Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Death of the Birther Movement?

Well, now he’s gone and done it. Yessirree, our Kenyan Moozlum radical soshulist Sharia-promulgating President has apparently released his full, hopelessly official birth certificate. (All the online papers probably lead with this story, so just Google one for yourself.) Birthers across the nation are no doubt spraying their morning tea all over the kitchen table, wondering how to organize their lives in the wake of this catastrophe. “Oh the humanity,” ladies and gentlemen!

So why did the president do such a thing? It is ridiculous that he should have felt it necessary, but at the same time, producing one’s birth certificate, I think the White House must have opined, isn’t the same as getting into a fracas with a covey of your crazy opponents. No, it’s a more final gesture, sort of like throwing down a royal flush at a poker game. You win. All they can do is grumble and pay up. Politically it’s arguably astute in that it takes the wind out of birther sails just as the 2012 campaign is getting underway. I say arguably because it isn’t entirely clear to me why, from a purely Machiavellian electoral standpoint, the Democrats would want to do that – the birthers marginalize the GOP with everyone outside the party, so having them around isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

But beyond short-term electoral considerations, the decision may have had something to do with a statesmanlike appreciation of the importance of numbers in a democratic-spirited country. The percentage of Republicans who profess belief that the president is from Mars, or Kenya, or Indonesia, or Canada, or – well, anywhere but the United States – was becoming alarming. Wasn’t it something like 67% when you combine the “don’t know” polling respondents with the “O Hell No, he’s definitely not one of us!” respondents? That’s the combo number I’ve run across a few times.

If two out of three people in one party have been convinced by vicious demagogues (or have convinced themselves even before such help came along) to think you are, or might be, the Brother from Another Planet, I guess you might as well try to set them straight even if it’s a bit embarrassing.

This gesture won’t end what Capt. Fogg aptly calls “Obamahate culture” because that’s founded on racism rooted in centuries of oppression, fear, and rage. But it will probably cut into the numbers – now perhaps only a third, or even (if we want to be optimistic) a fourth or fewer, of Republicans will keep insisting that the President isn’t American and will eventually take that firm belief with them to their graves. That’s still a lot of addled, ignorant, confused or mendacious and dishonorable people to reckon with, but it’s better than two-thirds.

It may not seem like much of a transformation, but I’ve long suggested that ultimately, a small number of percentage points one way or the other means the difference between continued democracy and a rough-beast’s slouch towards dictatorship, plutocracy, or some other unbearable form of government. A small but persistent percentage might make the difference between getting a majority of people to do abominable and stupid things and being rejected by them for making such suggestions.


  1. After years of Birtherism from fools hearing voices in the head, it is easy to understand why the President has refrained from stooping to their level. As conventional wisdom suggests, rise above it. Why pay attention to sandbox bullies, hacks, and narcissists! Catering to them only encourages them.

    Defying conventional wisdom, the President has released his long form, and the bullies are grabbing new fistfuls of sand. “Why did it take so long?” harrumphs the amphibian midget, Newt Gingrich. “It raises more questions than it answers.”

    No icing tops the cake more than this remark from the hairpiece-turned-mouthpiece: “Today I'm very proud of myself, because I've accomplished something that no one else has been able to accomplish,” spouts the triumphant Trump.

    For a man who is always bragging about himself, his yacht, his money, his media exposure, his wives, and his manhood, I can’t help but wonder whether he is hiding some secret in his pants. Perhaps the man with a constant need to brag is overcompensating and covering up the lack of one, having neither prick nor balls. And why should we take Donald Trump at his word? President Obama showed us his; it is time for you to show us yours. Call a press conference and fess up:

    Donald, now it is your turn. Show your penis. Citizens have a right to know.

  2. I am sure the birthers won't believe that the certificate is not a fake. Fact and evidence has little to do with what they believe to be true.

  3. Octo,

    Yes, I love the new "aha! what took ya so long" meme! Oh, that's a good one! It is entirely clear to US, of course, that President Obama has just now gained access to a secret time portal in the White House basement and that he sent David Axelrod back in time just so he could whip up that inexcusably valid-looking long-form certificate.

    For the remaining unconvinced-unwashed, I suppose, the next necessary step will be to DEMAND THAT THE WHITE HOUSE SEND THE ACTUAL, UNIQUE LONG-FORM CERTIFICATE TO EACH BIRTHER FOR INSPECTION FOR A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN ONE DAY PER INDIVIDUAL. Otherwise, I'm afraid, we just can't allow Mr. Obama's name to be on the ballot in our fair states. Does he think we were born yesterday and went to bed early?

