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Donald Trump: Walking the birther tightrope

The way I would prefer to view the world has birthers as a basically insignificant group. I justify that view by their total failure to defeat President Obama at the polls, failure to win any of their eligibility lawsuits, failure to gather much of a crowd and failure to get anyone in Congress to investigate their allegations. I like to think that birthers don’t matter, they are just a niche web phenomenon and there is no “there” there.

Standing in the way of that comforting view stands Donald Trump and polls that say that there are lots of  birthers in the country. It also pains me to hear anyone respectable use the word “birther.” I’m not a news junkie, but when I do listen to news, it is most often to National Public Radio, and this week they uttered the “B” word. It came following a Trump town hall meeting last Thursday. This is an excerpt from the NPR report:

When an audience member at a Donald Trump event asserted that President Obama is a Muslim not born in the United States, Trump did not challenge it. And now a backlash after that exchange has put Trump on the defensive. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports this was just one part of a tough week for the presidential candidate.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: At his town hall in New Hampshire last night, Trump made an opening statement then went right to the audience for Q and A.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRES CAND DONALD TRUMP: All right, let’s start with this group right over here. Come on. OK, this man. I like this guy.

GONYEA: The sound system breaks up a little bit, but the man stood up and said, quote, “we have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.”

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one.

TRUMP: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You know he’s not even an American.

TRUMP: We need this question – this is the first question (laughter).

GONYEA: Trump and audience members laughed. The man went on.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question. When can we get rid of them?

TRUMP: We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. And, you know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.

GONYEA: Now, recall that during the 2008 presidential campaign GOP nominee John McCain confronted and corrected a woman who made a similar statement about Obama.

Transcript Copyright 2015 by National Public Radio

Following that story came the “Week in Politics” segment with Robert Siegel, E. J. Dionne and David Brooks. Republican Brooks said of Trump:

He talks incessantly about how high his poll numbers are. And so it’s not at what am I standing for, it’s how well am I doing? And if you’re running an unprincipled campaign then you’re probably not going to take the principled stand of correcting one of your own supporters, and you’re going to run into troubles like this one.

Then Dionne uttered the fatal “B” word:

And this episode was a reminder that Trump really burst on the right-wing scene and began to develop this following he has precisely by being a birther, precisely by buying into statements like that. And he was clearly reluctant to turn his back on a very significant part of his constituency.

I’m not sure what to think about birther polling numbers, any more than Donald Trump numbers, but one thing is clear: birthers have an affinity for Donald Trump, supporting him far more than they do other candidates (see my article “More Republicans think Ted Cruz was born in the US than Barack Obama”). I am wondering if it is the birther vote that is sustaining Donald Trump, and why he refuses to put this issue behind him, even while saying he’s past this issue. On this and pretty much all other issues, Trump doesn’t have a substantive position. And of course for birthers other Republican candidates, and especially Ted Cruz, aren’t eligible anyway. I think his remark about Ted Cruz (see my article “The Donald says Ted Cruz eligible: Birthers wail”) being eligible just shows him shooting from the hip, oblivious to what his supporters actually think. If we are to believe the PPP, 61% of Trump’s supporters are birthers. To repudiate them would be to sink his campaign.

While I say that birthers have accomplished nothing, having what they think as one of their own as the front-runner for the Republican nomination for President is no small accomplishment for the movement. Who knows what Trump actually thinks?

Republican Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham says that a birther cannot be elected President, and there is the rub for Donald Trump. If Graham and I are right, Trump cannot get the nomination without the birthers, and he cannot get elected with them.

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72 Responses to Donald Trump: Walking the birther tightrope

  1. avatar
    charo September 19, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

    You are making an assumption that the 61 percent are one issue voters. There is a lot of anger over the so-called establishment, as has been mentioned. Hard core birthers might stay home, but all 61 percent will not. Obama walked the same line with gay marriage. Before the tide turned and when gay marriage was not accepted as mainstream thinking, he was in an awkward position as well. But then he “evolved” after his election. And how about Hillary on the Muslim issue back in 2008? Hillary: Obama Not Muslim “As Far As I Know.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/03/hillary-obama-not-muslim-_n_89546.html People do not view Trump as the average politician. I am sure he will be asked about his stance on birthers during a future debate. I wonder if Hillary will be asked about her emails? If Hillary gets the nomination, will the Sanders people stay home? Will Erik Erikson of Red State and others like him stay home if Trump is the nominee? There will be much nose holding in voting, I suspect, on both sides.

    No one really knows how this is going to pan out yet.

  2. avatar
    Dave September 20, 2015 at 12:05 am #

    What I find disturbing is that most stories about this incident focus on Trump pandering to birther views, and not on his pandering to someone who said, in regard to Muslims, “When can we get rid of them?”

  3. avatar
    charo September 20, 2015 at 12:14 am #

    When can we get rid of them?

