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Is the “birther movement” a liberal plot?

It’s a thought raised by conservative talk show host host Michael Medved, complaining that the birther movement and allied “crazy nutburgers” were making the conservatives appear “weird and crazy”.

That from a new editorial in the Bangor Daily News (Maine) that also talks about how the Internet makes spreading such outlandish rumors easier. Perhaps some comfort can be found in the fact that:

Belief in obscure, outlandish theories is nothing new. A recent survey found that 34 percent of the American public believes in UFOs and 24 percent believes in witches….

The solution is good, straight thinking in an era of hard times, cultural upheavals and terrorist threats. No need to get paranoid about paranoia in others. We’ve been through such things before, and we will again.

56 Responses to Is the “birther movement” a liberal plot?

  1. avatar
    Zixi of Ix March 15, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    Is it a plot?

    I do not think it is concerted effort by Democrats to lead people (mostly conservatives at this point) down the wrong path.

    It does look like the rumors started with Hillary Clinton’s supporters, however. Many of them were quite bitter when she didn’t manage to get the requisite number of delegates, and many felt that she was treated badly in relation to Obama specifically and to the other male candidates in general.

    It’s not a coincidence, IMO, that Philip Berg, on the record as a Hillary Clinton supporter, seems to have been “birther zero”.

    Not that Mr. Berg invented the story, only that he would have been in a position to hear the rumors early on from other Hillary Clinton supporters.

    At this point, if there is anything like a “conspiracy”, it originates in the bloggers, website owners, authors, lawyers, and celebrity seekers who are capitalizing on the whole mess, all of whom know a good thing when they see it.

    Every new sensational detail, regardless of how ludicrous it turns out to be, is announced breathlessly. Evidence doesn’t matter. The truthfulness of people or their sordid backgrounds don’t matter.

    As long as these people continue to provide “proof” of Obama’s “misdeeds”, they keep birthers coming to their sites, donating money to their Paypal accounts, and giving them the attention they crave.

    If there is a conspiracy, that’s the extent of it.

  2. avatar
    richCares March 15, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Zizi, you got that right, a prime example is the Chanise Foxx” story that starts out with “Granted it’s draft version 0.1, but here’s my stab at FICTION:”
    The this story spread like wild as a true story, What Idiots!

  3. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett March 15, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    It has been revealed, in the new book Wingnuts, that Berg was approached by someone in Hillary’s campaign with the notion that Obama was not born in America, and ran with it.

    So yes, it was spawned by a Democrat – or at least someone working for a Democrat’s Presidential Nomination campaign.

    But since then it seems that it’s crossed party lines and taken more hold with the Right side of the fence than the left.

    It IS just possible that Taitz is being propped up by some false flag operation to keep Republicans looking dumB in the public eye. But if that were true, they’d be harping on her more. And I don’t see that.

    So Medved’s wroGn again. What a surprise.

  4. avatar
    misha March 16, 2010 at 2:14 am #

    The ‘born in Mombasa’ started with Berg, in Norristown, outside of Philly. He was an ardent Clinton supporter, and he tried to derail Obama. He can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

    Also, this photograph was released by the Clinton campaign.

  5. avatar
    kimba March 16, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    I recall the first time I heard the inference/ speculation that Obama was not born here on one of the Sunday shows from someone, a woman, whose name I can’t recall, but a colleague/associate of Mary Matalin, fomer Cheney staffer. Does anyone else recall this? Matalin had been backing Fred Thompson until he dropped out in January 2008. I have searched to try and find who it was, and haven’t been successful in finding it. But my belief has always been the original source was Cheney and the neo-cons like Bill Kristol and Richard Perle – the American Enterprise Institute and PNAC crowd. I thought they’d found a useful idiot in Berg.

  6. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett March 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    ha! Talk about djinn and bottles 😀 It looks like Obama got lost on the way home from the panto.

  7. avatar
    Kathryn N March 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    Here’s the difference between liberals and conservatives: if you prove to a liberal that something he believes is untrue, he will stop believing it, because the evidence contradicts it.
    If you prove to a conservative that something he believes is untrue, he will stick his fingers in his ears, and shout loudly that the “evidence” is wrong. Conservatives live in their own little reality, that is impervious to facts.

  8. avatar
    Black Lion March 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    What is most amusing is how the birthers seem to be driven by a small number of real nutcases. The inflitrate all of the so called birther blogs with their misinformation and extreme hate of the President. For instance our old buddy Steve C, aka Steve Craig, supposed expert genologist exposed by Loren. He is over at the WND blog spewing his usual garbarge. I recall debating him over at tROSL and he is one delusional individual to say the least. Anyway he seems to have taken over at WND (which is not surprising) and has been able to elcit some interesting stuff.

