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Bi-curious Rep. Yoho excoriated by NY Times

I use the term “bi-curious” to denote folks who make friendly explorations into the birther issue. Representative Yoho sponsored a “birther bill” in Congress, previously earning for himself that distinction.

Now the New York Times takes Yoho to task for ignorant remarks about the economy. The Times wrote:

Representative Ted Yoho, a freshman Florida Republican who had no experience in elective office before this year, said the largest economy on earth should learn from his large-animal veterinary practice.

While the Times didn’t mention Yoho’s flirtation with birtherism, it was not lost on Salon.com, quick to repeat the Times story with the birther connection.

If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Doc’s State of the Birther Address

The conspiracy theory I call “the birther movement” has been around 5 years now and over that time we’ve seen an Internet rumor grow to a national phenomenon, where most people know about it and at one point more than half of Republicans believed it. Books were written, web sites created, over 200 lawsuits were filed (all without success), and the President himself addressed the issue in a special press conference on national television.

Where are we now?

Clearly much of energy behind birtherism was political. Support for such beliefs was strongly skewed toward people leaning to the right politically, and if any one birther demographic were signaled out, it would be old conservative southern white guys. Today, however, political motivation is waning as the focus of presidential politics moves from Barack Obama to the 2016 election. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said the a political movement based on “angry white guys” is not sustainable.

The 9/11 truthers were largely left-leaning at the start, and focused on President George W. Bush. In 2006, as the administration of Bush wound down, activism from the left died down, and truther activists are now comprised mainly of far right groups: Constitutional Party and Libertarian supporters, folks who are prone to conspiracy belief in general. What we see among the Truthers is a shift from political motivation to classic conspiracy theory thinking, and an overall decline in activism.

With the birther movement, I think that we’ll a see similar shift this year. The racial bias that underlies much of the movement will remain and I expect that “angry white guys” will continue to be the core demographic, but general right-wing activism will decline, while general conspiracy thinking and racial bias will provide any new converts. The President is scheduled to leave office in January 2017, and that leaves hardly any opportunity for new lawsuits, although Orly Taitz continues her individual legal efforts to pry documents out of the federal government.

One interesting development is the election of a number of Tea Party affiliates to Congress. These individuals, who may be described as “fringe” in many of their beliefs, and characterized by a general non-application of critical thinking to their public positions, are ripe candidates for new birther converts, or may be “closet birthers” already. We’re waiting to see what if anything will come from Representatives Stockman and Yoho. We may see resolutions or bills introduced (but not approved) relating to birther issues. We may again see allied legislation (to require birth certificates from presidential candidates) offered in States in the run up to the 2016 election. Now that they cannot be accused of being attempts to block Obama’s candidacy, some of these “birther bills” may actually pass.

What I see today is a lack of enthusiasm among birthers. Many birther web sites have gone inactive. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Cold Case Posse is about the only news-making activity going on, and that initiative really has nowhere to go1 besides making money from Mike Zullo’s new book. On the other hand, I think that low-level birtherism is with us for the long term, settling down among all the other many conspiracy theories (Freemasons, black helicopters, New World Order, chemtrails, HAARP, alien abduction/UFO cover up, and on and on) that haunt the back alleys of the Internet.


1Maricopa County lacks jurisdiction to prosecute any alleged crimes involving President Obama, plus the County Prosecutor seems to be level-headed enough to recognize that the Posse doesn’t have any evidence.

The return of the birther bill

Now that President Obama has been re-elected, he will not be running for President again. While proposed legislation in a number of states would have added requirements of presidential candidates to prove eligibility in various (sometimes silly) ways, none became law. The supporters of these bills universally claimed that “this is not about Obama,” but of course it was.

Now it is a little easier to make an argument that the bills are not about Obama. They are, however, vindication of the validity of the concerns of the birthers, and so ultimately they are about Obama. To argue for the need for such a bill is to argue that things aren’t just fine the way they are. One might also argue that a presidential vetting bill is not vindication of birthers, but prevention of future birthers. That again falsely affirms that people who think like birthers respond to reason. In fact, the State of Arizona did verify the facts of Obama’s birth in Hawaii, and it made not wit of difference to birthers.

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Missouri, appropriately named “the show-me state,” has a bill, HB 41, that asks presidential candidates in the general election to show them a birth certificate, and to let the people of Missouri look at it too. It places the burden of proof of eligibility on the candidate. There is a question as to whether any state can make such requirements, essentially adding to the eligibility requirements in the Constitution. However, if this bill becomes law, I find it unlikely that any major party candidate will challenge it.

While the bill offers some small solace to the birthers, it also would be a big win for the Obots, because in addition to requiring documentation from the candidates, it also defines “natural born citizen” as:

…having been declared a national and citizen of the United States at birth under 8 U.S.C. Sections 1401 to 1409, as amended, or having been declared a national and citizen of the United States under federal law as it existed at the time of the nominee’s birth.

Read the bill:

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The return of the birther bills

A number of states saw attempts in their legislatures to pass some sort of legislation aimed at providing stricter controls over who could run for President of the United States. The Arizona legislature actually passed a bill, but it was vetoed by Governor Brewer.

Many said that those so-called “birther bills” were thinly veiled attacks on Barack Obama, who the birthers have long believed was not born in the USA and hence not eligible to be President. Now that the President is duly installed in the White House for a second term, and constitutionally precluded from ever running for President again, that criticism is harder to make stick, except…

Now, in the post-Obama-election climate, Texas leads the way for perhaps a new string of birther-inspired legislation aimed at ensuring that Presidential candidates have unassailable paperwork. The Texas bill  is sponsored by Arlington State Representative Bill Zedler, who says his bill has “nothing to do with Obama.”

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Birther Bills: They’re Back!

If you’ve been reading the coverage of the Arizona Cold Case Posse, you probably also know that Arizona Representative Carl Seel is headed back to the Arizona legislature with another attempt to get a birth certificate from Barack Obama. See my article: “Arizona legislator seeks ‘third-time charm.’”

Nebraska is back with Legislative Bill 654 that requires a birth certificate from presidential candidates and makes it a Class IV felony for a member of the Electoral College to vote for someone not certified as eligible by the Secretary of State.

Read more:

New birther bill in Arizona

The Tucson Citizen reports the birther bill is back, introduced by Representative Carl Seel. His bill was passed last year, but vetoed by Republican governor Jan Brewer.

From Blog for Arizona:

Seel’s solution is to simplify the bill so that a candidate would only be required to sign, under penalty of perjury, an affidavit swearing that he or she meets the qualifications for the office, including their citizenship. If citizens were to question whether the candidate was qualified, Seel’s bill would state that the citizen would have standing to file suit against the candidate.

It should be interesting to see what if any effect the Georgia ballot challenge court proceeding will have on the bill. A birth certificate submitted to the court and positive determination of eligibility in Georgia would, in this writer’s opinion, take the wind out of the sails of a bill in Arizona.