    Get rid of the training camps or the Muslims? Trump seemed to respond to the idea of training camps. Those pesky pronouns…

  4. avatar
    john September 20, 2015 at 12:17 am #

    If Trump does get nomination, people are going to vote for him whether they want to or not having said they wouldn’t vote for him anyway. I mean the alternative would be to vote for Sanders or Hillary Clinton and to a GOP voter that would like committing suicide. What GOP voter would ever vote for Sanders or Hillary over Trump?

  5. avatar
    Steve September 20, 2015 at 12:40 am #

    charo:
    When can we get rid of them?

    Get rid of the training camps or the Muslims? Trump seemed to respond to the idea of training camps. Those pesky pronouns…

    There’s no evidence of training camps inside the US.

  6. avatar
    Lupin September 20, 2015 at 2:39 am #

    I certainly hope Trump either gets the Republican nomination or run as a third-party candidate. In either case I’m 100% convinced his candidacy is doomed in the general election. And even if he gets pushed out by the Elite GOP he’ll have destroyed their party for his election cycle at least.

    For years I’ve been saying the US is morphing into what we used to commonly call a ‘third-world nation” — in that respect no very different from Russia — and Trump is basically one more symptom of this — a third-world tribal demagogue.

  7. avatar
    bovril September 20, 2015 at 3:54 am #

    The root of the issue is that Trump actually has no real views, ethos, plans, policies, morals or fixed positions.

    He lies, blusters and obfuscates and will pander to any outlandish theory if it will get a cheer or adulation his ego craves.

    Squealing about the scary black mooslum in the White House will consistently get him the bat crazy voter.

    if you have a heated atmosphere full of folks pre disposed to hate and fear Obama anyway it won’t take much to trip them over the edge and support things that in a less frenetic atmosphere they would probably rarely support.

  8. avatar
    Lupin September 20, 2015 at 5:38 am #

    bovril:
    The root of the issue is that Trump actually has no real views, ethos, plans, policies, morals or fixed positions.

    He lies, blusters and obfuscates and will pander to any outlandish theory if it will get a cheer or adulation his ego craves.

    Squealing about the scary black mooslum in the White House will consistently get him the bat crazy voter.

    if you have a heated atmosphere full offolks pre disposed to hate and fear Obama anyway it won’t take much to trip them over the edge and support things that in a less frenetic atmosphere they would probably rarely support.

    The thing to remember is that Joe McCarthy actually thrived on this in the 50ies, with pretty much the same predictable results.

    (Although it is sad to realize that fact.)

    But Simple J. was blocked by saner, cooler heads from both sides, before he could inflict serious damage to the body republic. I’ll ignore the personal damage inflicted upon thousands of good Americans.

    An interesting dystopic fiction would be to imagine what might have happened if McCarthy had had the financial resources of Trump and had been less of a boozing bastard.

    In any event, I wonder to which extent the same simpler, cooler heads today — which still exist — can effectively block Trump in a frenzied, unfiltered, clown-driven, 24/7 newsmedia environment.

  9. avatar
    Notorial Dissent September 20, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    Trump is a huckster and a conman, first, last, and foremost, and that is all he has ever been, just moving from one con to the next saying whatever he thinks it will take to sell whatever batch of snake oil he is peddling at the moment, be it hotel, casino, development, or candidacy that will all eventually founder and die, ultimately screwing everyone involved but him. He really is the carny barker someone once had the sense to brand him as, and isn’t one bit more honest or sincere than that barker, other than that he wants your quarter.

  10. avatar
    alg September 20, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Dave:
    What I find disturbing is that most stories about this incident focus on Trump pandering to birther views, and not on his pandering to someone who said, in regard to Muslims, “When can we get rid of them?”

    I think that that the constant pandering to hateful remarks about Muslims on the part of Trump and other GOP candidates is the more serious issue. The birther piece of this is inconsequential. The real danger is that we have American political candidates for president implying that Muslims citizens in this country do not enjoy the same Constitutional rights as anyone else.

  11. avatar
    bovril September 20, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    In support of my earlier post about how Trump cares about nothing except the next sound bite and how he will NĒVER admit to being wrong…

    Up to now, in his race for the lowest common denominator one theme has been how nasty, icky and ‘other’ Moslems are.

    Lots of squeals from birfoons and nativists until Trump decided that the overall pushback was starting to cut in to his adulation time.

    Now, in an ‘interview’ with CNN he adds Moslems to his imaginary pack of people who love him and who he loves

    Urbandale, Iowa (CNN)—Donald Trump on Saturday responded to a question from CNN about whether Muslims pose a danger to the country, saying: “I love the Muslims. I think they’re great people.”

    http://us.cnn.com/2015/09/19/politics/donald-trump-muslims-controversy/index.html

  12. avatar
    Krosis September 20, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Everyone loves Trump, and Trump loves everybody. Truly, Trump is full of love, just like Jesus.

  13. avatar
    Rickey September 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    Lupin:
    I certainly hope Trump either gets the Republican nomination or run as a third-party candidate. In either case I’m 100% convinced his candidacy is doomed in the general election. And even if he gets pushed out by the Elite GOP he’ll have destroyed their party for his election cycle at least.

