Skip to comments.Birthers of a Nation & The Paranoid Style of American Liberalism
Posted on 08/05/2009 3:41:16 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
I think Jamie Kirchik has the politics pretty much exactly right. Eugene Robinson, Joe Conason and E.J. Dionne, in addition to all the politicians and bloggers Jamie mentions, have been pumping the birther story in order to tar Republicans as extremists at precisely the moment their own agenda is being rejected by the American people for it's own extremism. Even the folks at Mother Jones think this is a plausible explanation of the administration's behavior:
If the White House thinks the birther movement is hurting the Republican party, they might refrain from doing anything that could cause the GOP to totally marginalize the grouplike releasing the original certificate.
And heaven forbid anyone suggest that Robinson, Conason or Dionne would write columns to further the Obama administration's political agenda.
One point I'd emphasize is the continuing amnesia of liberals when it comes to their own paranoia and/or their tacit support of it. Here's Robinson:
If there has been a more clinically insane political phenomenon in my lifetime than the "birthers," I've missed it. Is this what our national discourse has come to? Sheer paranoid fantasy?
Really? Did Robinson miss the 9/11 truthers? This was the movement that insisted the U.S. government was in on, or even orchestrated, the 9/11 attacks. Such theories went from the simply nutty to full-on whackjob bonkers. Some, like former DNC Chair and then-presidential candidate Howard Dean simply entertained the "theory" that Bush was "tipped off" by the Saudis but let 9/11 happen anyway. Some, like Rosy O'Donnell argued that the conspiracy was so advanced that the inside job was the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel.
Now, it may be foolish for birthers to assume that Obama's refusal to release the full birth certificate is proof that he's foreign born (as opposed to assuming he's simply trying to gin up a controversy or conceal something else entirely) but is it really more crazy than thinking the United States government orchestrated 9/11?
There was also Michael Moore who insisted that Bush knew where Osama Bin Laden was but the president was simply keeping him on ice (Moore also believed OJ was innocent, for the record). The vast bulk of the left agreed with the Moore vision that Bush always knew there were no WMDs but "lied us into war" for ulterior motives. Those alleged motives varied in outlandishness, to be sure, but for a long while there no theory was crazy enough to earn much scorn from the Olbermanns and Conasons. When Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 opened in DC, Democrats flocked to the premiere, unconcerned with the paranoid delusions and deceits it contained. Click here to see then DNC chair Terry McAuliffe looking gaga as he shakes Moore's hand.
Oh and let's not forget all of the nonsense during, and in the wake of, Hurricane Katrina when several prominent figures made all sorts of crazy statements. Randall Robinson said that blacks and only blacks were eating the flesh of the dead almost immediately after the flooding. Spike Lee and others insisted that the levees might have been bombed by the Bush administration in order to kill or scatter black residents of New Orleans. Cynthia McKinney says the American forces rounded up and executed 5,000 "prisoners" and dumped in the swamps of Louisiana.
Meanwhile, the GOP leadership and the vast majority of rightwing and conservative pundits have either rejected or ignored the birther stuff (including Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan). But the GOP is supposed to own it. Democrats, meanwhile, were never held to a remotely similar standard when a far more evil and pervasive bout of paranoia claimed their own party. Funny how that works.
The conservatives in office are far fewer than those elected to office.
0bama's failed policies demand dissent!
Perhaps Clinton started this trend, but it seems that this president has pretty much replaced advocacy with agitprop. They really think that they can tar the opposition into submission and come out looking good. They’re all tactics, and they think they can lead the greatest country in the world this way.
I am amazed that this one (at a glance bogus) birth certificate online has caused people go almost rabid in their insults of people who want to know the truth! I mean it’s one thing to say “I really don’t think that he was born anywhere but Hawaii”, but to go to the extremes that these people (including our own?) are going to call ridiculous names...
Am I missing something?
Somebody already has:
That knife cuts both ways.
I don’t really need Jonah to defend me.
It would be nice if he had a clue. He has bought into the assumption that questioning the biography of the O makes you some kind of embarrassing hick from hick-town.
Its a very simple question. Where is his original birth certificate.
And what citizenship did he claim when he was in college.
Is this some kind of magic bullet that makes all our problems go away? Don’t worry about that. The president’s party controls congress. Just worry about whats in front of you. There is a big black hole where the president’s biography is supposed to be, and no one, and I mean no one in the media has any interest in filling it in.
That just strikes me as weird. Goldberg, you’re a big media guy. In between snappy columns (which I enjoy, by the way) how about asking a couple of questions out of turn? They’ll all act like you belched at the table, but what of it? Just ask, and enjoy the response you get as all the right people suddenly go apoplectic on you, and your job is suddenly on the line.
LOL. The Clintons must have a hangar-size closet to fit all their skeletons.
Jonah is no hick from hick-town. He knows better than to break ranks with the elite.
Seem to recall a fellow by the name of Ockham (Occam) had a rule of thumb about competing hypotheses.
If you had something to hide you would certainly play it off as rope-a-dope.
>>Do they really think that the short-form COLB ginned up by Kos is real or are they spineless wimps?<<
It is not up to Kos to come up with 0’s short-form COLB — the fact that Kos even gets involved should be an indication to the American people, but most of all to Congress and SCOTUS, that there is something very rotten in this whole affair.
Yet, complete silence from our government.
>>Obama wants the birther story to continue to discredit conservatives and grab attention from his own problems with health care and energy policy.<<
And all that is worth almost a million dollars out of his own pocket?
Republicans with conservatism will atleast take back the House in 2010.
The Democrats will have at least a several % ACORN advantage everywhere and in some places ACORN is worth whatever % of the vote they need. Real voting had better be something like 60-40 in Republicans’ favor. If it is then the official result may be more like 51-49 and lots of elections will be tied up in the courts. I am not encouraged.
And if it is a rope-a-dope, what will have been the total cost in time and money to the American people? And to what end? So Obama could play some sort of political game? I don't know if people are really going to appreciate that. Either way it goes, it doesn't look good for Obama.
arthurus: “The Democrats will have at least a several % ACORN advantage everywhere and in some places ACORN is worth whatever % of the vote they need. Real voting had better be something like 60-40 in Republicans favor. If it is then the official result may be more like 51-49 and lots of elections will be tied up in the courts. I am not encouraged.”
McCain had a lead in some States and Obama came from behind to win by a small margin. It took ACORN awhile to find the extra ballots in the trunk of their car.
ACORN did not then have 4-8 bil $$ and the DoJ for support.
Ok when will he play his card?