    (thanks to Patrick over at Badfiction for the heads up)

    Posted by ch22240 on Mar 12, 2010 18:42

    BHO’s real mother comes from Kenya to visit her village marriage husband attending school in Hawaii. Confronted with his ‘new’ wife, she disowns him and drops the babe in their laps and she leaves back to Africa. Standard fare for BHO Sr as we discoved more relatives in other countires, like China. The marriage date of BHO Sr and SAD is actually the date BHO was born.
    The Aug 4th 1961 date is the adoption paperwork generated COLB for a foreign born US adopted BHO. [see Hawaiian statues] Remember BHO was born prior to the Bay of Pigs, April 1961.
    BHO discovers his real BC in the shoe box with his real mother, whereas he heads to Kenya to discover her and then confront SAD/SAS in Indonesia as he has been lied to all his life, and his ramblings about his hatred of his mother’s race, is festered into an open wound, and continues to this day.
    BHO not born to ANY US citizen parents, an adopted foreigner.

    Reply to: ch22240
    As I have quoted Alexander Morse here before the following is critial “A natural-born citizen has been defined as one whose citizenship is established by the jurisdiction which the United States already has over the parents of the child, not what is thereafter acquired by choice of residence in this country. NATURAL-BORN CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES. Eligibility for the Office of President. Alexander Porter Morse. 66 Albany LJ 99 [1904].”

    Alexander Morse in TREATISE ON CITIZENSHIP references Vattel.

    XI; A citizen in the largest sense is any native or naturalized person who is entitled to full protection in the exercise and enjoyment of the so called private rights The natural born or native is one who is born in the country of citizen parents. {Again, note the plural- parents}

    Posted by su359115 on Mar 15, 2010 12:56

    [400] The nationality of the father is the determining factor; NOT jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is secondary; controlling of taxes, inheritance, licensing, conferred nationality, etc.

    Conversely, the state cannot deny the nationality of the child, at birth, being that of the father. Patrilineal rights are sacrosanct. Natural Law can be circumvented by statute; but such law denying a child the father’s nationality is tantamount to taking the child away at birth.

    (Obama became solely a U.S. citizen at age two due to the father’s abandonment.)

    Therefore, patrilineal nationality is distinctly independent of both statute or jurisdiction.

    Jurisdiction played a role in the father’s nationality. He accepted his nationality of birth and remained a citizen as an adult by operating lawfully under that jurisdiction. However, once again, the child did not take on the father’s nationality by jurisdiction. The father may naturalize to another nationality, changing jurisdictions; but then any subsequent birth citizenship is a natural beneficiary of that nationality through the father. . . not by law.

    Conversely, if the mother is naturalized by derivative in a foreign marriage, her existing children are naturalized as well; NOT by birth through the mother, but by jurisdiction. That is how Obama became an Indonesian citizen.

    Only jus solis births, i.e., 14th Amendment citizens at birth, are dependent on jurisdiction. Jurisdiction, as defined in the Wong Kim Ark holding (that’s the ‘holding,’ not the wide range of topics in the ‘discussion’) includes the legal power of a nation to confer nationality upon a child born in that country, i.e., under its jurisdiction thereof, BY LAW.

    If you read 8 U.S.C. 1401, that is the 14th Amendment defined statutorily. Yes; a child born on U.S. soil to two U.S. parents are included in 1401, but that child is also a ‘natural born citizen.’ However, that one instance of overlap does not make the other circumstances of 1401/14th Amendment citizens at birth also natural born citizens.

    A liberal lesbian lawyer may ask: “What about nationality from the mother?” Because of the natural role of the father as provider (historically and ideally, the woman nurtures the child and keeps up the home), the father’s allegiance is, by that natural arrangement, also that of the mother and child. The preservation of the mother’s nationality is only a recent byproduct of suffrage laws. Those suffrage laws, however, do not ‘amend’ the original construction of Article II’s …

    Posted by donc4013 on Mar 12, 2010 11:55

    Today, I have not been allowed to post a new comment I thought of recently.


    ” Mr and Mrs Barack h Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, “SON” Aug 4″

    You actually believe this supports Hussein’s birth. WHY?

    Question. What was the “son’s” birth name?? DON’T KNOW

    Question. what was the Mother’s name?? DON’T KNOW.

    Question. Who reported the birth and who was the doctor? DON’T KNOW.

    Question. Was the “Mrs” Obama the wife from Kenya or the wife from Hawaii?? DON’T KNOW

    Question (follow up) Was the birth given by the wife from Kenya or from Hawaii? DON’T KNOW.

    Question. Was Obama living with the wife from Kenya in Hawaii? DON’T KNOW”
    Does anyone see a reason why this post would be censored by Youtube, several times? I can’t post it?

    If you have a suggestion, please reply.

    Mulatto Hussein born a British/ Kenya Citizen and NEVER NATURAL BORN.

    Posted by su359115 on Mar 10, 2010 18:33

    Judge Surrick doesn’t consider a presidential candidate violating the supreme law of the land injurious, or to be taken seriously as causing specific harm to any one citizen.

    That was the ‘standing’ issue.

    Paraphrasing an old legal maxim, if only a few citizens cry ‘Foul,’ no harm done.

