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Any day now

"The End is Near" sign held by Homer Simpson cartoonDoc, I know it scares you libs, but this is what it will [come] to very soon if your [messiah] does not release the information.

There will be rioting in the streets. There will be a forceful overtaking of the government. The will of the people will not be denied.

– March 4, 2009
Comment at Obama Conspiracy Theories

An article could be written, taking quite a few hours effort, to catalog the birther meme of “any day now,” the imminent victory of the birthers just around the corner. This isn’t that article. I just want to ruminate a little on the subject. The commenter Heavy who is quoted above was a frequent visitor to this site in the early days and he always said that the doom of the Obots was nigh. Soon other commenters began replying with the phrase “any day now.” Four years later, not much has changed. Heavy never would get specific about what “very soon” meant, but I can hardly imagine that it encompassed the second term of President Obama.

Jerome Corsi picked up the theme, saying that the Obots wouldn’t be around much longer. He said on his Facebook wall back in 2011:

The Obots are on the run.

Nowadays, we have other commenters, such as Hermitian, who carry on the sense of urgency, such as this from today:

Will the rats begin to flee in two weeks?

– May 20, 2013
Comment at Obama Conspiracy Theories

Lots of things fueled birther expectations (it doesn’t take much). I don’t keep track of these carefully—I think of them as water under the bridge. (Some folks have longer memories for such things.) A few that do pop into my mind are:

  • The Xxx v. Yyy lawsuit (207 included by reference)
  • Quo warranto, qui tam, et al.
  • Citizen grand juries (americangrandjury.org is offline today)
  • Birther bills
  • Larry Klayman
  • Terry Lakin’s defiance
  • Ed Hale’s documents of the Obama divorce and others
  • Donald Trumps investigators in Hawaii
  • Jerome Corsi’s mole in the Hawaii Department of Health
  • Various fake Kenyan birth certificates
  • Joe Arpaio’s “investigation” and promises of evidence
  • Zullo’s affidavit before the Alabama Supreme Court

I can’t look at this topic without remembering the few thousand predictions of the second coming of Jesus, most of which have passed by uneventfully. That has its own article, “The Long Form and the Great Disappointment.” The ability to slough off repeated disappointment, barely noticing it, is cognitive dissonance.

The birthers think that they are about to win and the the Obots are in fear and panic. The fact that they do not win, and the Obots do, does not affect their behavior. The Obots on the other hand quickly learned that birthers are perennial , and we don’t expect them to change or to go away, but rather we expect them to persist in vain hopes, with perhaps some decrease in activity once Obama leaves office, or some new conspiracy occupies their attention. Obama’s re-election does remove any sense of urgency that ever existed to oppose the birthers. There was always a faint hope that in a close election (it wasn’t) the birthers might just tip the scales. In my mind the game is over and now I mostly look back and think about the highlights. In practical terms, there’s no incentive to spend hours on one debunking of some birther nonsense, and I’m pretty much out of that business. The birthers don’t know that the game is over, and are busily moving the goalposts.

I must admit, though, that it is rather irritating to win and for the other side not to acknowledge it.

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19 Responses to Any day now

  1. avatar
    CarlOrcas May 21, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    Doc,

    I think you overestimate the power of death.

    I was in Dallas for the tenth anniversary of JFK’s assassination and after we did a bunch of stories on it I figured that would be the end of it.

    Time to start grooming the grand kids to take over for you!

  2. avatar
    justlw May 21, 2013 at 2:32 am #

    The birthers think that they are about to win and the the Obots are in fear and panic. The fact that they do not win, and the Obots do, does not affect their behavior.

    Yes, but you don’t go!

    (You could substitute “we win! we win!” for “we go, we go!” in the above clip.)

  3. avatar
    aarrgghh May 21, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    “it is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.” (william g. mcadoo)

  4. avatar
    G May 21, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    How such an extreme, repeated condition is not considered delusional on the clinical insanity level, baffles me…

    The ability to slough off repeated disappointment, barely noticing it, is cognitive dissonance.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    See my article:

    Is OCT a Delusion?

    G: How such an extreme, repeated condition is not considered delusional on the clinical insanity level, baffles me…

  6. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG May 21, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    I love using “Any. Day. Now.” as a taunt.
    ORYR got so sick of me spamming every single “This is thing that’ll bring Obama down!” articles with it, that they IP banned me.

