I have a confession to make. I love a good conspiracy theory and, truth be told, I’ve engaged in more than a few over the years. (Though I swear we were just hunting for fossils outside of Groom Lake, and that arrest for trying to find the alien bodies was completely bogus.) But every once in a while one will pop up which even gives me pause.

This week the paranoia meter swung fully into the red when Steve Benen teamed up with Matt Yglesias to explain one current phenomenon to a public thirsty for answers. You see, Republicans are currently working on further trashing the United States economy and driving us into a depression so that Barack Obama won’t win reelection in 2012.

We’re talking about a major political party, which will control much of Congress next year, possibly undermining the strength of the country — on purpose, in public, without apology or shame — for no other reason than to give themselves a campaign advantage in 2012.

Maybe now would be a good time to pause and ask a straightforward question: are Americans O.K. with this?

If there weren’t so many exciting football games on today I could probably crank out several thousand words on the subject of fever swamp ramblings and overt political showmanship, but why ruin an otherwise perfectly nice Sunday? What Mr. Benen has really stumbled upon, (with the help of Mr. Yglesias) is the shocking fact that, in addition to digging the country out of a vast, black hole of spending, debt and taxation, Republicans would like to win the 2012 presidential race. Yes… shocking, I know.

I know that tangible improvements in the economy are key to Obama’s re-election chances. And Douglas Hibbs knows that it’s key. And senior administration officials know that its key. So is it so unreasonable to think that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner may also know that it’s key? That rank and file Republicans know that it’s key?

You know, this report has really opened my eyes. In fact, I’m starting to suspect that the Republican leadership doesn’t even plan on supporting President Obama in 2012. Why, I wouldn’t even put it past those weasels to run a GOP candidate against him in the next election!

What really seems to have put a burr under Steve’s saddle is the fact that when the economy is in the tank and the party in power is pushing policies which don’t seem to be working, the opposition will try to point that out. And yes, one reason is to gain an edge in the next election so they can try their solutions to the problem. It’s a dirty trick, but one which has been used by politicians and their supporters in the media for ages. Take, for example, one Obama cheerleader dancing on the grave of the economy in Sept. 2008.

Following up an earlier item, the McCain campaign really has to hope that cultural insecurities are running high, because it’s going to take a lot of attacks on arugula to overcome the state of the economy.

According to the Labor Department’s latest jobs report, the unemployment rate hit a five-year high last month, with employers slashing 84,000 jobs, worse than economists were forecasting. It’s the eighth consecutive month for job losses, and both June’s and July’s numbers have been revised down. To date, the nation has shed 605,000 jobs in 2008.

Under the circumstances, these results are not exactly a ringing endorsement of Republican economic policies.

See? People have been engaging in these underhanded tactics for as long as I can remember. I’m just trying to recall who it was that penned that last piece… Oh, that’s right. It was Steve Benen.

Now you can scream at Jazz for being a stupid, wrong-headed RINO even faster than just leaving comments by following him on Twitter! @JazzShaw