It really wasn’t strange that Birthers were neither seen nor heard at the recent RNC Convention in Tampa. Even Donald Trump got the bum’s rush out the back door. Romney and Ryan are, trying to present themselves as a rational alternative to Obama, and the last thing they need is a bunch of loud-mouthed conspiracy theorists whooping it up in front of the television audience with charges that every judge in the country is on some scam. Or that Obama was secretly born in Kenya, and both his birth certificates are forgeries.
The people we label as independents are already the kind of people who don’t easily follow the herd. Put off by the antics of both parties, they try to cast an intelligent vote without regard to the labels. And intelligent people are not going to look with favor upon either candidates, or parties, who consort too much with openly wacky people.
A good example of this occurred 2008 with Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wiki has a very good detailed article about the entire set of events, and here is a brief recap:
The Jeremiah Wright controversy is an American political issue that gained national attention in March 2008 when ABC News, after reviewing dozens of U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, excerpted parts which were subject to intense media scrutiny. Obama denounced the statements in question, but after critics continued to press the issue of his relationship with Wright he gave a speech titled “A More Perfect Union”, in which he sought to place Dr. Wright’s comments in a historical and sociological context. In the speech, Obama again denounced Wright’s remarks, but did not disown him as a person. The controversy began to fade, but was renewed in late April when Wright made a series of media appearances[.] After the last of these, Obama spoke more forcefully against his former pastor, saying that he was “outraged” and “saddened” by his behavior, and in May he resigned his membership in the church.
It wasn’t that everything Rev. Wright said was wrong. For example, Republicans, conservatives and even Birthers could sign on to his general thesis, Governments Lie and Where governments lie, God does not lie. Where governments change, God does not change. Liberals, libertarians, and Democrats could give a standing ovation to, the government lied about a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and a connection between 9.11.01 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. But, buried in that dissertation are gems like these:
The government lied about Pearl Harbor too. They knew the Japanese were going to attack.
The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.
Which, along with several other more publicized remarks, led Maureen Dowd to call him a wackadoodle. Libertarian commentator Andrew Sullivan said Wright’s comments on the tour were a “calculated, ugly, repulsive, vile display of arrogance, egotism, and self-regard. Columnist Bob Herbert of the New York Times also suggested that Wright was being a “narcissist” and trying to “wreck” Obama’s campaign. (from Wiki article above) And that’s not even getting to what the conservatives said.
All of which led to Obama cutting his ties with Wright, and finding a new church. This was a politically smart decision, because the Republicans tried, and continue to try, to make people associate Obama with Wright, and other questionable sorts like Bill Ayres. Even to the extent that Wright and Ayres are not necessarily the people they are made out to be, the mere appearance of undifferentiated wackiness, alleged un-Americanism, or extremism is enough. Elections often hinge on a few votes here and there.
Now, turnabout is fair play. The Democrats are working overtime to associate Romney with the Birthers. Even if they have to invent some Birthers for the purpose. A recent internet meme had it that seven Birthers were going to speak at the RNC convention. When I read the list, I thought there were maybe 1 or 1 1/2 genuine Birthers on the list, those being Donald Trump and some clown from Georgia.
For example, poor Janine Turner was thrown into the mix for questioning the reasons that Obama’s book bio said he was born in Kenya. Which, if a Romney book bio said “I was born a poor redneck child. I remember the days, sittin’ on the porch with my family, singin’ and dancin’ down in Mississippi…” , the Democrats would be all over that. And rightfully so. Mike Huckabee was there, in silver underwear. (Damn it, I can’t get that Rocky Horror Picture Show music out of mind from a week or so ago!!!) They’re both called Birthers for either asking or saying far less about the birth certificate issue than Chris Matthews.
Speaking of whom, Matthews is popping Adderall and doing Jagerbombs, so that he can stay awake long enough to smear every Republican he can lay his mouth on with the Birther Brush, including Condoleeza Rice. As the Blaze reported:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has made it clear his goal this election fall: He will be the one trying to remind everyone that birthers exist within the Republican party (despite the fact that it was a theory introduced by Hilary Clinton in 2008). And it seems he will go to great lengths to do it. Take this interview with Condoleeza Rice on Wednesday.