  7. avatar
    Scientist May 21, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    “I must admit, though, that it is rather irritating to win and for the other side not to acknowledge it.”

    Doc, you are a Southerner, I believe. Are there not some in your region who still maintain that the Union won through some kind of trick and that the Confederacy will return in some guise or another?

  8. avatar
    Bob May 21, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    Birtherism has never been anything more than the threat of “you’re gonna be sorry for electing Obama.”

  9. avatar
    G May 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Thanks for the refresher on that. I still don’t think that article quite addresses the extent of delusion that is on display here in 2013, as opposed to the early denialist opposition present in the early days of their movement, back in 2009, when you wrote that article.

    From your article, I completely grasp and understand your point here, being:

    So are the birthers delusional? Perhaps some are, but not in general. The reason is that there is a birther subculture that they live in, consisting of web sites that provide alternative views of reality, that supply skilled propaganda, that tie OCD to patriotism, that create a sense of urgency, and most important provide a sense of community.

    So yes, they have a reinforcement brainwashing mechansim to keep them hooked and entrenched. I still see that ability to be “dug in” to their cult positions as slightly different from the mind boggling extend of DELUSIONAL cognitive dissonance that is required to sustain a multi-year groundhog day pattern of “any.day.now” behavior.

    Even all the rapture type cult crazies of the past had their delusional EPIC FAIL events fairly spread apart as few and far between…so that they could have enough time to shake off a loss and chalk it up to some excuse of miscalculated timing….and talk themselves into giving the next one a “chance”.

    …But the “any.day.now” FAIL events of Birtherism are non-stop and endless. This isn’t just a few court losses. There’s an endless, 3-digit string smacking them in the face.

    So there really is a point of not just smacking oneself head first into a brick wall, but doing it repeatedly, at such a bruising rate and rapid succession, that it goes beyond any non-insane definition of someone being unable to perceive that there actually is a painful brick wall in front of them at all…or maintain the ability to “forget” that they’ve painfully encountered it many, many times immediately prior.

    I guess what I’m getting at is that 2013 Birtherism legitimate “optimism” is requires a level of cognitive dissonance so far beyond what can be considered healthy or sane that it really, really SHOULD merit being proof of a type of real, actual brain damage having occurred.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    See my article:

    Is OCT a Delusion?

  10. avatar
    Thomas Brown May 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Bob:
    Birtherism has never been anything more than the threat of “you’re gonna be sorry for electing Obama.”

    Step 1: Seize on any objection to the way Obama is executing the office, then magnify it and claim it’s going to destroy America. Real soon.

    Step 2: If you can’t find anything to use in Step 1, invent something.

    Step 3: Stifle Obama’s efforts, and when that has bad results blame him for it.

    Rinse. Repeat.

  11. avatar
    sfjeff May 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I have been watching over in PF how Birthers work.

    Scott E of course is the one man Birther Band- starting thread after thread full of wierd inane comments that mostly everyone ignores.

    But every few weeks someone starts a mainstream Birther thread and all the Obama haters who just are no longer pursuing Birtherism visit again with the same old tired and refuted Birther claims.

    These people are never going to completely go away- even after Obama is gone, they may not be actively Birthers– but given an excuse they will revert to full Birther mode.

    And by the way- that is the new term- ‘going full Birther’ ala Tropical Thunder

  12. avatar
    G May 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    In other words, a multi-year pouting tantrum still taking place…

    Yes, that part I get. But they extent of some delusion of pee-in-the pants “any.day.now” excitement that some of them still get is so laughable…but at the same time, so pathetically deranged and sad that I’m starting to feel guilty for laughing. It seems absurd, because it is. But it also seems so pathetically tragic for them, as I can’t grasp how it can reflect anything other than true brain damage having taken hold.

    It is such an extreme form of reflecting that they are actually in constant, agonizing bitter misery that they need such a cloak of “opposite day” imagination delusion to blanket their deep fears and insecurities and keep them somewhat “functioning” at all…

    Bob:
    Birtherism has never been anything more than the threat of “you’re gonna be sorry for electing Obama.”

  13. avatar
    Kiwiwriter May 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    These guys do what they do because an essential portion of paranoia is the “life script,” in which things MUST happen to maintain the paranoia and the theory. And if they don’t happen, then the paranoid behaves in a way guaranteed to make the negative thing happen, to ensure the script plays out.