    However, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall saw it differently:

    “With whatever doubts, with whatever difficulties, a case may be attended, we must decide it, if it be brought before us. We have no more right to decline the exercise of jurisdiction which is given, than to usurp that which is not given. The one or the other would be treason to the constitution.” Cohens v. Virginia 19 US 264 (1821)

    The only person with direct and tangible standing is Senator McCain. However, he was notified by me and a few others, in a timely fashion, that Obama was not a natural born citizen, and that he could challenge his electoral votes under existing law prior to the certification of those votes.

    McCain, in my opinion, threw the election to avoid a popular uprising of Obama supporters and the media.

    After McCain, any member of the Republican Party, or election worker who relied on McCain to do his utmost to win the election, has standing.

    Attorney Phil Berg claims he is of this second class. He contributed, pro bono, hundreds of hours of substantive legal work to support a valid Democrat candidate, which he claims Obama is not. He had a reasonable expectation the Democrats would follow constitutional law.

    In my opinion, any one citizen who sees that the ’emperor has no clothes’ has standing, even if every other citizen is blind to the constitutional issue.

  9. avatar
    misha March 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Conservatives: guilty until proven innocent
    Liberals: innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Want proof? Cheney’s daughter going after Justice department lawyers, á la McCarthy. Or the burden of proof is on Obama.

    My favorite is Clarence Thomas’ assertion that liberalism was the root cause of slavery!!

  10. avatar
    HellT March 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Belief in woo is not confined to any particular political persuasion. If anything, what conservatives and liberals differ in is what sort of woo is likely to appeal to them.

    For instance, New Age nonsense has been around for decades, and its adherents have primarily been left-leaning. A lot of alt-med supporters came out of the New Age movement, and the authority they distrust is medical authority.

    Right now the woo du jour on the right is political, with its adherents fixated on false or incorrect ideas about our country, its history, and its leaders. Anything to support their distrust of political and legal authority.

    The common denominator isn’t politics or ideals, but a shared distrust of authority, and a conviction that any individual is the equal of any expert (authoritative source) on the subject they’re obsessing over. You really can’t convince them otherwise…well, unless you learn what they do for a living and tell them *you*, with no familiarity with it whatsoever, are as much an expert in their profession as they are. The more reasonable ones will get your point and begin to accept that authority comes from knowledge and experience, which deserves respect, though not necessarily _uncritical_ acceptance.

  11. avatar
    G March 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Very well put, HellIT!

  12. avatar
    G March 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    Yep. Nothing but sad, sick fantasies over at WND of a bunch of closet racists and from what you’ve posted here, some sexists too.

  13. avatar
    Black Lion March 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    G, agreed. However if you ask the birthers they like to remind you that it has nothing to do with the race issue….And then you read that and realize that race has a lot to do with it…

  14. avatar
    SFJeff March 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Basically the fantasies keep devolving, always with the goal of proving that there is no way that someone with that complexion could possibly be eligible to be President.

  15. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 16, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    I suppose you heard that Clarence Thomas’ wife is a big Tea Party supporter.

  16. avatar
    Adam March 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    It’s not a liberal plot, but I do think Obama is doing as little as possible to stop it.

    If he wanted to, Obama could get a copy of his long-form BC and make it publicly available, or at least get some non-partisan document examiner to authenticate it.

    I realize this would be unnecessary to prove he was born in Hawaii (as that has already been proven by other means), but it would at the very least put to rest the suspicions of many that he’s “hiding something.”

    And IMHO, That would probably take the wind out of the birther sails.

    Of course, it wouldn’t stop Taizes and Donofrios and Bergs of the world from continuing their lawsuits, but I believe the birther movement would lose 90% of its supporters if Obama did this.

    I think he realizes it, and that’s why he refrains from doing it, as the birther movement hurts his opposition by dividing it and making it look stupid.

  17. avatar
    Scientist March 16, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    The state of Hawaii doesn’t issue a “long form”, so if Obama lost the original, it no longer exists. The actual primary records cannot leave the custody of the Hawaiian DOH, so they can’t be released either. In principal, Obama could give approval for a team of document experts to go in to the DOH and examine them. But who would pick such experts and who would pay for them? If the government picked them, the birthers wouldn’t believe them. If Orly picked them, I wouldn’t believe them. The courts aren’t interested in the entire question. In fact we have heard from the absolute experts in Hawaiian state documents, namely the officials of the DOH, and that didn’t seem to appease the birtheres. In fact, it only further agitated them.

    I think it is naive to believe that the birthers are about the eligibility issue. In fact, they are about “We hate Obama” (whether because of race, ideology, party, or what have you) and the eligibility is an excuse to justify their opposition and a way to pretend they can get rid of him (futile). I have issued a challenge here several times to name a single birther who sees eye-to-eye with Obama on most of the issues. The challenge has gone unanswered.

  18. avatar
    misha March 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    “That would probably take the wind out of the birther sails.”