    And yes, I have nothing against show bizzness, but Trump's influence and behavior have been deplorable.

  4. Octo, nooo! Please, Donald, don't listen to Octo! For the love of all things classy (which I know you, of all people, appreciate) do not show us your penis. Some things are meant to remain unknown. And classy, no doubt -- the classiest ever, in fact.

    But a certificate authenticating your hair and stating it is indeed hair and not a terrorist weapon of mass destruction would be in order, I'd say. I will not take your candidacy seriously until you provide us with such proof.

    On a less serious note, releasing Obama's birth certificate was a mistake, in my opinion. It only legitimizes idiots like Trump and their outlandish claims.

    What if next they demand proof that Obama isn't a Marxist? I guess he'll have to dismantle Medicare and Social Security, after all...

  5. On a related note:

    Is Hawaii really a US state? Have you seen any documents proving it? No? I didn't think so.

  6. LOL! It's really fun to have some laughter around this place! I'm with Elizabeth. I don't want to see the Donald's penis; I'd like to keep my eyesight as long as possible.

    I do disagree that releasing the birth certificate was a mistake although, Elizabeth, I fully appreciate your sentiments. The reason that I don't think that it is a mistake is that while the birther masses are not likely to persuaded by the new "fake" certificate of live birth, it deflates Trump's sails as so far the birther thing has been his top campaign issue. It also makes the birthers have to stumble ove their assertions and anything that discombualtes these buffons is useful.

  7. Elizabeth,
    Good suggestion. I didn't think of that. I was trying to hit the Donald where it hurts, but you are right about the hairpiece. And citizens do have the right to know which is the man and which is the ventriloquist.

  8. Sheria,
    No need to worry about your eyesight. I still think if the Donald held a press conference and the police came to arrest him for indecent exposure, the Donald would still get off due to lack of evidence.

  9. You're likely right, Sheria.

    I'm just mad that this move gave Idiot Donald an opportunity to gloat and claim it as his "accomplishment." It has also elevated him to a position of a serious contender -- or at least a serious critic of this president, which is difficult (for me) to stomach.

    But I guess it's just part of American politics -- always insanely entertaining (stress on insanely).

  10. Glad to see you here and sharp witted as always Elizabeth! Yes, we could do with a little comic relief.
    Dino - "Death of the birther movement"? You're more optimistic than I am. There is a quote and I'm not sure who said it but it goes like this,"To those who believe no proof is needed and to those who don't believe no amount of proof will ever be enough."
    Sheria -I'm with you, "keep it in your pants, Donald!" But I would really like to see an analysis of what that hair is made of! :)

  11. Of course this will not end the birther insanity, and rockync gave the perfect quotation to illustrate why.

    I'm puzzled over why the president did this. His people have to know providing incontrovertible proof won't shut the birthers up, nor will it close down Trump's Traveling Circus and Snake Oil Show.

  12. Somehow this morning I lost my way and ended up on some right-wing blog. Nah, these Yahoos aren't going to let go of the birther issue. One commenter said she wouldn't be satisfied until she sees the long form! This right after the press conference. Another accused the president of being disrespectful of poor Donald - interesting in light of Trump's insulting comments of late. So, nope - they're just going to keep on keeping on. And we'll keep on at what we do best - mocking them to hell and back.

    Elizabeth, I'm delighted to see you with your wonderful wit in tact, but I'm going to agree with Sheria on Obama's producing it and doing it in such a half-serious, half-sarcastic fashion. His line, "We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers" was worth the price of admission.

    I did, however, quip on FB that it's time for Trump to produce a certified copy os his hairline.

    While all of this is good fun, I'm really getting a bit pissed at these Neanderthals.


    Ha! Nice try, Dino. As if we didn't have a better use for our 24 hours than to spend them inspecting an obviously forged document. Thanks, but no thanks.

    I'd rather focus on something more important, like demanding that Obama prove to us that he does not have a membership card of the World Communist Party.

    Now I know that some of us like to bash The Donald, the classiest, smartest, richest and handsomest man that has ever lived (those some of us are simply jealous, let's admit it), but he has one genuine accomplishment to his name (apart from forcing our Kenyan Muslim Commie president to make David Axelrod forge his birth certificate) -- and that is relegating Sarah Palin to near-oblivion.

