Louise Mensch's destructive Russiagate fantasies

It is on the subject of Russia, however, that Mensch has really hit her stride. In the derailed opium den that is the extended Patribotics universe, Vladimir Putin is not a brute and a bully, so much as an ubiquitous, Svengali-like puppeteer of the sort whose use as a domestic cudgel would have made even the John Birch Society blanch. Per Mensch, the Kremlin is universal: It was behind the riots in Ferguson; it was behind the candidacy of Bernie Sanders; it helped to sabotage the congressional campaign of John Ossoff; it “catfished” Anthony Weiner, causing Hillary Clinton to lose the general election; it planned and orchestrated the recent terror attack on London Bridge, along with the bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013; and, most perniciously of all, it has set up vast, bipartisan network of spies and secret agents that include Sean Hannity, Matt Taibbi, Evan Siegfried, Glenn Greenwald, and, well, anybody who has the temerity to tweet at her in a tone of which she disapproves. As a solution for this infinite interference, Mensch has a modest proposal: Bomb Moscow.

In a more sensible world, a woman such as Mensch would be running around a train station warning commuters about the spaceships in the lavatory car. In America, 2017, alas, she was first elevated to the head of a News Corp property and is now is at the heart of what has become a popular and widely read conspiracy movement, which not only indulges her endless flights of hallucinatory fancy but repeats and retweets them under the heady imprimatur of “reporting.” Along with Eric Garland, Claude Taylor, Andrew Laufer, and a few other sorry victims of early onset absurdity, Mensch provides hope and titillation to the illiterate and the credulous, more than 250,000 of whom have elected to follow her on Twitter. In the course of her breakdown she has ensnared some of those you’d imagine she’d ensnare — Joy Reid is a fan, naturally, as are Ted Lieu and Keith Olbermann – but she has also managed to attract some of those you would not. To his intense discredit, Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe has shared her material on more than one occasion, which should serve as a welcome reminder that brilliance in one’s field in no way guarantees the possession of common sense.