    Republican insiders say that they need to get 40% of the Hispanic vote to win the White House.

    Recent polling shows that Trump’s favorable rating among Hispanics is 14%.

  14. avatar
    RanTalbott September 20, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    charo: Trump seemed to respond to the idea of training camps. Those pesky pronouns…

    Perhaps he did, but that’s not how the question was presented: the questioner started with a premise that Muslims are “a problem”, then presented “symptoms” to support that premise.

    There’s enough ambiguity of antecedents to credibly argue that “them” could be misconstrued in real time as referring to training camps, but it’s clear in hindsight that it didn’t.

  15. avatar
    RanTalbott September 21, 2015 at 12:06 am #

    john: I mean the alternative would be to vote for Sanders or Hillary Clinton and to a GOP voter that would like committing suicide.

    Well, no, it wouldn’t (although I would encourage anyone who truly believed that to do so, as their best way of making a positive contribution to the gene pool…)

    Among the multiple alternatives available to them are:
    a. Staying home on election day,
    b. Voting third party,
    c. Voting for a write-in candidate, and
    d. Voting “none of the above” (if they live in Nevada).

    This could even be seen as an opportunity to use the current widespread dissatisfaction to get “none of the above” initiatives and referenda on primary ballots, so the option would be available for the general.

  16. avatar
    RanTalbott September 21, 2015 at 12:16 am #

    Lupin: And even if he gets pushed out by the Elite GOP he’ll have destroyed their party for his election cycle at least.

    Alas, no: the combination of the inertia of incumbency and the effectiveness of GOP gerrymandering means the only way they’ll lose the House next year is the populist wave getting strong enough to carry Sanders to a genuine landslide. Conventional wisdom among the punditry is that the composition of the electorate in the states where Senate seats are up for re-election makes it likely the Democrats will regain control, anyway.

    He might damage the eventual presidential candidate enough to make a significant difference, but I wouldn’t count on it: our ridiculously-long election cycle leaves lots of time for early screw-ups to fade from memory.

  17. avatar
    Keith September 21, 2015 at 1:19 am #

    RanTalbott: (although I would encourage anyone who truly believed that to do so, as their best way of making a positive contribution to the gene pool…)

    Except they probably don’t ‘believe’ in Evolution either, so, that eliminates the “improve the gene pool” motive.

  18. avatar
    Lupin September 21, 2015 at 7:55 am #

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-u3J0p-4dY2U/Vf8-uq_IgTI/AAAAAAAAbi8/riFrmJi2M-w/s1600/American%2BNazi%2Borganization%2Brally%2Bat%2BMadison%2BSquare%2BGarden%252C%2B1939%2B%25281%2529.jpg

    Re Trump and the Birthers.

    The photo linked above shows 22,000 American Nazis attending an American Bund rally at New York’s Madison Square Garden in February 1939. (Demonstrators protested outside.)

    An American Bund parade through New York’s Yorkville district on Manhattan’s Upper East Side drew both supporters and protesters and the press.

    Aside from its admiration for Adolf Hitler and the achievements of Nazi Germany, the American Bund program included antisemitism, strong anti-Communist sentiments, and the demand that the United States remain neutral in the approaching European conflict.

    Interestingly, after the war broke out, your government didn’t round all these guys up and put them in internment camps.

    I wonder why.

    Plus ‘ca change.

  19. avatar
    Rickey September 21, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    Other than being birthers, what do Donald Trump and Walt Fitzpatrick have in common?

    They both have lied about their academic standing in college.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/21/trump-won-t-prove-he-was-a-super-genius-at-wharton.html

  20. avatar
    donna September 21, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    The Ted Cruz Problem Is the Reason Trump Ducks — and Must Duck — the Obama Birther Question

    “Republican candidates should not only be asked about Cruz’s eligibility, but pressed for an answer. And, not only pressed for an answer on Cruz, but asked why none of them stepped forward during the birtherism campaigns. During those days, they were writing into state laws requirements for producing birth certificates, and an Israeli-born dentist claimed she had proof of Obama’s foreign birth.”

    [……]

    “After all, no one doubted who his U.S.-born mother was, and, if having at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, satisfies the “naturally born” criterion, then even the most idiotic of idiots — e.g., Steven King (R-IA) who surmised that Obama’s birth information was faxed to Hawaii (before faxes existed of course, but never mind) — would have had to concede that the entire charade of de-legitimizing Obama’s presidency had no foundation, no-way, no-how.”

    […..]

    Trump cannot answer the Obama place-of-birth question because he would either have to lie outright, or state that Ted Cruz is ineligible to run for president.

    Trump likes Cruz. He does not want to have to say that. But, he must, or admit that his entire Obama birth certificate campaign was a complete scam.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-abrams/the-ted-cruz-problem-is-t_b_8167272.html

  21. avatar
    bob September 21, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    During those days, they were writing into state laws requirements for producing birth certificates, and an Israeli-born dentist claimed she had proof of Obama’s foreign birth.

    Doc’s rule strikes again: Taitz was born in the Moldavian SSR.

