Let me start by saying I am not nor have ever been a birther. With that said there’s a good deal of intellectual dishonesty surrounding coverage of this issue.
Who Started It
The only TV pundit who has hit the origins of birtherism head on has been MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. Not only did he acknowledge that the movement started in 2008 among Clinton supporters, he went so far as to say this weakens Hillary’s ability to attack Trump on the subject.
The protests that the Clinton “campaign” did not start birtherism is a distinction without a difference. A low level staffer in Iowa pushed it (and was fired), Clinton strategist Mark Penn toyed with it, and Clinton best bud Sid Blumenthal outright said Obama was born in Kenya. I found no record of Hillary herself actively denouncing it. Furthermore, Hillary famously hinted in a “60 Minutes” interview that Obama might be Muslim – he’s a Christian “as far as I know”.
Hillary needs to let the media fight this on her behalf and just shut up. Her hands are not clean.
Chris Matthews Nutty Argument Against Birtherism
Of all the pundits outraged by Donald’s birther nonsense, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews makes the nuttiest argument by putting preposterous logic behind birtherism that was never there in the first place. According to Matthews, birthers propose that Ann Dunham gave birth to Barack in Kenya and then conspired to have his birthplace changed to Hawaii so that he could one day run for President some 4 decades later. He goes on to note how utterly ludicrous this is. He’s right. It is ludicrous but it’s ludicrous on HIS part. The central premise of birtherism places no guilt on Ann Dunham, nor does it suggest she had Presidential aspirations for her son way back in 1961. This is made up out of whole cloth by Matthews himself.
Birtherism is Racist
This assertion is debatable and I’d like to suggest an alternative. If Jesse Jackson or Jim Clyburn had become President, I seriously doubt anyone would have questioned their birthplace. They have the slave-ancestry identity of many blacks in America. Popular wisdom says that Obama got targeted as the first black President. But Obama was also the first Hawaiian President, born there only shortly after Hawaii’s admission to the US. He was also the first President who spent a lot of his youth outside the US (Indonesia, specifically). So to claim the only thing “different” about Obama was his race is just plain dishonest.
None of this gets The Donald off the hook for perpetuating this foolishness. I don’t think he’s racist. I think he’s an opportinistic attention whore and birtherism would get him clicks and retweets. I actually found his “backwards extortion” of Obama a few years ago far more offensive. In that incident, Trump offered to donate to the charity of Obama’s choice if Obama produced his college records. Essentially he set up a ransom scenario where the kidnapped baby was a charitable donation. Shame this wasn’t illegal cos I’d have thrown Trumps orange ass right in jail for it.
Bottom line: birtherism was an ugly mess where no one has clean hands. Drop it and move onto the more pressing issue – our choice between a corrupt liar and a reality TV star. Reject both and VOTE JOHNSON!
What do you think? The bar is open.