Out: 9/11 trooferism; In: Obama birth certificate trooferism

Politico on the latest wave of stupid conspiracy theories:

Bill Clinton had the Vince Foster “murder.” George W. Bush had 9/11 Truth. And the new administration has brought with it a new culture of conspiracy: The Birthers.
Out of the gaze of the mainstream and even the conservative media is a flourishing culture of advocates, theorists and lawyers, all devoted to proving that Barack Obama isn’t eligible to be president of the United States. Viewed as irrelevant by the White House, and as embarrassing by much of the Republican Party, the subculture still thrives from the conservative website WorldNetDaily, which claims that some 300,000 people have signed a petition demanding more information on Obama’s birth, to Cullman, Alabama, where Sen. Richard Shelby took a question on the subject at a town hall meeting last week.
Their confinement to the fringe hasn’t cooled the passion of believers; the obscure New York preacher James Manning turned up at a National Press Club session in December to declare the president “the most notorious criminal in the history not just of America, but of this entire planet.”
A quick reality check, before we dive in: The challenges to Obama’s eligibility have no grounding in evidence. Courts across the country have summarily rejected the movement’s theory — that Obama can’t be a citizen because his father wasn’t —as a misreading of U.S. law; and Hawaii officials, along with contemporary birth announcements, affirm that Obama was in fact born in Honolulu in 1961.
But belief in obscure, discredited theories is a constant in a country with a history of partisan division — a country in which, a recent survey showed, 34 percent of the public believes in UFOs and 24 percent believes in witches.
The risk, of course, is the growth of a segment of the population, however small, that views the president as illegitimate.
“Some individuals and groups who are opposed to Obama’s presidency want an ‘acceptable’ reason to cite to convince other individuals and groups who might be on the fence to join in their way of thinking,” said Patricia Turner, who studies rumors at the University of California, Davis. “The notion that his presidency is actually in violation of the Constitution has a fundamentally patriotic appeal.”
The opportunity for the White House? It’s one of which some conservatives are sharply aware — that the Birthers may discredit Obama’s more mainstream enemies.
“At some level, they’re not that bad to have around because it reminds people that under the mainstream conservative press there’s this bubbling up of really irrational hatred for the guy,” said former Clinton White House press secretary Jake Siewert.

Not surprisingly, World Net Daily and Alan Keyes are involved. Equally unsurprisingly, since it’s rare for a conspiracy theorists to believe only one ridiculous conspiracy theory, there’s some overlap with the “9/11 Truth” movement:

The movement has also faced internal divisions. Kreep, a well-known conservative litigator, expressed some discomfort with his main East Coast counterpart, Phil Berg, a former Pennsylvania prosecutor who has also sued President George W. Bush to claim that he was complicit in the September 11 attacks.
“I don’t ascribe to all his theories about 9/11 and all that,” Kreep said of Berg.

Via Charles Johnson, who’s been on a roll against the far-right fringe these past few months. (He also calls out Obama troofer Pamela Geller for inadvertently cribbing material from neo-Nazi Hal Turner, who regularly calls for the mass murder of Jews.)
Damian P.

6 thoughts on “Out: 9/11 trooferism; In: Obama birth certificate trooferism

  1. Ran says:

    Damian, let’s be careful. Data is often larded with easily discredited bullshit in an effort to discredit the data.
    All Obama has to do… is to roll-out a real vault-copy birth certificate. Hawaii’s “Certificate of Live Birth” is offered to all living babies – native and foreign born – for official purposes, and thus is of no significance as evidence of birth in Hawaii. It is totally reasonable for Keyes and others to demand to see the record copy. Indeed, as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, it is Obama’s duty to do so.
    The question of the birth certificate would be less of an issue if his Kenyan grandmother hadn’t been taped saying that she had assisted with his birth at the local clinic. Compound that with the Kenyan Ambassador waxing proudly on radio that Obama was a native son.
    It’s rather shameful that the Obama team haven’t put the whole thing to rest. It would be so easy and rapid. Their failure and obstinacy has fueled a lot of understandable resentment.
    A lot of people here don’t really care so much about Obama’s provenance, either way. Like “affirmative action” they are willing to give a loser the pass purely to assuage guilt.
    What bugs me is this: I do care that rational people such as Pam Geller are dismissed as “troofer” fools – and by extension, all of their work as bullshit – based on a presumption of unknown value. Chuck Johnson is now the standard for “moderate” credibility? Are you sure you want to hold by that standard?
    I’ve not read Johnson yet on the subject nor Geller, yet. What I have read puts them both in the moderate Right camp – Geller, a libertarian from what I’ve read. Both of them are rational and responsible, even if neither of them are beyond error.
    Care with the “troofer” and “far-right fringe” labels, please.

  2. philanthropist says:

    If Obama was delivered by C-section then he should be thrown out of office, but it sounds like he was ‘natural born’, so he’s okay by the Constitution.

  3. Adam C. Sieracki says:

    Doesn’t anyone think it’s more than a bit odd that Obama–so candid about things like his past cocaine use–is fighting the release of something as mundane as his birth certificate? Also, why is that nobody can give a definitive answer as to which hospital he was born at, or who the obstitrician was?
    Obama is a very famous (Presidency, Oprah appearances, books, Senate) person, yet nobody has any cute “I remember baby Barack!” anecdotes. Surely SOMEONE (hospital staff, other patients) would recall a Midwestern girl, with an unusually-named mullatto baby, in early ’60s Hawaii? People from the hospital I was born at (closed for years) recall my mother…even the physician who delivered me remembered my NAME, when I ran into him recently.
    Attacking everywhone who dares raise this issue as “racist tinfoil-hatted birther nutjobs” isn’t good investigative journalism. The newsmedia happilly reported illegally-obtained records of ‘Joe the Plumber’, after he embarrassed The One at a photo-op, by asking a question. Yet properly-filed requests in a courthouse, demanding to see a simple record from an elected official, are dismissed by the media as crap.
    The fact that the media-telecom sector/National Association of Broadcasters funded Obama’s campaign to the tune of tens of millions of dollars means that they can’t be counted on as an ‘objective’ and ‘critical’ source of news. For independant ‘journalists’ to toe the commericial press line is appalling.

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