After stinging electoral defeat and in the midst of stalled budget negotiations, some leading conservatives impute dark motives to Barack Obama. According to these arguments, the president will go over the fiscal cliff to wreck the economy, destroy capitalism, and transform America.
This notion ignores the fact that economic catastrophe undermines a president’s popularity, the ultimate source of his power. Even if it were true that Obama insanely desired economic disaster, saying so in public wouldn’t stop him, and would only make it easier to blame obstructionist Republicans. And if it’s not true that Obama means to damage America, and if the nation somehow dodges the worst economic dangers, then these charges discredit the conservative cause.
Of course, conservatives should fiercely oppose Obama’s misguided policies and big government goals, but if we emphasize conspiratorial intentions then we damage ourselves.