    An example would be David Irving at his libel trial. He complained that defense affidavits had been made public before it was given in the trial, and complained about this having a negative impact on the judge.

    The defense pointed out that the materials in question had indeed been made public…on Mr. Irving’s own website.

    Faced with this fact, Irving admitted he had done so, but had put a “password” and “Severe Health Warning” on the relevant web page, saying that the contents of the documents were “libelous.”

    The defense said that Irving, therefore, had no complaint…if anyone read them, he had nobody to blame but himself.

    Irving then complained that the materials may have a bad impact on the judge.

    The judge said he didn’t read Irving’s website.

    Irving then complained that the material would have a bad impact on the media.

    The judge pointed out that the media was not trying the case…he was.

    Irving had nowhere to go…but his script had been achieved…it was no longer his fault that people were reading the defense material in advance and judging him negatively, it was the media’s fault.

    Paranoids are always blameless in their own minds. But it’s important to remember that they often deliberately set themselves up to fail, to maintain their life script.

    Think about what would happen to a paranoid person is his enemies gathered around him and said, “Yep, you’re absolutely right. For the past 35 years, we’ve been plotting against you. Here are the documents all the way back to junior high school, along with the organization charts for the Bilderbergers. We’ve all seen the light, and along with that mass of 300,000 people out there, we’re ready to march behind you to take over the White House and put you in your deserved place.”

    I think the paranoid person, rather than accept that he had just won, would flip out, and accuse his new would-be allies of being government plants, seeking to further wreck his life.

  14. avatar
    Cletus May 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    This is the core of my fascination with the birthers. They lose repeatedly, but it doesn’t change their beliefs or behavior at all..

    Though I believe this kind of cognitive dissonance exists on both sides of the political spectrum, conservatives seem more vulnerable to it. And it fuels their extreme positions.

    There was a scientific study done a couple of years ago on it, which appeared in Discover magazine.. People that tend to have conservative views see things in black and white.. Right and wrong.. Their ideology is structured along those lines.

    Liberals have the same type of rigid beliefs, but seem to have more willingness or ability to modify those beliefs based on the introduction of new facts.

    Conservatives, as a group, seem to take facts and modify them to fit their preexisting beliefs.

    I see that as a really dangerous way of making decisions that affect us all.

  15. avatar
    aarrgghh May 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    “I have to agree that we live in a time when people prefer lies to truth. People need to get ready. People are happy to believe a lie and have a president with no official documentation of a father, mother, descent, or a beginning of days… If he tries some 3rd term crap then I would start thinking antichrist.” (wingtip)

  16. avatar
    misha marinsky May 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Scientist: Doc, you are a Southerner, I believe. Are there not some in your region who still maintain that the Union won through some kind of trick and that the Confederacy will return in some guise or another?

    The current NRA president, for one.

  17. avatar
    Majority Will May 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Scientist:
    “I must admit, though, that it is rather irritating to win and for the other side not to acknowledge it.”

    Doc, you are a Southerner, I believe. Are there not some in your region who still maintain that the Union won through some kind of trick and that the Confederacy will return in some guise or another?

    Quite a few in my high school graduating class.

  18. avatar
    GLaB May 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I must admit, though, that it is rather irritating to win and for the other side not to acknowledge it.

    Obot Arthur: [after Arthur's cut off both of the Birther Knight's theories - Kenya and Vattel] Look, you stupid Birther. You’ve got no arms left.

    Birther Knight: Yes I have.

    Obot Arthur: *Look*!

    Birther Knight: It’s just a flesh wound.

  19. avatar
    G May 22, 2013 at 4:20 am #

    LMAO! Good points…

    Kiwiwriter: Paranoids are always blameless in their own minds. But it’s important to remember that they often deliberately set themselves up to fail, to maintain their life script.

    Think about what would happen to a paranoid person is his enemies gathered around him and said, “Yep, you’re absolutely right. For the past 35 years, we’ve been plotting against you. Here are the documents all the way back to junior high school, along with the organization charts for the Bilderbergers. We’ve all seen the light, and along with that mass of 300,000 people out there, we’re ready to march behind you to take over the White House and put you in your deserved place.”

    I think the paranoid person, rather than accept that he had just won, would flip out, and accuse his new would-be allies of being government plants, seeking to further wreck his life.