    It would not. Obama still would not meet the “two-parent requirement” claim, and besides, if he released the vault copy that Berg demands, that crowd would claim it was a forgery.

    Obama should not give in one iota to the Denialists.

  19. avatar
    misha March 16, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Yes, no surprise.

  20. avatar
    misha March 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    “the birther movement hurts his opposition by dividing it and making it look stupid.”

    That is exactly what is happening, and I am cheering. It could not happen to a nicer mob.

  21. avatar
    Adam March 16, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    “The state of Hawaii doesn’t issue a long form, so if Obama lost the original, it no longer exists.”

    Don’t give me that. He’s the president for crying out loud. If he wanted to, he could pull some strings and get the state to make him a certified photocopy of the form that is in their vault.

    It’s also not exactly true that the state doesn’t issue long forms. That’s what they tell you officially, because they don’t want to have to print them.

    But it is possible to get one. I know someone who was born in Hawaii who managed to get one. It was a hastle to get it, and took a lot of phone calls, but it could be done.

    I’m sure it would be a lot easier for the president to get one if he really wanted ont.

  22. avatar
    Adam March 16, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    “It would not. Obama still would not meet the two-parent requirement claim, and besides, if he released the vault copy that Berg demands, that crowd would claim it was a forgery.”

    True, but few birther sympathizers buy the two-parent claim or the forgery claims.

    From people I know, I’d say the vast majority of birther sympathizers are suspicious that he’s hiding something. If he wanted to, he could put those suspicions to rest.

    But he doesn’t want to, for the reasons stated above.

  23. avatar
    aarrgghh March 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    adam, advising another thwack for that dead horse:

    “I realize this would be unnecessary to prove he was born in Hawaii (as that has already been proven by other means), but it would at the very least put to rest the suspicions of many that he’s “hiding something.”

    And IMHO, That would probably take the wind out of the birther sails.

    Of course, it wouldn’t stop Taizes and Donofrios and Bergs of the world from continuing their lawsuits, but I believe the birther movement would lose 90% of its supporters if Obama did this.”

    birfers have a daily demonstrated ability to flatulently supply their own wind, but 90% of nothing is nothing.

    after nov 5th 2008 birfers ceased to be worth anyone’s attention beyond political junkies and circusgoers. game over, man. whatever power birfers may have had to decide the election — if any — had been adequately neutralized.

    there’s no reason to believe birfers will have any greater impact on obama’s agenda or the coming campaign in 2012, so there’s no reward in acknowledging them, especially when not doing so “hurts his opposition by dividing it and making it look stupid.” it’s win-win for obama. politicians ignoring powerless constituencies, especially when it’s already good advice, is nothing new under the sun.

  24. avatar
    Scientist March 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    It’s also not exactly true that the state doesn’t issue long forms. That’s what they tell you officially, because they don’t want to have to print them.

    Sorry, I call b.s.

    But it is possible to get one. I know someone who was born in Hawaii who managed to get one. It was a hastle to get it, and took a lot of phone calls, but it could be done.

    May I ask why this person wanted one, since the current COLB is valid for any purpose one could want a birth certificate for? Something doesn’t add up in this story.

    Anyway, what is on this famous form? The name of a long dead doctor? Who cares. The birthers would call it a forgery anyway. The fact is if you don’t believe the COLB + the statements of the Hawaiian officials, why would you believe a form produced by those very same folks? Obama is all-powerful according to the birtheres (despite the fact that he can’t get most of his legislative priorities through Congress) so he could forge a long form just as easuly as a short form.

    As for your contention that most birthers don’t buy the “two citizen parent” theory, what data do you have to support that? Of the lawsuits filed only Berg did not raise that “issue”.

  25. avatar
    SFJeff March 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    “but I do think Obama is doing as little as possible to stop it.”

    Absolutely. And he shouldn’t.

    “I realize this would be unnecessary to prove he was born in Hawaii (as that has already been proven by other means), but it would at the very least put to rest the suspicions of many that he’s “hiding something.””

    That is your gut feeling. My gut feeling is that for most birthers, they will not accept any proof.

    Remember how this started? A few people started demanding President Obama prove he was born in Hawaii- something no presidential candidate has been asked to do before. He got a certified copy of the BC, made it availible at his campaign HQ for inspection- it was inspected and verified by Factcheck- and posted a copy online- and Birthers demands increased! They said the BC was a fraud, they said Factcheck was in his pocket, they pulled Grannie out of Africa and accepted any other BC that wasn’t drawn with crayons.

    My personal opinion now is that President Obama feels he provided sufficient proof and he is offended by the suggestions that he lied, that he committed forgery and that he is being asked to provide evidence that no white man has ever been asked to provide before. If President Obama even notices the Birthers, I bet he considers them to be a bunch of racist malcontents who will never accept any evidence, so he isn’t going to waste another dime or minute on them. And he shouldn’t.

    “I think he realizes it, and that’s why he refrains from doing it, as the birther movement hurts his opposition by dividing it and making it look stupid.”