  22. avatar
    gorefan September 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Link added to article:

    Trump and George Stephanopoulos got into about the where the President was born.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/week-transcript-donald-trump-sen-marco-rubio/story?id=33879400

  23. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 21, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

    I heard that Trump was on the phone with Meet the Press this past Sunday with birther questions too. Here’s the transcript:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/week-transcript-donald-trump-sen-marco-rubio/story?id=33879400

    When asked by Chuck Todd: “Well, why not take the birth certificate at its word?”
    Trump: Well, I just don’t want to discuss it. I mean, frankly, you know, when you get into these subjects, …

    gorefan: Trump and George Stephanopoulos got into about the where the President was born.

  24. avatar
    gorefan September 21, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Here’s the transcript:

    Wrong link?

    http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-transcript-september-20-2015-n430581

  25. avatar
    RanTalbott September 22, 2015 at 3:59 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I heard that Trump was on the phone with Meet the Press this past Sunday with birther questions too.

    There’s an even better line at the end of that response:

    The other’s a long, complex subject that I just don’t like talking about, and I won’t talk about it.

    But the truth is that he does like talking about it. At the CPAC conference this year, and on multiple other occasions, he’s bragged that he was the one who got Obama to release the LFBC when others couldn’t. And he likes to lie about Clinton and McCain trying and failing before him.

    So it’s clear that he’s trying to keep his birfer sins from overtaking him because he knows that they’d hurt him at some point in the campaign.

    If we combine that with the other recent appearances where he ducked the issue, can we start razzing the birfoons by reminding them that, before the cock crowed, he denied them three times? 😈

    One of his minions, Andy Dean, reprised his CPAC lie:

    It’s pretty impressive, if you look at Donald Trump’s pure negotiating skill, that nobody on planet Earth was able to produce this document until Donald turned this into an issue, and then Barack Obama produced the document

    Of course, Trump never negotiated a thing: he engaged in a campaign of innuendo and outright lies to goad the public into pressuring Obama. Just imagine what would happen if he tried to use that “pure negotiating skill” with China or Russia…

  26. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) September 22, 2015 at 7:57 am #

    RanTalbott: Just imagine what would happen if he tried to use that “pure negotiating skill” with China or Russia…

    Trump: “Russia is going to reveal all their nucular bunkers as soon as I claim they’re all in Kenya!”

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 22, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    Trump told Meet the Press that he had “heard” that Putin wanted to meet with him when he comes to New York.

    RanTalbott: Of course, Trump never negotiated a thing: he engaged in a campaign of innuendo and outright lies to goad the public into pressuring Obama. Just imagine what would happen if he tried to use that “pure negotiating skill” with China or Russia…

  28. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater September 22, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Trump told Meet the Press that he had “heard” that Putin wanted to meet with him when he comes to New York.

    If that actually happened I expect trump to start negotiating with him as if his presidency was a sure thing.

  29. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 22, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    Nate Silver: Odds of Trump being GOP nominee 5%

    http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/09/15/nate-silver-ac360-donald-trump-stats.cnn

    Trump is a “shiny object.”

  30. avatar
    Pete September 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    Trump’s dropped from 32% to 24%.

    Fiorina now 15%, Carson 14%.

    I suspect the 32% was his peak.

  31. avatar
    Arthur B. September 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

    RanTalbott: One of his minions, Andy Dean, reprised his CPAC lie:

    It’s pretty impressive…

    Is the quote by any chance from his CNN (AC360) appearance?

    I watched that show, and I’m sure I heard Andy Dean say that once the LFBC was released, Trump was satisfied. That struck me as an important data point, but I haven’t heard it mentioned by anyone other than myself.

    Are you aware of any record of his having said that?

  32. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    This story got legs!

    Why Donald Trump trips over Obama’s heritage – CNN

  33. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 22, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Donald Trump’s biographer goes on Fox and compares him to Pope Francis:

    http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/09/22/on-fox-trumps-biographer-compares-him-to-the-po/205720

  34. avatar
    CRJ September 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    [ I am wondering if it is the birther vote that is sustaining Donald Trump, and why he refuses to put this issue behind him, even while saying he’s past this issue. ]

    Very Nice article! Trump’s really street savvy. He knows shooting from the hip works with a large portion of the crowd.

    On a Principle as Big as the ‘ natural born Citizen’ you are right ..tightrope? Won’t put it quite to bed? Why?

    He knows about my Case! He’s very personally aware and he’s already very close to making a mistake of putting it to bed to early.
    Exhibit 1.
    [ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsl6jFtYUEA ]

    NOW, We both know it’s rare a party maintains the White House 3 Terms. Odds are very against it.

    R’s playing the odds have let Obama won back the House and Senate and they are playing him for the W.H. too the smart way.

    Only an issue like this could set R out of their ‘play-it-safe-tactic’.

    Trump knows, his sister is an Appellate Court Judge.

    You watch! If I lose my Case Trump will put the Birthet Issue to rest. .but for now he keeps back peddeling knowing if he totally does he could be caught in with the rest of the GOP controlling Congress and NOT doing anything about it.

