April 27, 2011

Obama action won't dissuade birthers

President Obama has finally released his full, long-form birth certificate.

But, assuming Texas state Rep. Leo Berman is typical, it won't dent "birtherism."
I just got off the phone with Texas GOP State Rep. Leo Berman, sponsor of his state's birther bill, and a vocal proponent of the idea that the President was not born in this country. Berman, who has explained previously that he gets much of his news via "YouTubes," was not aware of the White House's release when I called him up, but his initial reaction more or less set the tone: "I wonder why it took them almost two years to release that? That seems kind of strange."

I sent Berman the White House's statement and a copy of the certificate, and after a few minutes he called back ready to talk. "If this is the true birth certificate, I'm very happy to finally see it," he said. But today's news didn't answer his lingering doubts; if anything, it raised even more questions. Berman was comparing the White House release with another birth certificate he said was from Mombasa, Kenya. "There are two hospitals [in Honolulu] at the time and neither hospital will claim him," Berman said. "Today, if you have a hospital where the president was born they'd probably take the room where he was born and make a shrine out of it." Plus, the Kenyan certificate just seemed more compelling: "When I look at the one from Kenya, there is a British lord who is the clerk for registering all births in Kenya at that time." He added, "The one from Mombasa even has a footprint on it. Like a human footprint."
That said, Obama gets a political kudo for the timing of this issue. He knocks Donald Trump down a peg, invites other GOP presidential candidates to play with birtherism at even greater general-election peril, and sets up "serious" GOP candidates for other offices to deal more directly with tea partiers and other true loons.

Birtherism as looniness vs. allegedly serious GOP candidates, especially just a week after Arizona Gov. Jan. Brewer veteod her legislature's birther bill, becomes more stark.

Besides Trump, this could most hurt Huckabee, given his recent comments. "Helped"? The serious but Obamacaring Romney and the serious but bland Pawlenty.

Mojo is right on why this won't go away, too. Birtherism is just a smoke screen for even greater loonery. That said, Obama again gets the timing kudo.

Salon has a roundup of birther responses. A couple are fully accepting, others are splitting hairs and yet others are like Leo Berman. Those in Berman's league or beyond already had the next steps in their conspiracy thinking ready and have now unleashed them.

More proof hardcore birthers won't be changed? WorldNutDaily head Joe Farah is digging in. And, per the story on that, remember, many birthers also believe Bill Clinton aide Vince Foster was murdered, or other nuttery.

As for the "why did it take so long" question that birthers have raised? They know the answer, for the most part: Hawaii state law only provides for computer-generated facsimiles. Obama himself was granted the first, and likely last, waiver since the law was enacted in 2001.

That all said, Joan Walsh speaks for many when she talks about letting bullies win.

Sorry, Joan, but I disagree. This was more an event of political timing than anything else, as to the "when" of Obama's decision.

And, the Guardian has a good story on the announcement, too.

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