Thursday, August 6, 2009

more on birthers

Have you ever crafted a long, detailed response to a comment thread for a column in a major newspaper, only to find the comments were closed just before you hit the Send button?

That just happened to me. It was a Washington Post column by Eugene Robinson titled
"The Berserk Birthers" from Tuesday, August 4, 2009. If you look at the most recent page of comments before they closed it, you'll recognize the names I refer to here. But they're interchangeable, really, because there are only a handful of approaches the birthers use, and I think I've tackled them all here:

I assume that williepet1, ekim53, JustTruthPIs, workingclassslave, FactandTruth—and all their ilk—are patriotic Americans who want the best for our nation and sincerely believe what they're saying here.

So why do they believe this stuff? I'm still puzzling over this. Perhaps it's a need for "inside knowledge." Throughout human history otherwise intelligent people have fallen for some charlatan promising secret knowledge hidden from the rest of us. But I can't read my buddy's mind, so really I'm only speculating.

My spouse is a diehard Republican but doesn’t believe this stuff, so I can't ask her, and at the church we attend—which is probably 90% Republican—I get the impression that only a handful are birthers. But these are urban Republicans living in a college town in coastal California, mostly with advanced degrees. So they're not your typical redneck right winger.

What I do know is that the Republican Party leadership is pushing this (under the table of course, to keep their hands clean), and their most partisan adherents are running with it.

I wish they could trust, a scrupulously nonpartisan Annenberg Foundation website. No partisan Democrat would think FactCheck leans left. For example, they detailed any number of "factual errors" and spin in Obama's claims about his healthcare proposals. Anyone who checks their back issues will see them tear into everyone from both parties' leadership down to Congressmens' campaigns on both sides--when the campaigns say things that just aren't so.

For Obama's birth, actually flew staffers to Hawaii to inspect the original documents and supporting materials. Anyone who wants to can check all this out on their site. They've also detailed how the birthers' claims mutate constantly as fact-checking journalists research and debunk one claim after another. They're like the AIDS virus, which also mutates constantly to avoid our immune system's defenses.

Some details:

williepete1 trots out the "he's hiding it" ploy. As if the GOP's opposition researchers wouldn't have attacked Obama's bona fides in the election campaign if there were any truth to it. Yet willipete1 believes he's smarter than all the PhDs and private eyes of the Republican National Committee, amply financed by the Angry Billionaire's Club.

Or maybe williepete1 thinks the RNC and the DNC are in cahoots, guided by the Masons, or the Rothschilds Bank, or the alien entities in the Feds' basement (cue the Twilight Zone music)?

Ekim53 uses the "even if he's legit he's an unpredictable, dangerous socialist." The long-term Republican Party strategy has been to define every single real or potential Democratic presidential candidate as exactly these things, well in advance of the formal election campaign, regardless of who he or she really is.

For example, George McGovern was a war hero. He piloted B24 bombers over Germany for dozens of missions in WWII, while Ronald Regan acted in Hollywood. Yet you'd never know it from the campaigns. Likewise Kerry was a decorated war veteran, while Bush II was a high-class draft dodger. Yet they made McGovern and Kerry into mentally unstable Com-yew-nist America-haters. And the draft dodgers into war-heroes.

Socialists want government to own business. Democrats just want to regulate them—to avoid massive recessions. Republicans want business to own government. What's the name for that?

The fruit of the RNC multigenerational investment in Democrat candidate character assassination is folks like williepete1, who believes the people trying to save him are out to get him, while the people he's defending really are. Apart from the sheer evil of the RNC, you've got to hand it to them—like John Dillenger, they're very good at their work.

JustTruthPIs makes the same claims as williepete1, only with more words. He also had to believe that he's smarter than the entire staff of the Republican National Committee, or that the committee is part of some monstrous conspiracy—possibly to fatten Americans up for aliens' dining pleasure…

Ditto workingclassslave, only snarkier.

Lastly, to FactAndTruth: There is no way anyone can abrogate a natural-born American citizen's citizenship if he's under 18. Not a stepfather. Not another country. No one. This isn't rocket science law—it's basic stuff. Why don't you get it?

Honestly, you need to seek qualified help. Do you have a pastor you can talk to? A sane spouse? As it stands you're embarrassing yourself, and every response just digs the hole you're in deeper.

If you want to get to China, book a flight.

No comments: