In 2003, Megan McArdle coined the axiom known as Jane’s Law. It reads: “The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.” I am not sure Republicans are united enough to be smug and arrogant, but some Democrats are working hard to live up to their side of Jane’s Law.
On his show Friday night, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell suggested that perhaps Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to drop poison gas on his own people. Why? Stay with me here – he argues Putin ordered Assad to gas his own people so that Trump could bomb Syria to distract from the investigation that would prove Trump is also a puppet of Putin. Yes, he suggested that Putin “conspired to kill people as a way of helping the image of the President of the United States.” That’s bat guano crazy.
Let’s start at the beginning. O’Donnell first suggests that Putin ordered Assad to launch the gas attack. So far that is a reasonable supposition. Considering the dependency Assad has on Russia, it is likely he would not have used WMD without at least the approval of Putin. The real crazy comes in why O’Donnell believes Putin ordered Assad to drop sarin gas.
Putin has committed a significant amount of Russian troops and money to keeping Assad in power so that Russia can keep it’s port in the Mediterranean. Assad is literally fighting for his very life. If he loses the Syrian civil war and does not flee the country, there is roughly a one hundred percent chance he will be tortured to death and his body put on gruesome display. The idea they would conspire to invite American military action in Syria is a special kind of crazy.
Not content to be outdone, O’Donnell’s first guest, Indira Lakshmanan of the Boston Globe, upped the anti by suggesting the fact American forces alerted Russia to the impending attack could be further evidence of this scenario. That is standard protocol anytime either country launches direct military operations where the other country has soldiers or other personnel; it is a convention dating back to the Cold War, designed to prevent an accidental start to WWIII. But now what has been the accepted practice of every president for decades is somehow evidence of an elaborate conspiracy.
If you follow my writings, it should be clear that I am not a Trump partisan. I said at the beginning of Trump’s administration that I would praise him when he does well and oppose him when he is wrong. Obviously liberals and I are going to disagree on what actions fall into those two categories. But some of the opposition to Trump is becoming absolutely unhinged, and that is harmful to our democracy.