    But, I’ve got my Video if I am right too and it’s in Trumps own words. Biggest favor the Media could have done for me, put Trump in with the rest of the CRUZ, RUBIO, JINDAL , MCCAIN crowd after Obama’s only got a year to go. Bam!!! Who survived? Democrats saved the Constitution while the GOP’s game was found out to destroy it.

  35. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG September 22, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    This story got legs!

    Why Donald Trump trips over Obama’s heritage – CNN

    I think that “The Dolan” is already learning the hard way, that his flirtation with birtherism is going to be an albatross around his neck. He seems to clam up real tight, when it’s brought up. He knows he can’t deny what he said, and he’s not clever enough to spin. So all he can do is go “I don’t want to talk about that right now.” then trail off.

  36. avatar
    RanTalbott September 22, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    Arthur B.: Is the quote by any chance from his CNN (AC360) appearance?

    The _quote_ is from Andy Dean, being interviewed by Megyn Kelly on Faux News a few days ago.

    Trump did the same shtick at CPAC that he later did with Cooper on July 9. Corsi wrote it up at WND, and I’m pretty sure BR had video.

    (Oops: forgot I had two quotes. The first _is_ from Trump, from the recent interview that Doc linked to)

  37. avatar
    Arthur B. September 22, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    Arthur B.: I watched that show, and I’m sure I heard Andy Dean say that once the LFBC was released, Trump was satisfied.

    Well, I finally got the bright idea of googling AC360 transcripts, and found exactly what I was looking for at http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1509/17/acd.01.html, subject to the annotation “THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.”

    Turns out I didn’t remember it quite accurately. The way it went was:

    AMANDA CARPENTER: … I mean, Donald Trump is a birther. That’s how we got to know him over the past few years in the political contact in the era of Obama. And he can’t walk it back, therefore he can’t push back on the question.

    ANDY DEAN: That’s not correct because Obama produces long form of birth certificate. And then the issue dropped period.

    So I think Dean clearly implied that it’s no longer correct to refer to Trump as a birther because he dropped it after the release of the LFBC.

  38. avatar
    RanTalbott September 22, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    RanTalbott: At the CPAC conference this year, and on multiple other occasions, he’s bragged that he was the one who got Obama to release the LFBC when others couldn’t. And he likes to lie about Clinton and McCain trying and failing before him.

    And here’s another one of those occasions, an interview with Kelly on Faux News, where she brought up his questioning of Cruz’s eligibility, and he changed the subject to Obama’s:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JORi_fq-JzQ

    BR entitled the video clip “Donald Trump Questions Validity Of Obama Birth Certificate”. Which, for a change, is fairly accurate.

    That one’s from late March.

  39. avatar
    RanTalbott September 22, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

    Arthur B.: So I think Dean clearly implied that it’s no longer correct to refer to Trump as a birther because he dropped it after the release of the LFBC.

    He said something similar during that interview with Kelly, to the effect that the LFBC release put an end to the controversy.

    The gerbils, of course, are apoplectic.

    Trump may have stopped flogging the issue for a while after he decided not to run in 2012, but it’s highly unlikely he ever said he was convinced: the media wouldn’t be pressing for a “yes or no” answer if one were on record.

  40. avatar
    gorefan September 23, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: This story got legs!

    Trump dodges question on birthplace of the President on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/22/media/donald-trump-stephen-colbert-late-show/index.html

  41. avatar
    RanTalbott September 24, 2015 at 5:17 am #

    It looks like there might be an organized campaign to push the “Hillary started it” lie: multiple right-wing talking heads have suddenly joined in.

    And Trump is cutting the net under his tightrope by doubling down on his delusional claim that Clinton was actively birfering, with a tweet that says

    Just remember, the birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2008. She was all in!

    Here’s an amusing interview with Stephanopoulos in 2011, when Trump was also taking flak for birfering, and trying to do the same “I’m not bringing it up: you are” dodge he’s doing now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xikeLrbj9e4

    When Stephanopoulos tried to explain to him that the COLB was, in fact, a “birth certificate”, Trump accused him of having been “co-opted”. By whom? “By Obama and his minions”.

    The birfer part starts at about 1:40, but there are some other gems, too. Like his proposed solution to high oil prices.

  42. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater September 24, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    RanTalbott: t looks like there might be an organized campaign to push the “Hillary started it” lie: multiple right-wing talking heads have suddenly joined in.

    So much so that Don Lemon asked her about it during a radio interview. Hillary thought it was ridiculous and no she didn’t start or spread it.
    “People have been saying on-air here, and I’ve been reporting it on CNN and I’ve been reporting it here, that you were the person behind the whole birther thing and that the senator at the time, the President-elect, actually confronted you about that. Do you care to respond?” Lemon asked, according to audio posted by Mediaite. “Did you or your campaign start the whole birther thing? And did you have a confrontation with the President?”
    “That is so—no,” Clinton responded. “That is so ludicrous, Don. You know, honestly, I just believe that—first of all, it’s totally untrue. Secondly, the President and I have never had any kind of confrontation like that.”

