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Exit strategy

Parting shots

As the days go by, birtherism recedes farther and farther into irrelevancy, and I was just a little surprised to see the topic revisited yet again by President Obama’s speech writers at the White House Correspondents’ Association Annual Dinner this year [video embedded at the end of the article]. I thoroughly enjoyed the speech, from the opening moment when the band played “Hail to the Ferns.” Birthers got skewered a couple of times.

After noting that an American won the Boston Marathon for the first time in 30 years, Obama said:

It’s only fair since a Kenyan has been president for the last six.

I think the second one the more interesting:

Let’s face it, Fox, you will miss me when I’m gone. It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.

I think the subtext of that joke was a commentary on just how crazy political opposition has become in the age of Internet blog-based conspiracism, and a foretaste of what a Hillary Clinton race for President might look like.

While I enjoyed Obama’s remarks, I hope that this is the last Correspondents’ Dinner with birther jokes. Birthers are yesterday’s news (except in our little niche).

A strategy that drags on too long becomes a drag.
— Saul Alinsky

Exit strategy

imageOver at Birther Report I get asked from time to time what my “exit strategy” is. I don’t know quite how to take the question, since I don’t think I need an exit strategy. I have no debts to pay off from running the blog. Birthers think (or claim to think since I find it hard to really believe them) that bloggers who make fun of them will be prosecuted for treason and sent to jail, but in fact such a thing is patently absurd.

A fellow made an injudicious comment here a few days back and became embroiled in a discussion he probably didn’t want to be in. I was going to share my exit strategy with him:

Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look for a blue button labeled “Submit Comment.” Don’t push it.

Read more:

Continue to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner video…

Continue Reading →

Another wacko banner ad

My favorite wacko ad appeared on Orly Taitz’s web site: it was an ad for Barack Obama, saying click here for the truth about Obama’s birth certificate.

However, this one I found at WorldNetDaily today has a nice sense of irony

Banner ad "Stop the Koch Brothers"

Book review: The Obama Hate Machine

The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortions, and Personal Attacks on the President – and Who is Behind Them by Bill Press is published by Thomas Dunn Press in 2012.

If I could outline the book briefly, there are three main topics:

  1. There are lots of nasty things said about Barack Obama that aren’t true
  2. The Koch brothers organized and paid for the Tea Party
  3. The media no longer report facts, but rebroadcast what “newsmakers” say.

There is a lot of material supporting that simple outline.

I think most people reading this blog are well aware of many things said about Barack Obama that aren’t true. We focus on a narrow slice of that rhetoric, crank claims about the President’s birth; however, we see “creeping socialism” (as a topic) and Obama associations. Mr. Press gives lots more examples, and points out why they shouldn’t have been taken seriously by anyone.

The section on the Koch brothers and their billion-dollar tentacles in conservatism and the Tea Party in particular, through a mind-boggling list of front groups, is impressive in scope; however, I gather that this material is not original to Press, but the work of others (properly attributed).

Finally, Press says that the media today don’t make judgments on the truth of what they report, but report whatever the newsmakers say and what other newsmakers say against it. He gives the example of Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels” that got widespread coverage in the press, despite the fact that there was no truth in it. This hands off approach, says Press, lets hate speech and misinformation echo instead of being snuffed.

It’s a big book and it documents a real phenomenon. Conservatives won’t believe a word of it; progressives already know most of it (except for the Koch details). The book only had a couple of errors about birther-related statements. You might like it. I thought it was, on a scale of crap to enlightenment, rated OK.