    Thats just a side benefit.

  26. avatar
    Scientist March 16, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    100% of the birthers believe that Obama is a Kenyan-born Marxist, Muslim, fascist black opressor. They would never vote for him under any any circumstances. Now, suppose he could convince 50% of them that he was a Hawaiian-born Marxist, Muslim, fascist black opressor. What would that change?

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 16, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Adam: I know someone who was born in Hawaii who managed to get [a long form birth certificate].

    Since there is controversy as to whether this is indeed possible, I would love the chance to publish a copy of your friend’s birth certificate here (with the name blanked out of course).

  28. avatar
    nbc March 16, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    I’m sure it would be a lot easier for the president to get one if he really wanted ont.

    Are you suggesting that the President should bypass the rules and procedures of the State of Hawaii? And for what purpose?

    The COLB shows him born on US soil

  29. avatar
    Saint James March 16, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    Adam, In 1991 I requested for a copy of my mom’s BC from Hawai’i, I received exactly the same format as what Obama has.

  30. avatar
    G March 17, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    Hmmm…I smell a concern troll.

  31. avatar
    misha March 17, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    “I’d say the vast majority of birther sympathizers are suspicious that he’s hiding something.”

    OK, what is he hiding? I’d love to hear it.

  32. avatar
    Bob Ross March 17, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    I smell one as well G. It’s one of those I believe he was born here but… situations. Elicit the concerns of crazy people to make it look like you’re detached from it and then make excuses.

    Adam you do know that the long form on the original printout would be easier to forge than say the current printouts that have security features built into the paper.

    Releasing the long form wouldn’t satisfy anyone in the birther movement because it stopped being about the birth certificate since day 1. That’s why you have these long lists now of supposed documents Obama isn’t releasing which have been asked of no other president before him. That’s why you have people now distorting what NBC means. That’s why you have people trying to claim Wong Kim Ark was a flawed case, or that Justice Grey didn’t say what he said. That’s why you have people twisting and turning to try to find ways to invalidate Obama’s presidency. It stopped being about the birth certificate from the beginning. In actuality it was never about the birth certificate.

  33. avatar
    Bob Ross March 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    People you know? Have you been “palling around” with Birthers Adam? The birthers I’ve come across use the birth certificate as a launching pad. When that argument gets shot to shit they go off on the two-parent claim.

    Have you ever read the children’s book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?” Adam?

  34. avatar
    The Texan March 17, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    I’m not sure the Birther phenomenon fits cleanly into the liberal/conservative dichotomy. In part because such a dichotomy is false and because it relies too much on essentialism. I think most of the conspiracies surrounding Obama are manifestations of what historian Richard Hofstadter referred to as the paranoid style. While both parties have their own practitioners of it, the contemporary rightwing fringe is more adept and vocal in it.
    In sum, if we’re analyzing the roots of Birther movement and other related conspiracies, I would contend that Hofstadter was right on the money:

    “Perhaps the central situation conducive to the diffusion of the paranoid tendency is a confrontation of opposed interests which are (or are felt to be) totally irreconcilable, and thus by nature not susceptible to the normal political processes of bargain and compromise. The situation becomes worse when the representatives of a particular social interest—perhaps because of the very unrealistic and unrealizable nature of its demands—are shut out of the political process. Having no access to political bargaining or the making of decisions, they find their original conception that the world of power is sinister and malicious fully confirmed. They see only the consequences of power—and this through distorting lenses—and have no chance to observe its actual machinery. A distinguished historian has said that one of the most valuable things about history is that it teaches us how things do not happen. It is precisely this kind of awareness that the paranoid fails to develop. He has a special resistance of his own, of course, to developing such awareness, but circumstances often deprive him of exposure to events that might enlighten him—and in any case he resists enlightenment. We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.”

  35. avatar
    G March 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Well said Texan!

    Although I would like to add that I think its fairly apparent that the trends in right-wing conservatism have more and more been towards intentionally cultivating and encouraging this type of “paranoid style” thinking.

    Therefore, I think it has of late become a significantly more pronounced cancer within conservative and libertarian arenas of the political spectrum and seems to have become a powerful driving force within the grassroots of both the GOP and the Tea Party movement.

  36. avatar
    The Texan March 17, 2010 at 3:32 pm #


    Thanks and I agree with your comment. I do believe more people within conservative and libertarian movements are currently more prone to use the paranoid style. Some months ago I read a post by another blogger who argued that Birtherism, etc was basically a derivation of the same sentiments and emotions that the GOP has stoked officially through the Southern strategy and other policies over the last few decades. I think there’s something to that assertion. It’s not really possible to flirt with nativism, racism, etc and not suffer some blowback at some point.

    I think too that the changing demography of America is a factor of it. In some ways Obama probably represents the beginning of the larger changes to come and that produces various anxieties and desires to “reclaim,” “preserve,” “take back,” the America they envision.

