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The Boston Globe



Tremblay: The paranoid style in N.H. politics?

Stella Tremblay, the New Hampshire state legislator who sparked outrage when she claimed the Boston Marathon bombings were actually perpetrated by the federal government, belongs to a long and embarrassing tradition. “American politics has often been an arena for angry minds,” historian Richard Hofstadter wrote in 1964, describing the “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy” that has always lurked on the fringes of both left and right.

When Hofstadter wrote those words, he had the John Birch Society in mind. The group’s modern-day descendants have migrated to the Web, finding a home on sites like Infowars — or, in Tremblay’s case, with the talk radio host Glenn Beck.

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