    Since Trump started trumpeting himself all over our M$M in search of a badly needed coverage, Mrs. Palin seems to have vanished. I know it is unimaginable, yet, dare I say, it appears to be true.

    Apparently there is just enough room for only one Most Seriously Deluded GOP Nutjob of the Moment, and The Donald has elbowed himself into it, unceremoniously displacing Sarah. Knowing how vain and vindictive she is, I would love have access to her thoughts now: is she fuming at her advisers for telling her to lay off the birther claims? What a wasted opportunity...

    If their presidential ambitions do not pan out (and why should they?), The Donald and The Wasillian Princess should combine forces and create The Narcissist Party.

    Oh, wait... That's kinda an oxymoron, no? OK, then two separate Narcissist Parties -- the regular and the real classy one.

    P.S. Thanks, Rocky!

  14. Shaw and all,

    I think that's what I'm trying to address in the latter part of my post -- I'd have to question the immediate political impact of doing what the prez did since there's no way the craziest crazies would be convinced by anything. But I'm guessing there was a genuine fear that this whole thing has been spiraling out of control, affecting even people who may not be full-on teahoos, or whatever we want to call them. If we get to the point where, as Yeats puts it, "the falcon cannot hear the falconer," we're all in trouble. So it may be statesmanship instead of short-term strategery. Maybe -- who can say?

  15. Well, Elizabeth,

    I guess I'll have to keep my day job. This covert Dem-strategist gig isn't something I'm good at.... I just can't sell you stalwart, suspicious-minded teahoos on anything! You're always two steps ahead of me....

  16. A right-winger's comment (by "Jim Biggs"), complete with curious spelling, from HuffPo:

    daddy was not a citi.zen as is required as per the nat.ural born citiz.en clause in the con.stitut­ion

    the location was never an issue ( at least for me) there are plenty of unanswered questions pertaining to his adoption by sor.etoro , requiremen­ts of citiz.ensh­ip to attend Ind.onesia­n schools etc.etc. to merit answers .

    the bi.rth certific.a­te issue is just a play on words to cover up the real issues

    there is a difference between the term citizen and natural born citizen they are not the same

    So there we have it, folks. Those tin foil hats provide excellent insulation against reality.

  17. Elizabeth,

    That's a classic! Closing one door opens a dozen others, and if you close those dozen doors, 144 more will open. It's exponential -- a Borges short story couldn't begin to do justice to it. The entire wonderful Latin American tradition of "magical realism" couldn't, volume piled on volume.

  18. Perhaps this is evidence of the second coming of Christ. This time righties are "doubting Thomas" who had to see for himself. When the cock crows three times they will realize the error of their ways and beg forgiveness.

    Or more likely they will act shocked because someone said "cock." Then they will look at Donald Trumps penis and be satisfied. As long as they don't have to utter the word "cock."

    The religious theme of this comment is in no way meant to raise the ire of Captain Fogg or anyone else.

  19. Yup, Dino, your hopes about the death of this glorious movement have been premature. Nothing, but nothing -- and especially not the truth -- kills a delusion fueled by hate.

    Once we obtain that long certificate (or whatever it is), there will be a -- legitimate, of course -- need to inspect the birth certificates, short and long, of Barack's parents. Then on to his school records -- we haven't seen them yet, have we?

    But even that won't be enough. Next step will be a demand for his DNA to prove that he is indeed human. The sample will never be authenticated to the birthers' satisfaction, however, as they will find indisputable evidence of the alien DNA in it. And so it will go on, and on, in this land of not-so-magical unrealism.

    BTW, I'm glad you've abandoned your covert Dem strategist dreams. We all must come to terms with our limitations. ;) Face it, you have no chance against the superminds of the birther movement.

  20. As Elizabeth said: one down, 144 more to go. The number of people who believe the president is a Muslim has actually increased! The republican party presidential hopefuls right now congers up images of that little tiny car at the circus where dozens of clowns keep rolling out.

  21. Stopped in for a respite. I'm at work attempting to reduce the eduation part of our state budget to someting reasonably readable that is less than 7 pages.

    Thanks for the wit and wisdom expressed here. I've read a few comments from the HuffPo story on the birth certificate (they also have a link to the long form) and alas the new issue for some is the question of the president's religious affiliation with Islam. I didn't know that he was a Muslim but some of the more learned commenters are assiduous in their assertions that he is.