    My point in posting was two-fold. One, as a student of history there’s a desire to put things within their historical context and avoid more problematic paradigms like the traditional liberal/conservative one. Two, I think a lot of Hofstadter’s writings have some relevance to this contemporary phenomena. Most historians don’t have a long shelf life, but both The Paranoid Style and one of his other books titled Anti-intellectualism In American Life are still quite salient historical and cultural works. As a pet project I’ve been reading up on the use of conspiracy theories and sort of how they contribute to political dysfunction and both of those books sort of ground my forays into the madness of conspiracy.

  37. avatar
    Adam March 17, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    I don’t think he’s hiding anything. But the fact that the long form doesn’t get released does make some people suspicious.

    Nothing encourages conspiracy theories more than secrecy. The fact that they can’t see the long form allows the imaginations of curious people to run wild.

  38. avatar
    Adam March 17, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    “birfers have a daily demonstrated ability to flatulently supply their own wind, but 90% of nothing is nothing.”

    Some reasonable polls I’ve seen show that a substantial number of people, on the order of 20-30% of the population, doubt Obama’s eligibility.

    I know there’s no foundation to those doubts, but it’s just not healthy to have such a large portion of the population harbor such doubts.

    I would say 90% of those people don’t really have a strong opinion. They’re just suspicious, and those suspicions would likely go away if he in fact released a long form.

  39. avatar
    Adam March 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    That’s funny that you all should call me a troll, because birthers on other forums have called me the same thing.

    In case you’re wondering, I am 100% certain Obama is eligible to be president. I harbor no doubts. I’ve spent many hours arguing with birthers, demolishing their arguments, and proving them wrong.

    My only concern is that to come to that conclusion with that level of certainty, I had to do a little digging into issues related to birth announcements, Hawaii state law, etc.

    A ordinary citizen shouldn’t have to do that. There should be formal mechanisms in place so that the eligibility is obvious to everyone, without any extra work required to convince oneself of that.

    And I’m not concerned about the beliefs or suspicions of the hardened birthers. I realize they won’t be satisfied with anything.

    My concern is about the fact that reasonable people who don’t have the time or energy to do the digging I did who are suspicious because of the lack of a long form.

    That’s it.

  40. avatar
    Adam March 17, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    I will talk to him and see if he’s willing to provide you with a redacted photo of the document.

  41. avatar
    Adam March 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    “Adam, In 1991 I requested for a copy of my mom’s BC from Hawai’i, I received exactly the same format as what Obama has.”

    My understanding is that in order to get the long form, you have to specifically ask for it, and that it involves more paperwork and phone calls than the short form. The person I know who got one said it was quite time consuming and a bit of a hasstle, but he got it done.

  42. avatar
    JoZeppy March 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    And those people will be suspicious no matter what. They have a birth certificate, and confirmation from the state of Hawaii, which has a Republican governor. The long form makes no difference. Name one other president that has release his birth certificate. Where they ever doubted? Obama has been more open than any other president in US history on this matter.

    President Obama has better things to do than try to satisfy the terminally stupid who will never be satisfied.

  43. avatar
    Scientist March 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Just out of curiosity, why exactly would your “friend” go through all that trouble to get a “long form” when the ordinary form is valid for all legal purposes? It doesn’t make sense to me.

  44. avatar
    Expelliarmus March 17, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    But that’s only because they buy into the false assertion that there IS a “long form” — as opposed to the OFFICIAL form that Obama posted on his campaign web site and shared with Factcheck back in the summer of 2008.

    I’m sure if Obama had retained a copy of whatever he found in his mother’s attic and posted that, there would have been similar allegations. Perhaps it lacked a proper certification stamp, or whatever stamp it has was not legible; in any case, internet trolls falsely claiming to be experts in document examination would certainly have noted whatever artifacts appeared on the digital image as being some sort of evidence of fraud or forgery — and Obama would have been back to square one.

    Obama POSTED a copy of the OFFICIAL documentation from Hawaii; he provided it an appropriate organization for outside scrutiny and allowed them to photograph it; AND the Dept. of Health in Hawaii has TWICE issued statements confirming that Obama was, indeed, born in Hawaii.

    All an ordinary citizen has to do is Google the phrase “Obama birth certificate” and they will find relevant confirmation in the top results — if they choose to do an image search, they will immediately find the digital image.

    In contrast, you would not have the same luck running a web search for “Clinton Birth Certificate” or “Bush Birth Certificate”. Since Bill Clinton changed his name from “Blythe”, its a pretty good bet that no birth certificate for “William Jefferson Clinton” exists in any case.

    So your argument rings hollow. It is far easier to confirm the facts of Obama’s birth than just about any other President or candidate I can think of.

  45. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    Adam: A ordinary citizen shouldn’t have to do that [research]. There should be formal mechanisms in place so that the eligibility is obvious to everyone, without any extra work required to convince oneself of that.

    I agree with you that it is unreasonable for every conscientious voter to have to go digging to find out whether candidates for office are eligible.

