Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Birther Circus Never Ends

The Next Birther Hero?

Latest Newspaper Column:

President Obama provided irrefutable evidence this past week that 25 percent of Americans, and 45 percent of Republicans, are blithering idiots.

Those are the percentages of both groups, according to to a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, who don’t believe the president was born in the U.S. and who therefore believe he is ineligible under the Constitution to hold the office.

Members of that group have held on to this belief despite the fact that President Obama has previously released his “certificate of live birth” from the state of Hawaii. They’ve held on to it despite the fact that the state officials responsible for public records have stated numerous times that the birth certificate is genuine.

They’ve held on to it despite the evidence that the archives of local papers from the time of President Obama’s birth show that birth announcements ran in those papers of a son born to Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama of 6085 Kalanianaole Highway in Honolulu.

Nothing will satisfy us, the so-called “Birthers” insisted, but the “long-form” birth certificate, something which I’ll wager the vast majority of Americans had never even heard of until the Birthers turned it into the gold standard for proving you were One of Us.

“Obama isn’t an American citizen” has become one of those Zombie Lies, the ones that just won’t die. When one right-wing politician ends up being forced to admit that yes, he or she actually believes that Barack Obama is, indeed, an American (which they usually do only after being cornered like a rat in a trap), another one springs up, ready to start the whole tedious process over again.

The media bear a great deal of the responsibility here, because they’ve given a platform, not only to what the president described as “carnival barkers,” but also to enough kooks, charlatans, hucksters and grifters to staff a dozen sideshows, and all under the guise of being “objective.”

Make no mistake: There are some statements and positions that, in a rational world, would entitle you to nothing more than being mocked and jeered like a sideshow geek. Calls of “Where’s the birth certificate!?” mark you as a clown just as clearly as if you were wearing a red nose and big shoes, and any news outlet who gives any hearing whatsoever to that sort of nonsense ought to just admit that they’re just there to entertain, hire some tigers and elephants, and start broadcasting from under a big striped tent.

You want proof that there’s no such thing as the “liberal media”? Liberal media wouldn’t show people like Orly Taitz or Donald Trump spouting their drivel without a laugh track running underneath it.

Finally, President Obama did what he does far too often, in my opinion: He caved in to the demands of the crazies. He released the “long-form birth certificate” they’d been demanding. It showed, as everyone sane already knew, that he was born right here in the good old U.S. of A.

Did that settle the matter? Of course not. Nothing will ever satisfy the wingnuts, and Obama was foolish to try. Remember that, to the obsessed conspiracy theorist, any evidence that contradicts the the theory is itself part of the conspiracy.

Cries of “forgery!” went up from the swamps of the right wing blogosphere, with one blogger purporting to have proved the inauthenticity of the document by examining it online. Ask any legitimate document examiner if such a thing is possible, and see how long it takes him or her to stop laughing.

Some took the path of sheer chutzpah, like GOP Chairman Reince Priebus.

“Unfortunately,” Priebus sniffed, “[the president’s] campaign politics and talk about birth certificates is distracting him from our No. 1 priority — our economy.”

Well, Rance old son, maybe if you’d shown some of that “leadership” you people are always on about and helped quash this lunacy in your own party, including some of your potential nominees like “Mau Mau Mike” Huckabee, we wouldn’t have had to go through this rigmarole. If this twit beaned the president with a baseball, he’d complain about the time it took to put a bandage on the wound.

Then, of course, there’s the time-honored tactic of moving the goalposts, like CNN commentator Erick Erickson, founder of the right-wing blog RedState.

“Once the birth certificate issue is dispatched,” Erickson wrote, “will he release his college transcripts? That’s the issue for me.”

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.


Mark Terry said...

I'm not interested enough to pursue any research on the matter, but several journalists discussed this the other day on the Diane Riehm Show and pointed out that this entire issue has, as a matter of fact, never been contested legally. As they pointed out, there is no question whatsoever that Barack Obama's mother was a natural US citizen, therefore Barack Obama is a US citizen, regardless of where he was born.

To go further, John McCain was not born in the U.S., he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Was a huge fuss made about this? No.

Many years ago, Mitt Romney's father ran for president. Mitt Romney's father was born in Mexico. When he was running for president, did anyone make a fuss about him being born in Mexico? No. They did not.

Which, as they continued, begged the question: Is there a racist element to this?

Gimme a break. There's a racist element to almost every attack on Barack Obama. It's depressing.

But that might be beside the point. What does the Constitution actually say? Has it ever been challenged?

And who the f*** cares? Do the birthers really think their yammering's going to delegitimize the Barack Obama presidency? Or does it just keep them in the media?

Rob Flumignan said...

Well said, Mark. Can't add much to that.

Kathryn Lilley said...

I just wish the "legitimate" media would stop pandering to this type of story. Next time someone makes an allegation, they should ask, "Where's your evidence? When you produce it, we'll talk to you again." End of story.

klmaslow said...

Yes, to all the above, especially Mark's comments.

To which I would add only this: All this blather about Obama's "ineligibility" to serve does nothing to strengthen the US. The rest of the world IS watching, and they see us being weakened from inside. Al Qaeda doesn't have to do one single thing to us to make us fall to our knees; we're doing a damned good job of it all by ourselves.

JD Rhoades said...

Mark, they're like bratty children who've lost a game at a party and are now stomping around the yard, loudly insisting that the other side cheated.

Kathryn, you're absolutely right, but they're not going to stop doing it, becuase they've got 24 hours of air time to fill, and these idiots help them do it.

Kimaslow, you're absolutely right, it would be nice if the Democratic establishment had the balls to point that out.

Fran said...

And there you hit the nail on the head, Dusty: "...becuase they've got 24 hours of air time to fill..."

With nonstop news, anything 15 minutes old is ancient history and the news agencies have to fill up that time with something. When we got our news at 8:00 a.m., noon, and in the evening, they could take the time to cull it into real news, but nowadays? Every crackpot theory and celebrity gaffe is NEWS. It's exhausting and depressing.

J. E. Medrick said...

I agree with the previous posts and especially with klmaslow. I've felt for a long time our country was rotting from the inside. We need to turn some of that elbow grease inwards and clean out the mess HERE before we try and bandage the rest of the world.

I was in Japan for three years and when I came back, it only seemed to be worse. I love my country and I want the best for it. I was shocked by the Tea Partiers and this whole birth certificate fiasco. Is this really where we are, in 2011? :(

YA: Cheat, Liar
Adult: Shackled

J. E. Medrick said...

As soon as I saw THIS, I thought of you!

I hope you get as good a laugh out of it as we all have!

YA: Cheat, Liar
Adult: Shackled