01 March 2009

Ben Smith: Meet "the Birthers"

"The Birthers" are in the MSM, and they're not going to like it.

In "Culture of Conspiracy," Politico's Ben Smith takes on "the Birthers," a group of people who claim, in lawsuit after lawsuit, that President Obama is ineligible for his office because, they argue, he is not a "real" citizen. Smith summarizes their arguments and debunks a few rumors (for example, that the state of Hawaii won't confirm Obama's birth, that President Obama is paying millions of dollars to attorneys to block the various Birther lawsuits. Obama's attorney in one case, Fredric Woocher, is working pro bono, and says "[t]here is absolutely no truth to the stories about the untold millions supposedly being paid to us" [Smith]).

Smith also cites some fairly influential conservative folks on how this conspiracy movement is, well, cracked. Michael Medved, for instance, suggests that the Birther movement might simply be a conspiracy designed to undermine/discredit the conservative movement. This does make some sense (and I wouldn't be surprised to discover that some liberals are deliberately stoking the fire) because the conspiracy is so far-fetched and because the movement's spokespeople tend to speak in such outrageous terms (cf. Alan Keyes's recent declamation). The fact that courts continue to dismiss the Birther lawsuits, that the vast majority of legal scholars reject or mock the "evidence" presented by Birthers, suggests that the people driving the movement are motivated by an antipathy for Obama rather than anything else--especially patriotism. How do you otherwise explain their often-expressed wish for civil war or for the military to "do something"? (Yes to Democracy maintains and regularly updates a collection of "the Birthers'" seditious dreams). I've said it before, but I don't recall the most rabid of "Bush derangement" (or even "Clinton-derangement") sufferers plotting to overthrow the country.

Aside: Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, explains that "he hadn't 'seen any credible evidence Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen eligible for the presidency'" despite being contacted by "untold numbers of people" (Smith). Let's just say that Judicial Watch hardly qualifies as a liberal organization, and it seems likely that, should they have seen anything resembling "credible evidence," they'd have hopped onto this case months ago. Take away quote by Fitton:
"If people understood better what the law is, I don't think they'd be as concerned as they are."
Update: One of the lawsuits questioning President Obama's eligibility, just got shot down by D. C. District Court Judge James Robertson. Judge Robertson included some choice comments for the plaintiffs. You can read about it here, and the followup comments. . .well, they're a hoot. A little scary at times, but pretty revelatory of the "Birther" following.

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