  43. avatar
    J.D. Reed September 24, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    Regarding Hillary as the “first birther”:
    If she was, where is the evidence? Trump said she “fought like hell” to force Obama to reveal his birth certificate. If that is so, was it done in total secrecy? Such a battle would have been featured in network news and major dailies across the country. Electronic news files are a lot more difficult to access than print files. If Hillary had played the birther card, wouldn’t she have left fingerprints in microfilmed newspaper files stored in thousands of libraries across the land?
    I can just hear some assert, with no evidence of course, that this occurred under the radar because the media deliberately ignored a story that would have hurt the Democrats. Total barnyard waste: this is exactly the kind of story that gets journalistic juices flowing.
    That Hillary could have pulled off such a caper as this in secret is less plausible than someone’s sneaking dawn past a barnyard full of young, healthy roosters.
    In America, the burden of proof lies with the one who makes the assertion that something happened. In most cases, that’s the accuser.
    So anyone who asserts that Hillary started birtherism – certainly including Mr. Trump – should put up or shut up.

  44. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 24, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    Politifact.com’s Truth-o-meter rates this as False.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/sep/23/donald-trump/hillary-clinton-obama-birther-fact-check/

    J.D. Reed: Regarding Hillary as the “first birther”:

  45. avatar
    John Reilly September 25, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    I’ve never seen evidence that Hillary started the birther movement (and I’m prone to believe anything about that woman), but even if she did, that does not give Mr. Trump or anyone else a free pass for the next 8 years to repeat falsehoods.

  46. avatar
    RanTalbott September 25, 2015 at 1:17 am #

    John Reilly: but even if she did, that does not give Mr. Trump or anyone else a free pass for the next 8 years to repeat falsehoods.

    In their world, it does: while most people outgrow it sometime in grade school, there’s a much-larger-than-average segment of the neandercons that cling to the notion that “Billy started it!” is a legitimate defense. As long as they can point to someone they consider lower on the spiral staircase to Hell, they’ll claim whatever they’re accused of is perfectly alright.

    And then they’ll turn around and condemn “liberals” for “moral relativism”…

  47. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) September 25, 2015 at 6:27 am #

    J.D. Reed: In America, the burden of proof lies with the one who makes the assertion that something happened. In most cases, that’s the accuser.

    Not in Wingnuttistan where the only measure of the validity of an accusation is how often and how loudly it is repeated.

  48. avatar
    RanTalbott September 25, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    The Magic M (not logged in): Not in Wingnuttistan where the only measure of the validity of an accusation is how often and how loudly it is repeated.

    That only determines 40% of the score: another 40% comes from whether it matches their preconceptions, and 20% is based on whether it’s made by a member of the tribe.

  49. avatar
    Thrifty September 25, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Rickey: Republican insiders say that they need to get 40% of the Hispanic vote to win the White House.

    Recent polling shows that Trump’s favorable rating among Hispanics is 14%.

    I work with a guy who is a Trump supporter and I’m pretty sure he is a birther. I never broached the subject of Obama’s birthplace. I try to avoid talking to him at all costs, but he frequently initiates conversations with me that I’m not interested in. I think because I play my cards close to the vest and give a lot of vague responses to him, he thinks we’re buddies. But he did, at one time, claim “I knew Obama was a Muslim”.

    He’s a Trump supporter, and before I learned not to continue conversations with him, I told him that Trump has no chance because Hispanic voters hate him. He responded by saying “they actually love him, but the media is not reporting that. His plans will allow them to come over here legally and work”. I did not bother pressing him further to explain why registered voters, who are by definition U.S. Citizens, would need a government program to let them come here to work.

  50. avatar
    Nightflyer September 25, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    Personally, I think Donald Trump will get the nomination, because he’s tapped into the Republican core: perpetually angry white men who are afraid of any kind of change.

    He doesn’t have to “deliver” anything to those folks, just promise to “make America great again,” whatever the hell that means. I guess he’ll reproduce John Wayne from DNA left on one of his cowboy costumes, and create an army of John Wayne clones to fill up an army of ‘droids that can defeat the Rebel Alliance…wait, wasn’t that Dick Cheney’s plan?

    The other questions for Donald Trumpe:

    1. How will Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, and Omarosa Manigault do as Cabinet secretaries?

    2. How will he replace the US Congress entirely with former Miss USA contestants?

    3. When the Supreme Court shoots down his executive orders, will he “fire” them?

    4. When will he raise federal revenues by installing slot machines in US Post Offices, National Parks, Social Security Offices, and other federal facilities?

    5. Will his new reality show “Celebrity Terrorist Apprentice” end the terror menace by having would-be terrorists compete to see who can come up with the most effective suicide bombing plan? The winner should be allowed to blow up an American landmark on prime time TV.

