According to a Washington Post poll, 14 % of the American public has been infected with birther belief, and another 6% are showing symptoms. While broad majorities across party lines believe that Barack Obama was born in the US, 14% say otherwise and another 6% says their “best guess” is a foreign birth.
What was rather surprising was this statement:
About a third of all those who say Obama might have been born in another country approve of how he’s handling his job as president, hold favorable views of him personally and prefer him over congressional Republicans when it comes to dealing with issue No.1, the economy.
This bolsters my personal suspicion that a significant part of birtherism is not racist, but rather nothing more than susceptibility to clever propaganda from skilled political operatives and lawyers.
It sounds all so convincing to say “If he has nothing to hide, why does he spend millions in legal fees keeping his documents hidden?” if you don’t know that the President hasn’t spent millions in legal fees keeping documents hid.
I left this comment at The Washington Post:
The Internet is flooded with plausible-sounding arguments, sometimes long lists of them, that on the surface seem rather convincing that the President was born overseas. After all, we have professional political operatives and lawyers cranking out this stuff, and the average Joe is not in this league.
Since late 2008 I’ve run the ObamaConspiracy.org web site that deals with nothing but the birther question and I’ve seen thousands of comments like “if he’s not hiding anything they why is he spending millions of dollars in legal fees keeping his records hidden?” It sounds convincing as an argument until you find out that the President isn’t spending millions to keep his records hidden. They say that “anyone can fill out a form and get a Hawaiian birth certificate.” That’s equally untrue. Just think, they are saying that Hawaii hands out birth certificates to anybody saying they were born in Hawaii. Who would believe such a preposterous claim? Birthers who haven’t thought about the implications apparently do.
I could go on all day, but in my considerable experience it’s “once a birther, always a birther.” It is an incurable disease. I can only take comfort that similar numbers believe in witches.