Quotes of the day are intended to represent what is being said by people on both sides of the birther question. They do not necessarily represent the views of this web site.
On one hand, there were people like Shepard Smith of Fox News urging the media to “look in the mirror” because questions about President Obama’s birthplace were “a load of crap” and journalists “knew it from the very beginning.” (Amen.) On the other, there was Bob Garfield of NPR’s On the Media arguing that the attention paid by the media to Donald Trump’s birther claims was necessary to help the public distinguish between a “carnival barker” and a “responsible leader.”
— Anson Kaye
—US News and World Report
“People believe nothing. They think everything is spin and lies. The minute a government says A is true, half the people on Earth know A is a lie. And when people believe nothing, as we know, they will believe anything. We faked the moon landing, there was a second gunman in Dallas, the World Trade Center was blown up in a U.S.-Zionist conspiracy, Hitler grew old in Argentina.
— Peggy Noonan
Election and constitutional law expert Gregory Magarian, JD, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, says that Obama clearly meets the constitutional qualifications to hold his office.
— Washington University in St. Louis, Newsroom
Conspiracy theories are not signs of a healthy democracy. They play off our bigotries, breed paranoia and reveal how distrusting the public is of our elected officials. Worst of all, they confirm many Americans truly are stupid.
— Frank Zoeller
Jerome Corsi’s “The Obama Nation” is a mishmash of unsupported conjecture, half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods.
— Joe Miller
Considering all of the investigations that have been done and the information that has been provided, no rational person can question the President’s citizenship.
— Governor of Hawaii
All of our Presidents have, to date, been born in the 50 states. Notably, President Obama was born in the state of Hawaii, and so is clearly a natural born citizen.
— US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (retired)
“Although the government of one country may grant to persons owing allegiance to that of another, the rights and privileges of citizenship, it is not intended to intimate that the government making such grant would thereby, and without their consent or change of domicil, become entitled to their allegiance in respect to any of their political duties or relations.” Calais v Marshfield 30 Maine Rep 520. (1844)
Some say that the birthers are trying to have a “do over” of the 2008 election. I think they are actually trying to have a “do over” of the Civil War.
— Dr. Conspiracy
You can have crazy beliefs and make up facts and deny reality all by yourself without buying a book. This book [Where’s the Birth Certificate?] was actually written by Obama’s father, who, despite being dead, is a more-sentient being than Corsi.
Now Republican conservatives believe, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the whole birther thing was concocted by the Democrats, in the words of one conservative commentator, because “it makes Republicans look like rubes.
–Scripps Howard News Service
You can’t even recognise the former shape of this horse — let it rest in peace!
— Lee Hunter
It appears that WordNetDaily is now trying to move the goalposts on what constitutes a “natural-born” citizen… Somehow I have a feeling this ends with only landholding, Mayflower-descended Freemasons being eligible to run for president.
— Joshua Keating
— Foreign Policy Magazine
…the whole Rapture thing seems to have been a bust altogether. I have to say I’m a little disappointed. I was really pulling for certain people to be spirited away. Like, for instance, Orly Taitz, the birther queen. The woman’s allotted fifteen minutes were over long ago; it’s high time she vanished into thin air.
— Ray St. Louis
— The North Florida Herald
One of the things I am coming to appreciate is how much influence crazy people have in the world.
— Dr. Conspiracy
It is all just wishful thinking on the part of that segment of the population who cannot stand the fact that a black man is President of the United States. They are grasping at straws and it is really dismaying that there are still people who bring up this issue even though the President did present the long form of his birth certificate.
— Comment left at CNN
Haiku contest winner:
The Fall campaign looms
Barack’s birth was their focus
Bin Laden was his.
The birther controversy might be written off as a fever of racial bigotry and right-wing paranoia. But the [Dominique Strauss-Kahn] case was a useful reminder that evidently rational people, educated and skeptical, liberal or conservative, can fall for beliefs that seem far-fetched at best.
— Bill Keller
— The New York Times
If there are any controlling legal authority interpreting the term “natural born citizen” in the Constitution in your various narrow and narrow-minded constructions, then that would truly be international news. In the absence of such authority, your ravings seem tinfoil-hattish.
— Comment at the LA Times
So, some nut case has written a paper. So what? One does not “file charges with the FBI.” Anyone who wants to can tell the FBI anything they want. You can call the FBI and tell them if your dry cleaning didn’t get clean. That means nothing. Sending a note to the FBI does not mean the FBI agrees or that the u.s. attorney is going to file charges.
— Comment at WikiLaw3K.org (2009)
Thinking is hard work. Feelings are not thoughts, and Maturity is learning to live with ambiguity, to be able to acknowledge multiple opinions and choose reasonably among them. It’s important to learn to question authority. But it’s equally important to learn that “you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.” Being able to distinguish between the two is ever more important in today’s complex and contentious world.
— Bill Mares
— Vermont Public Radio
I got on my daughter’s computer the other day and found a website, “obamasaid,” and right there was a photo of Osama bin Laden sitting in a beach chair at a beach somewhere in Argentina. He was sipping on a mint julep with a guy who looked an awful lot like Adolph Hitler, and to their right was Jimmy Hoffa reading a newspaper dated May 19, 2011.
-– Don Burdick
-– Letter published at the Battle Creek Enquirer
To think [that political conspiracies, in and of themselves, constitute historical forces with real-world effects] is merely to fall into the paranoid style, to convert a singular incident into a larger framework, and to willfully misinterpret or misread evidence and misplace it into a “sick” explanatory framework.
— Mark Fenster
— describing the views of historian Richard Hofstadter
Dear Sir: –In response to your letter of the 7th instant — the term “natural-born citizen,” as used in the Constitution and Statutes of the U. S., is held to be a native of the U. S.
— Senator T. F. Bayard (1881)
Corsi lies… the baby Jesus cries.
— Paul Iacono
— Comment left at WorldNetDaily
Who among us if every mistake they ever made was piled up and described in the worst possible way by a professional smear artist, and every good thing was excluded, wouldn’t look like a monster? Damn few.
— Kevin Davidson
— Comment left at WorldNetDaily
Conspiracy theorists “take advantage of situations in the historical moment where there’s great economic and social stress, a change in relationships in terms of a country’s status in the world. What they do is pick up on the anxiety that is produced during those periods and come up with a very simple, comforting scapegoat for these complex situations.”
— Charlie Berlet
…just because overarching conspiracy theories are wrong does not mean that they are not on to something.
— Mark Fenster