they can spend more taxpayer money the way they want to and because they can continue to drive fear in people and because they think it helps them in the elections — having more people vote by a mail-in ballot, making certain that they have that power and control,” the senator said in a very long sentence. “That’s what this is all about.”

To the extent that reality still has any meaning, let’s briefly note that no one at the White House wants to “keep this pandemic going.” If administration officials did want such an outcome, they wouldn’t be taking so many steps in the opposite direction.

Last year, Blackburn argued that unnamed Democrats want “a permanent pandemic” as part of a weird liberal scheme that never really made any sense. Evidently, she’s still thinking along these lines.

What’s more, the idea that mail-in voting is part of some secret Democratic conspiracy is utterly bonkers. Indeed, while election officials scrambled in 2020 to help people cast ballots during a pandemic, before vaccines were widely available, there is no similar push underway this year, making the senator’s concerns especially odd.

But just as unsettling is Blackburn’s repeated references to “cabals,” both inside the FBI and the White House, that only appear to exist in her imagination.

The Tennessean is certainly no stranger to weird conspiracy theories. In 2009, for example, a group of 11 House Republicans unveiled a “birther” bill in Congress, requiring presidential candidates to prove they’re native-born citizens. Blackburn was one of the 11. More recently, the GOP senator suggested the White House secretly wanted higher gas prices for reasons she struggled to explain.

But as a rule, those who peddle claims about secret government “cabals” engaged in nefarious schemes abandon any claim to credibility.