    Hadn't thought of the DNA, Elizabeth, but I see it now that you mention it.

  22. The Birthers won't believe it. As with most people like them (I'll be kind and not use my favorite epithets for them), they will keep spewing their ignorance for all eternity. Sigh.

    We will have a cure for cancer long before there's a cure for ignorance.

  23. Respite? Then I have just the thing for you (and everyone else), Sheria -- the Shiba Inu puppies are back (a new litter, to be exact) live -- six of the cutest rolly-pollies you've ever seen.

    This is what the Internet was invented for, I'm convinced.

  24. To all,

    I may not be a secret dem-strategist, but after listening to clever humans and other creatures, here's the simple lizard's new synthesis. On the indestructible nature of birtherism, I think Dr. Johnson speaks well from across the ages: "Delusion, if delusion be admitted, has no certain limitation." And that gives us a possible clue regarding how this presidential decision might be a stroke of genius:

    No, of course birtherism won't simply die out. Delusion has indeed been admitted, and now that the dreaded long-form certificate has been set before the public, the birther dead-enders have no option but to make their case in ever more histrionic and outlandish ways until they sail off the edge of the known political universe. And they've plenty of time to engage in that quest, with the election still a year and a half in the future. The problem for them is that the further into brazen and defiant absurdity their delusion drives them, the more they will alienate anyone capable of rational thought. They have to up the ante, which they will do, but doing it will make them seem even more preposterous than they already are. I'd say that's a good thing for the president and for Dems generally.

  25. The common wisdom within medical disciplines is never to try to correct the erroneous impressions of sufferers of dementia. Of course, if the dementia is of a mild nature, the subject may very well respond positively to gentle redirection or reality orientation.

    Why then is it that two thirds of the republican party seem to be experiencing this extreme break from reality?

  26. Oh, and by the way, one line of commentary has been coming largely from African-Americans: there is reason to be upset that a bi-racial man should be the only president to find it necessary to produce his birth certificate. I thought President Obama handled the matter with elegance and grace, but the point's worth considering: some African-Americans are deeply distressed that he should even have to do this; it's a mark of just how racist and ignorant many people still are in these United States, and I'm sure the emotional impact is that of being told that even if you're elected president, you're STILL going to be treated as a second-class citizen subject to special rules and limitations. More hoops, always more hoops, that you need to jump through. That feeling deserves to be acknowledged here, and it inspires in me the following denunciation:

    Are any and all right-wing rhymes-with- gas-holes out there satisfied? You are? Fine! Now STFU! The president has my affection and respect, and you have earned all decent people's utter contempt -- not only here in the States, but everywhere. But it's time to move on since, as the president says, we've "got better stuff to do." Maybe you don't, but the rest of us do.

  27. To quote the late Douglas Adams: "If somebody thinks they're a hedgehog, presumably you just give 'em a mirror and a few pictures of hedgehogs and tell them to sort it out for themselves, come down again when they feel better." That didn't work in the book, and it doesn't work with birthers either. They haven't stopped and won't stop. I read through a 120+ comment thread of tea party types debating both the validity and the relevance of the much-ballyhooed document, and as such threads tend to do, it would up concluding that the President is a socialist traitor Christian-hater and should be impeached. It truly does not matter to them that the document they've been howling and foaming at the mouth about has been produced.

    And out of all the things that made me feel physically ill yesterday (there were quite a few, so it's hard to pick), I think the worst was watching Trump dodging the "are you going to run" question. His answer was that he has the top show on NBC, and he won't be able to announce until the season finale. If anyone harbored any lingering doubts that this was a huge publicity stunt, let that go -- Trump is nothing but a loud-mouth reality show whore with an orange spray tan and ridiculous hair.

    It is a travesty that the President felt he had to capitulate to this nonsense. It demeans us all, and does not change the basic fact that there is nothing, no thing, no matter what, that would make the lunatic right shut up.

    Well, there's one thing. We could stop paying attention to them.

  28. In order to stop paying attention to this crap we'd have to develop grown-up media that cover grown-up matters. That, in turn, would require de-coupling it from corporate interests (good luck with that).

    As it is, birtherism, along with people like Trump, and events like the Kate and William's wedding, is what our M$M thrives on. By design, by the way.

  29. Finally -- the Obama's birth certificate as seen through a birther's eyes -- everything you wanted to know and more!


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