    6. How will he bring in a new Slovenian supermodel every year as his new “First Lady?”

    7. Where will he find laborers to build the new Maginot Line on the Rio Grande? Will they be illegal immigrants?

    8. Will it include hotels and casinos to pay off the construction costs and attract visitors?

    9. What will he do if his budget-balancing business ventures fail and the US has to declare bankruptcy?

    10. What will he do when he berates and insults Vladimir Putin to the point that Putin fires a few nuclear missiles at the United States to put him and us in our place?

    It’ll be interesting to see who his running mate will be.

    I’ll follow “The Donald” anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.

  51. avatar
    Dave B. September 26, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    Portrait of a tRump:
    http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2015/09/25/donald-trump-cat-art/

  52. avatar
    CRJ September 28, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    Noticing last year’s Orders the 29th was THE Monday long CONFERENCE and Orders came out twice on the that day 29th and again on Thursday October 2 on the SCOTUS Court LIST to end the year.

    Originally I had thought the Monday Oct 5 or Oct 13 Tuesday (due to Holiday on MONDAY would be when we heard owning to traditional Conferences in SCOTUS)

    SO ..we could know anytime from about 10AM today until Thursday 10AM

  53. avatar
    Pete September 28, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    Hey, Cody! Please allow me to be the first to extend condolences.

    What are you going to do on receiving the official word your case is dead?

    You know, I read this morning that you can make more money pet-sitting than one might think. There’s something that’s fun (if you like pets), easy, and profitable.

  54. avatar
    W. Kevin Vicklund September 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    CRJ:
    Noticing last year’s Orders the 29th was THE Monday long CONFERENCE and Orders came out twice on the that day 29th and again on Thursday October 2 on the SCOTUS Court LIST to end the year.

    Originally I had thought the Monday Oct 5 or Oct 13 Tuesday (due to Holiday on MONDAY would be when we heard owning to traditional Conferences in SCOTUS)

    SO ..we could know anytime from about 10AM today until Thursday 10AM

    In the real world, the denial of your motion for reconsideration will be in the list of orders published on Monday, October 5th. This is when all the denials and routine matters are traditionally announced following the Long Conference (even if the granted your motion, it would be announced then, as they have taken up the practice of relisting before granting cert).

  55. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG September 28, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    CRJ:
    Noticing last year’s Orders the 29th was THE Monday long CONFERENCE and Orders came out twice on the that day 29th and again on Thursday October 2 on the SCOTUS Court LIST to end the year.

    Originally I had thought the Monday Oct 5 or Oct 13 Tuesday (due to Holiday on MONDAY would be when we heard owning to traditional Conferences in SCOTUS)

    SO ..we could know anytime from about 10AM today until Thursday 10AM

    So, when nothing happens in your favor then, what excuses will the voices in your head tell you?

  56. avatar
    Pete September 28, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: So, when nothing happens in your favor then, what excuses will the voices in your head tell you?

    “The Supreme Court is corrupt.”

  57. avatar
    CRJ September 29, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    W. Kevin Vicklund: In the real world, the denial of your motion for reconsideration will be in the list of orders published on Monday, October 5th. This is when all the denials and routine matters are traditionally announced following the Long Conference (even if the granted your motion, it would be announced then, as they have taken up the practice of relisting before granting cert).

    Notice a discrepancy in your analysis October 2 ORDERS LIST 2013

    13-9972 RODRIGUEZ, DENNYS V. UNITED STATES
    The motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in forma
    pauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted.

    Both subjects are addressed at once in a Review for IFP status and also Cert.

    Pete: You know, I read this morning that you can make more money pet-sitting than one might think. There’s something that’s fun (if you like pets), easy, and profitable.

    You know I was a Horse Trainer for years, so ‘pet sitting’ isn’t half bad and they are near as mean to you as humans.

  58. avatar
    Northland10 September 29, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    CRJ: Notice a discrepancy in your analysis October 2 ORDERS LIST 2013

    13-9972 RODRIGUEZ, DENNYS V. UNITED STATESThe motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in formapauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted.

    Both subjects are addressed at once in a Review for IFP status and also Cert.

    Rodriguez had not already had IFP denied. You had it denied already once. In addition, the government felt it necessary to respond to Rodruguez without being asked.

    The petitioner also had a public defender as counsel. It helps to use people with experience.

  59. avatar
    Pete September 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    CRJ: You know I was a Horse Trainer for years, so ‘pet sitting’ isn’t half bad and they are near as mean to you as humans.

    It doesn’t look like the kind of thing you can “clean up” at, but if you enjoy doing it and are good at the business side of it, who knows? Could have some promise, especially if you’re not busy with other stuff.

  60. avatar
    RanTalbott September 29, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    justlw posted an excellent find on the open thread, but it’s very relevant to this one, and time-sensitive because the article will soon disappear behind Pando’s paywall, so I’m reposting it here for those who might not be following that thread.

    “The Donald Trump – Roger Stone show: Birth Harder”

    The article says that Trump’s 2011 birfering was, rather like Arpaio’s, a cynical ploy to generate support among the wingnut GOP base. It also speculates that the goal this time was to suck up the media oxygen that might ordinarily go to Rand Paul and other radical candidates to bolster Bush and/or another “establishment” candidate. And that Trump may be changing that goal because it worked so well and he’s now being seen as a “real” candidate.