    Generally it is the state secretaries of state who have the responsibility for who appears on the ballot. There have been occasions where ineligible candidates have applied to be on the ballot and some states rejected them. In most cases secretaries of state rely on the established political parties to certify candidates’ eligibility. There are copies of sworn statements from Nancy Pelosi, Chair of the DNC to secretaries of state stating that Obama is eligible. I don’t personally know what every states’ criteria are for verifying candidates, and there is no one who has said with any authority that no state asked Obama for further documentation. It was reported in the press that Obama ordered copies (plural) his birth certificate in anticipation of needing them in his run for the presidency. (It was a year later when controversy prompted the campaign to post the 2007 copy on their web site.) There are two additional safeguards: the electoral college and the Congress–either of which could step in and question eligibility. Further I have the expectation that if there is really any chance whatever that something is awry, the news media and/or and the opposition political parties would be “all over it.” Certainly news organizations such as Fox News, CNN and the New York Times were aware of the questions raised about Obama’s eligibility and reported that they were baseless.

    So I think that if a presidential candidate were ineligible, it would be common knowledge either caught by one or more secretary of state, the political party leadership, the press or an opposition candidate. I really don’t think any voter has a legitimate concern about Obama’s eligibility, whether they researched deeply like you and me, or whether they just watched TV.

  46. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    Adam: They’re just suspicious, and those suspicions would likely go away if he in fact released a long form.

    Here I must disagree with you completely. Conspiracy theories do not respond to evidence, except to get bigger in imagined scope. If they don’t believe the State of Hawaii when they say Obama was born in Hawaii, why would they believe a document produced by that same state health department? Who in the world would have a simpler task to forge the perfect certificate? Just put some deceased doctor’s signature (of which they have many examples in their files) on the document, photocopy it onto security paper, stamp and seal it. Voila, all done.

    One third of Americans believe in ghosts and UFOs and a quarter of them believe in witches, reincarnation and astrology according to a 2004 poll. The long form is nothing against such a sea of irrationality.

  47. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 17, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Texan, I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with us.

  48. avatar
    aarrgghh March 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    adam, unable to hide his tumescence for that dead horse:

    “Some reasonable polls I’ve seen show that a substantial number of people, on the order of 20-30% of the population, doubt Obama’s eligibility.

    … They’re just suspicious, and those suspicions would likely go away if he in fact released a long form.”

    27% believe that 9-11 was an inside job.

    25% expressed some doubt that humans set foot on the moon.

    34% believe in ufos and ghosts.

    what do you recommend obama do to make these suspicions go away?

  49. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 17, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    The Texan: I’m not sure the Birther phenomenon fits cleanly into the liberal/conservative dichotomy.

    Phil Berg and the PUMAs bear out that idea; however, statistically Republicans are more likely to doubt Obama’s American birth than Democrats by a wide margin.

  50. avatar
    G March 17, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    Again, excellent comment and insights Texan! I agree with everything you’ve said.

    Like Dr. C said, I really hope you do come back here and post often and continue to share more!

    If I may, I’d like to build upon everything you’ve said:

    I think we can add that history has had a number of such movements in the past – The Know Nothings, The Birchers, the whole McCarthyism thing, the 9/11 Truthers, Holocaust deniers, Moon Landing Deniers, the whole NWO/Illuminati/Bilderberg/OWG/Mason fearing crowd, the G7/G8/G20 protesters…and let’s not leave out the KKK. All share a lot of that “paranoid style” thinking.

    So, as you aptly put, it is not a new phenomenon at all and just the latest flavor in a long line of it. However, as a fellow “student of history” and one who has always kept an eye on various conspiracy theory as a hobby, it really feels like the crazy that is going on today is ratcheted-up publicly to a whole new level, that I’ve never seen before.

    I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact that the internet & cell-phone technology allow for instant communication anywhere in the world, while at the same time proving a mechanism for people to segment themselves into only having to selectively see/hear what they want to see/hear and only speak with others that reinforce their own echo chamber of fears. When you think about it, the internet is a perfect breeding pit for the paranoia “disease” and for rapid spread of its infection.

    Also, our media and culture seems to have both become fixated on sensationalism and spin over straight reporting as well as less well-mannered and couth than in the past too. I think this greatly adds to the problem and the spread of the conspiracy crazy we see today.

  51. avatar
    G March 17, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    I agree Dr. C. I think just about all birther-“Democrats” have turned out to just be PUMAs.

    Yes, the PUMAs were originally all about HRC and supposedly Democrats, but with the direction they took afterwards – turning to worshiping Palin and primarily only watching Fox News and such – I really don’t know if they can be considered Democrats anymore at all.

  52. avatar
    Greg March 17, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    Obama was born to an agnostic mother of a Kenyan father who was Muslim. He moved to Indonesia where he lived for a few years. He moved back and lived with his grandparents.

    It is not surprising that the rumors that he was a secret Muslim started in 2004, long before there was any issue of birth certificates, long or short.

