The recent poll showing that an astonishing 51% of GOP primary voters believe that Obama is a “foreigner” has proved what I wrote more than a year and a half ago; the Birthers are poison and threaten the party and conservative movement.
The question then becomes do we try and isolate, chastise, and ultimately drive out the paranoid purveyors of utterly fantastical notions of Obama’s origins while they are still a small enough group that a concerted effort could succeed? Or do we wait and see how big they get before acting, thus risking a backlash against the right from the voter?
To prevent many diseases from harming our health, we inoculate ourselves so that an illness will not develop. I propose something similar in dealing with the Birthers. For my part, anyone who leaves a comment on this site, on any post, that advances any birther “theory” will be banned from accessing my writings.
Some might think this a bad idea in that I will forgo “debate” or perhaps not allow a Birther to be convinced otherwise. That’s nonsense. My experience with Birthers has been that they don’t want to hear any contrary evidence, that they have closed their mind so completely to the truth that arguing with a brick wall would be easy by comparison.
Besides, for most Birthers, it’s not about discovering the truth. It is about delegitimizing the president. For months they demanded to see the president’s birth certificate. When the state of Hawaii released a “Certificate of Live Birth,” we heard from the Birthers that it wasn’t good enough, or it was a fake. “All we want is to see the president’s birth certificate,” they innocently ask. And they take the president’s reluctance to do so - indeed, his fight in the courts to prevent the release of it - as “evidence” that there is something amiss.
I am open to any and all ideas on how to marginalize these kooks before conservatism itself becomes a victim of the Birthers unbalanced lunacy. We can no longer turn the other way when confronted with Birther blather. Since they won’t listen to reason , shame and humiliation would seem to me to be the best way to closet them with the other nutcases of American politics
ROVE: Republicans had better be clear about this.
We had a problem in the 1950’s with the John Birch Society, and it took Bill Buckley standing up as a strong conservative and taking them on.
Within our party, we’ve got to be very careful about allowing these people who are the birthers and the 9/11-deniers to get too high a profile and say too much without setting the record straight.
BILL O’REILLY: What percentage of Republican voters — 5%, 10%?
ROVE: I don’t know, but whatever it is, it ought to be less, because we need the leaders of our party to say “Look, stop falling into the trap of the White House and focus on the real issues.”
O’REILLY: You know this stat that was put out — that 51% of Republicans…
ROVE: … look, this is a lousy poll.
O’REILLY: I know it is, but it’s going to be picked up — it already has been by the mainstream media.
O’REILLY: To demonize the rest of the Republican party.
ROVE: Sure, it fits into the White House theme-line.
O’REILLY: But isn’t that smart of the White House to do that?
ROVE: Oh, absolutely.
Look, these guys may be lousy at governing, Bill, but they’re damn good at politics.
O’REILLY: So it’s a smart strategy….
ROVE: … sure it is, because if we are where we are, which is we have a group of people out there who keep repeating this, and we’ve yet to get into a place where candidates are being asked about this in debates — look, don’t you think in the Fox debate or one of these debates that’s gonna be televised, candidates are going to be asked about this?
If they’d step forward and say “Look, we’ve got better things to talk about, then to fall into this trap that the White House has laid for us”, this issue will start to go away.
Rove wants the “leaders” of the party to take a stand and marginalize these kooks. Fat chance. John Boehner - incredibly - said the other day that it wasn’t his job to tell the American people what to think.
That’s real leadership, eh?
Birtherism, the loony idea that Obama is deliberately trying to destroy the country, Cloward-Piven nonsense, Saul Alinsky’s ludicrous gameplan — what all of these have in common is paranoia. Part of the reason is just plain ignorance — a lack of applying logic to a supposition and coming to a rational conclusion. Opposing Obama is not irrational; seeing evil in the results of his policies is. It is a leap of illogic to posit that Obama’s policies are having a monstrously bad effect on the economy, ergo, this automatically means that he has it in for America. I’ll never understand that kind of thinking, tinged as it is with an hysterical view of one’s political opponent. Isn’t it bad enough that the president is an incompetent boob? Why invent motivations that are so off kilter that one wonders how those who hold these views function in society?
A sizable segment - easily more than a third - of conservatives and Republicans are bat guano crazy. A similar percentage who are nutso on the left subscribe to idiotic conspiracies involving the Koch Brothers or the Chamber of Commerce, or some other right wing target. We are at the exact moment in American history when we can least afford to have a third of the electorate held in thrall to fantasy. We need hard headed realism, not mushy headed conspiracy theories.
What happens if things fall apart? With millions divorced from objective reality, I leave it to your imagination.