Well, yesterday longtime commenter (and former Wizbang Blue editor) Steve Crickmore "outed" himself as a conspiracy nut -- he's a "Surpriser." That is, he believes in the "October Surpise" theory that Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign conspired with the government of Iran back in 1980 to delay the release of the American hostages until after not only the presidential election, but Reagan's inauguration to deny Jimmy Carter any political advantage from resolving the situation.
Wow. Steve, I had no idea.
I have a special contempt for conspiracy nuts. I'm kind of like an ex-smoker there -- I dabbled when I was younger. I spent a couple of years obsessed with the Kennedy assassination, finally latching on to the theory that the fatal shot had been an accidental discharge of a Secret Service agent's weapon, until I finally read Gerald Posner's "Case Closed" and decided that yeah, it was most likely Oswald.
But back to conspiracy nuts. We got a few of those. The "Suprisers" are fading out, as the 1980 election gets farther and farther into the past, but we Americans are all too prone to buy into conspiracy theories. Right now, we have two big ones that are pretty popular -- and, oddly enough, even though they each appeal to a different end of the political spectrum, there is considerable overlap in their adherents.
First up, we have the "Truthers." These are those who do not believe that 9/11 was the act of Al Qaeda, and is actually the responsibility of the federal government. These nuts are split into two camps, calling themselves the "LIHOP" faction and the "MIHOP" faction. The first is slightly less nutty, they say that the Bush administration was aware of the plot, but allowed it to proceed -- they Let It Happen On Purpose. The others are the real batshit nuts -- they say the government actually engineered it, or Made It Happen On Purpose.
On the other side, we have the "Birthers." These are the people who are convinced -- absolutely convinced -- that there is some "defect" in the circumstances in Barack Obama's birth that somehow disqualifies him to serve as President of the United States. He wasn't born in the US, he possessed dual citizenship that he never fully renounced, he wasn't "enough" of an American because his mother wasn't old enough, his father's citizenship somehow pushed Obama into a second-class level of citizenship that can't be president -- I don't know all the permuations, and I quite frankly don't care.
Now, Steve's brand of crazy isn't one that really bothers me too much. I get irritated with it, but it doesn't get under my skin.
The Truthers and the Birthers, though... they do rile me. They do get me angered and worked up. I don't actively seek them out any longer, but when they rear their little pin heads around here, I unload with both rhetorical barrels. Then I reload and fire again.
I've tried to decide which I find more offensive, and I really can't decide. They both really piss me off, and for similar reasons, but I just can't say one of them is "worse" than the other.
So I'm gonna toss it out to you, folks. Which of these two groups of nuts is more aggravating, and what other conspiracy nuts get you steamed?