After Rice wowed the crowed with a sans-teleprompter speech, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell scored an interview with her. During it, Matthews seemed unhappy with the questions and at one point awkwardly (and to the seeming frustration of Mitchell) interrupted Mitchell to interject a question about — birtherism.
“Andrea, Andrea, can I ask a question?” he asked. “It’s Chris Matthews. Could you ask the Secretary — her speech was so overwhelmingly positive — but was it kind of a rejoinder to all the birtherism and the narrowness she’s heard in their party?”
Mitchell then repeated the question, but only after Rice gave a puzzled look during the period of silence.
Then there is Soledad O’Brien of CNN and her piece with John Sununu:
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: Why the birther thing? I mean, I’m going to make an assumption that you don’t agree with Donald Trump –
SUNUNU: I don’t know. Why is CNN – why is CNN so fixated on this? Why don’t we talk about the jobs issue in this country?
O’BRIEN: Sure. And we’re going to get to that in a moment but let’s start with this.
SUNUNU: And the disastrous — but you – it’s CNN that wants to bring it up. I don’t want to bring it up. Mitt Romney has made it clear –
O’BRIEN: I bet you don’t.
SUNUNU: Mitt Romney has made has clear that he believes that President Obama was born in the U.S. You had Donald Trump on last night. And now you are asking the question this morning. It’s CNN’s fixation.
O’BRIEN: So you don’t think it’s a valid question to ask of someone who is posing as a supporter-slash-surrogate at a high level? Donald Trump isn’t your random supporter. He’s a high level big-funder. He’s talked about how much money in the millions of dollars he’s thinking about donating to the campaign. You don’t think that that’s a big deal that that person consistently talks about the fact that he believes the President of the United States is not a citizen of the country?
And of course, there is Romney himself, with his recent little ” Nobody asked to see my birth certificate” joke in Michigan. Democratic pundits are immolating themselves at Romney campaign stops to draw attention to it. As Jonah Goldberg writes:
Within hours of Romney’s joke, the Obama campaign was trying to turn its outrage into cash. An email appeal from campaign manager Jim Messina repeated Romney’s quote and then said:
“Take a moment or two to think about that, what he’s actually saying, and what it says about Mitt Romney. Then make a donation of $3 or more to re-elect Barack Obama today.”
I know some people take this “birther” stuff very seriously. But I find the whole thing ludicrous. Apparently, if Romney jokes about Obama’s birth certificate, white Americans will suddenly notice the president is black. But when Obama jokes about his birth certificate — or even hawks birther-themed swag on his campaign website, it’s all in good fun.
But I don’t see anything wrong all these smears during an election season. It’s what political parties do. If you can make the voting public think the other guy walks like a maniac, and quacks like a maniac, and is in a crowd of maniacs, then go for it. That is not to say this is the stuff of rational discourse, but if the other guy is clobbering you with a metal folding chair, then the Bible says it is okay for you to pick up your own metal folding chair and clobber him back. (I think that was in the chapter where Jacob was wrestling with somebody???)
And Romney is doing exactly what Obama did with Jeremiah Wright. He is distancing himself, and doing his best to keep the Birthers out of sight. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was sent to give his speech over at the local zoo’s gorilla enclosure. Donald Trump didn’t show up at all. Both are crowd pleasers, and both have important things to say about other issues. But even if they could erase the Birther crap from the teleprompters, the GOP just couldn’t take the chance that their well-known Birther antics would overshadow any sane remarks they might make.
(I hear from my secret sources that several prominent Tea Party Birthers were slipped mickies and then photographed in the nude with hookers to keep them from spouting off any Birther nonsense in public. I am trying to get my hands on the negatives, but have so far been unsuccessful.)
However, Romney has a much bigger problem than Obama ever did. Obama only had one or two screwballs to distance himself from. But, there are millions and millions of Birthers, and many of them very active in Republican politics. The Democrats are doing their best to shine the spotlight on them. Meanwhile, Romney operatives have already purchased a ton of rufies and cameras, and are involved in active negotiations with hookers across the nation.
This ought to be interesting!!!
Note 1. The Image. This is a picture of Ebed Melech, the Cushite (Ethiopian) pulling Jeremiah from a cistern. I can not figure out who painted it.
Note 2. Links. Here is the link to the Wiki article. It is a great read: