There is a trend going on in Wingnuttia that I have been noticing for months now: Right-wingers are engaging in exactly the same behaviors that they condemned or mocked the left for doing when George W. Bush was president. Attacking a sitting president’s foreign policy in a time of war? Check. Helping the enemy by showing that Americans are divided and disunited? Check. Politicizing national security? Check. Ignoring or not taking seriously laws that forbid public officials from revealing classified information? Check.
To these, we can now add: tinfoil hat conspiracy theorizing:
Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans [sic]. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.
The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), who has a dealership that will close, called this “an outrage.” A variety of far-right bloggers chose more colorful language.
And what is the “evidence” of a partisan conspiracy that “appears to be mounting”? As you might have guessed, like most conservative theories, this one is extremely thin. The argument, in a nutshell, is that Chrysler dealers owned by a variety of Republican donors are being closed, the government is now involved with Chrysler’s restructuring, so that points to “evidence” that the Obama administration is deliberately punishing GOP contributors.
There’s one big problem with this reasoning, says Nate Silver (linked from Steve’s post):
… Nobody has bothered to look up data for the control group: the list of dealerships which aren’t being closed. It turns out that all car dealers are, in fact, overwhelmingly more likely to donate to Republicans than to Democrats — not just those who are having their doors closed.
It shouldn’t be any surprise, by the way, that car dealers tend to vote — and donate — Republican. They are usually male, they are usually older (you don’t own an auto dealership in your 20s), and they have obvious reasons to be pro-business, pro-tax cut, anti-green energy and anti-labor. Car dealerships need quite a bit of space and will tend to be located in suburban or rural areas. I can’t think of too many other occupations that are more natural fits for the Republican Party. …