Rush Limbaugh’s ratings and the reach of his show have been shrinking for a while. So perhaps it’s not surprising that he’s racing even further into right-wing idiocy to keep up with the Alex Jones of this world. For example, claiming that beloved bugaboo of the Trumpites, the Deep State, tricked Bush II into invading Iraq to destroy his presidency.
For the record this is crap. We have two accounts of W declaring in the week after 9/11 that he suspected Iraq; Vice President Dick Cheney had been advocating overthrowing Saddam for a while; Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz believed Iraq was behind the Oklahoma City bombing; W and Cheney began pushing Iraq as the enemy well before the CIA’s findings; and several defectors and assets told the U.S. government that Hussein didn’t have any weapons (W pulled weapons inspectors out of Iraq before they’d finished their inspection or they’d presumably have found the same). Oh, and W said before his election that if he got to be a war president he’d use the political capital to push big domestic policy changes. W wasn’t a dupe; at best, he wanted to go in so badly he fooled himself, at worst, the weapons were an excuse for what he and Cheney wanted to do anyway (Wolfowitz once described Saddam’s WMDs as a convenient excuse — the real goal, he said, was to eliminate Saddam, remove US troops from Saudi Arabia and thereby relieve pressure on the Saudi monarchy).
But I don’t doubt Limbaugh’s bullcrap will find a willing audience (No More Mr. Nice Blog has thoughts on that). Just like there are people willing to buy into Pizzagate and the even more batshit theory The Storm. Because as Slacktivist points out, you can fool some of the people all of the time . Some people want to be fooled all of the time because believing lies makes the world the way they want it to be. Believing in the Deep State’s absolute power explains why Trump hasn’t already ended gay rights, abortion, immigration and rebuilt the coal industry. Limbaugh, Jones, Mike Cernovich and others know that and exploit it. They sell bullshit to willing customers (much like creationists accept the impossible to preserve their faith in an inerrant Bible, and the media cling to the delusion Trump will suddenly become competent) who want to know that the other side are lying traitors and cannibal child molesters, so believers can feel virtuous just by hating them.
Some of the believers probably swallow the bullshit wholesale, so they can keep hating. Some of them have enough self-awareness to struggle. The right wing’s lying liars such as Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer knowingly prey upon their willingness to be fooled. Take Trump’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. Some conservative men may see it as proof Trump is awesome, other voters are probably glad to hear Fischer and Perkins, as representatives of godly morality, assure them it’s no reflection on what a godly man Trump is (just like the religious right rallying around Roy Moore). As former RNC chair Michael Steele has pointed out, what Fischer and Perkins say makes no moral sense but they probably don’t give a damn (the real moral threats are gay people and women having sex without risk of pregnancy, not men enjoying themselves). And their listeners can use their words, or Fox News, or Limbaugh to reassure themselves Trump’s morality is not an issue. And that voting straight Republican is a vote to stop Hilary Clinton personally raping the pizzagate sex slaves.
And then they can sleep at night.