    Contrast that with Bill Clinton’s background. His background was relatively straightforward. Despite this pedestrian background, conspiracists created the “Clinton Body Count.” Practically everyone who died in the eight years he was in office whose death could in any way be called suspicious was added to the list.

    His wife was accused of murdering Vince Foster.

    Conspiracists are immune to facts. Facts are simply reimagined to fit into the conspiracy. MIT came out with a comprehensive report that shows 9/11 was the work of, surprise, guys with box-cutters? They’re in on the conspiracy!

    This conspiracy, for example, started in 2004 with, “Obama is a secret Muslim.” Release your birth certificate so that we can prove that your middle name isn’t Mohammed. Then it morphed into “the short form isn’t enough.” Then, “it doesn’t matter what form there is, Vattel makes him ineligible.”

    The conspiracy theory, then, isn’t about Obama’s citizenship. If it were, it wouldn’t have started with “secret Muslim.” If it were, it wouldn’t be concerned with Obama’s college transcripts (his grades cannot affect his eligibility) or his college thesis.

    These conspiracists, like all the ones before them, will seek out the “secrecy” (and since no one’s life can be 100% known or documented, there will always be “secrets”).

    The ever shrinking role of God in creation is often referred to as the “God of the gaps.” He co-exists, in many people’s minds, along with evolution, having set it into motion.

    Conspiracies are like that. They are “of the gaps.”

    What’s the solution then? Not new facts. All the facts that a reasonable person needs to conclude that Obama is a citizen and eligible for the Presidency is readily available. (For example, it is unreasonable to believe that the COLB was forged!)

    There are lots of scholarly papers written on defusing conspiracy theories. As far as I can tell, however, they’re all theoretical because conspiracy theories are so resilient. (Nobody landed on the moon? Really? In 2010 we’re still arguing about this?) The best we can hope for is to short-circuit the mis-application of the facts we have and hope to keep the infection of conspiracism from spreading. One way we do that is to point out how the birthers’ entire house is built on a foundation of marshmallows and wishes and lollipops. Obama traveled to Pakistan in 1981? That’s not suspicious, there was no travel ban and our Consul General invited Americans to come to Pakistan in the New York Times. The COLB is only a photocopy? It’s the only thing that is reasonable to produce to the entire nation. To disbelieve it, you have to engage in a long, long, chain of conspiracy-making that sounds more and more outlandish the more it is make explicit. So, Obama forged his COLB? And a campaign worker scanned it and put it up on the internet? And Alvin Onaka, whose signature is on the COLB, he’s in on the scam? And the Republican Governor of Hawaii? And the Republican-appointed head of the DOH? And the direct of Vital Statistics? And none of them squealed in the first place because? And none of them squealed now that Obama’s popularity has dropped? And not a single office-drone at the DOH took a peak at the incriminating Long Form? And his grandmother was murdered to cover all this up? Even though according to the birther Pied-Piper Orly Taitz he wouldn’t have been eligible even if the long form confirms to a metaphysical certainty that he was born in Hawaii.

  53. avatar
    misha March 18, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    “34% believe in ufos and ghosts”

    There are ghosts in my building. Well, how else would you explain the noises?

    Oh sure, you’ll say it’s mice, or that the building is over 100 years old and creaks. You can’t fool me. Obama’s spies are doing it.

  54. avatar
    Bob Ross March 18, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    Yeah I thought I saw the ghost of John Jameson last night

  55. avatar
    misha March 18, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    “Yeah I thought I saw the ghost of John Jameson last night”

    So THAT’S what it was.

  56. avatar
    Bob Ross March 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Sorry Adam this is in reply to your last post and not in reply to myself. No we called you a concern troll not simply a troll. Concern trolls make arguments with the appearance of supporting one side while actually supporting another. You think this is in benefit to Obama as opposed to just repeating birther claims while trying to separate yourself from them.

    I didn’t have to dig deeper because I have common sense. I do research on laws as a hobby. If you start at that argument that you just made that we shouldn’t have to dig as citizens to show Obama is eligible. Well you could say that same thing about McCain, but I see you didn’t.

    Take for instance McCain being born on foreign soil. That at the time there was no law making McCain a natural born citizen because of his parents being nbc. That US Military bases are not considered US Soil according the state department. All these arguments could be made but the birthers at least most of them aren’t making them.

    Also when asked what exactly would be the remedy if their suspicions were ever proven. Who then would be president? When one claims Biden would be they try to claim no because that would null the election and somehow throw it over to McCain. Using their same twisted logic McCain would also be ineligible.

    The eligibility is obvious and mechanisms are in place including the Election, certification of the elections, background checks that are in plce for elected officials, etc.

    Once again Adam why does the long form even matter? The state of Hawaii says the printout that they gave is valid. Its valid for passports, drivers licenses, ids etc.

    The original long form if anything would be more easy to forge. So even if he brought out the long form, which he can’t because of the existing laws, birthers would still claim it wasn’t real and he wasn’t eligible.