    A must-read if you’re interested in the Trump phenomenon.

  61. avatar
    W. Kevin Vicklund September 29, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

    CRJ: Notice a discrepancy in your analysis October 2 ORDERS LIST 2013

    13-9972 RODRIGUEZ, DENNYS V. UNITED STATESThe motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in formapauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted.

    Both subjects are addressed at once in a Review for IFP status and also Cert.

    That was New Math. SCOTUS switched to Common Core in the middle of the 2013 term. No writs of cert were granted last term without first being relisted.

  62. avatar
    Rickey September 30, 2015 at 12:19 am #

    CRJ: Notice a discrepancy in your analysis October 2 ORDERS LIST 2013

    13-9972 RODRIGUEZ, DENNYS V. UNITED STATESThe motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in formapauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted.

    Both subjects are addressed at once in a Review for IFP status and also Cert.

    Your case has nothing in common with Rodriguez v. United States, other than the fact that both of you filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis.

    1. Rodriguez raised a real constitutional issue. During a routine traffic stop he was detained long after the police officer gave him a ticket, and the officer then, without probable cause, used to drug-sniffing dog to check out Rodriguez’s car after Rodriguez refused to give him permission to do so.

    2. Your motion for in forma pauperis status was denied. Rodriguez’s motion was never denied.

    3. The respondents in the Rodriguez case filed a response. No one in your case has filed a response. As you have been told before, SCOTUS never grants a cert petition without asking for a response if no response has been filed. SCOTUS has not asked for a response to your cert petition.

    4. The only thing which SCOTUS considered on Monday is whether to grant your motion for reconsideration regarding the denial of in forma pauperis status.

  63. avatar
    Rickey September 30, 2015 at 12:23 am #

    RanTalbott:

    “The Donald Trump – Roger Stone show: Birth Harder”

    Roger Stone went to the same high school as me. He was in 8th or 9th grade when I was a senior. He is widely regarded as a sleazeball.

  64. avatar
    CRJ September 30, 2015 at 1:25 am #

    Ok.. You guys are in “Time Out”. The Question was not what you extrapolated on in the slightest.

    The Question was on whether SCOTUS can answer a Long Conference Sept 28 (29 last year) on Thursday. ..or if it has to be the Monday’s.

    We are seeing today on Orders List exactly what we saw last year on ORDERS after RECESS.
    (2013)
    Sept 29
    Sept 29
    Oct 2
    …..Gosh…
    Sept 28
    Sept 28
    (?)
    SMH what could be possible be in 2014 next?

  65. avatar
    bob September 30, 2015 at 2:54 am #

    CRJ:
    Ok.. You guys are in “Time Out”.

    So Judy won’t be asking any more pointless questions? Thank goodness.

    Judy’s case is already dead; whether its demise is officially announced this week or next is “of no importance.”

  66. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) September 30, 2015 at 4:52 am #

    CRJ: The Question was on whether SCOTUS can answer a Long Conference Sept 28 (29 last year) on Thursday. ..or if it has to be the Monday’s.

    You obviously love to obsess over technical details irrelevant to the issue at hand. Well, whatever gets you through the night.
    Getting ready for the “SCOTUS ARE TRAITORS” whining in 3… 2…

  67. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 30, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    This article is obviously far better written and researched and provides far more specific detail, but it’s similar to what I speculated in my article, “Donald Trump: Walking the Birther tightrope,” that is, Trump is riding the birther vote.

    RanTalbott: The article says that Trump’s 2011 birfering was, rather like Arpaio’s, a cynical ploy to generate support among the wingnut GOP base.

  68. avatar
    Rickey September 30, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    CRJ:

    The Question was on whether SCOTUS can answer a Long Conference Sept 28 (29 last year) on Thursday. ..or if it has to be the Monday’s.

    SCOTUS can do whatever it wants to do. The Court makes its own rules.

    Maybe SCOTUS is just stringing you along.

  69. avatar
    Dave B. October 1, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    And now, the theory behind it all:

    http://www.salon.com/2015/09/29/theyre_all_fking_nuts_donald_trumps_appeal_explained_in_five_simple_steps/

  70. avatar
    W. Kevin Vicklund October 1, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    CRJ:
    Noticing last year’s Orders the 29th was THE Monday long CONFERENCE and Orders came out twice on the that day 29th and again on Thursday October 2 on the SCOTUS Court LIST to end the year.

    Originally I had thought the Monday Oct 5 or Oct 13 Tuesday (due to Holiday on MONDAY would be when we heard owning to traditional Conferences in SCOTUS)

    SO ..we could know anytime from about 10AM today until Thursday 10AM

    And the grants were released. 13, including 3 in forma pauperis, granted. CRJ’s was not among them. CRJ had better hope that his case has been relisted, because if not, it will be formally over on Monday.

  71. avatar
    Pete October 1, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    There’s no point in CRJ hoping anything.