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August 04, 2009

A Reluctant Apology of Birther Madness

-Patrick S Lasswell

Michael Totten took me to task for an explanation of Virginia Republicans who chose to, or were suckered into, revealing Obama Derangement Syndrome. I haven't had a Virginia driver's license since 1995, I never registered to vote there, and certainly don't indulge in that particular dementia, but whenever Michael is looking for explanation of otherwise inexcusable GOP behavior, I'm the go-to guy. (To be fair, I stick him with trying to explain BDS and other leftist insanity, so I suppose turn about is fair play.) Here's what I can come up with.

A whole lot depends on how the question is phrased and how the answers are marked. There is a fair amount of willful idiocy on all sides towards the "where there's smoke there must be fire" nonsense. People are inclined to give credence to a sober questioner who is asking a series of serious questions that include a handful of wowzer items. I suspect that some of these polls are reverse opposition polling where irrational questions are phrased in reasonable terms and the results are tailored to indicate that certain groups are nutty. Virginia is a swing state and investing in making the Republicans look crazy is money well spent for a lot of political groups.

There is also a fair amount of belief that if the guy who beat you must be wrong in a variety of ways, it isn't just that you lost. Look at how many people fell for the BS about Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. A fair number of lazy thinkers would rather discount their enemy than accept responsibility for their loss. In conversations with Republicans here in Oregon, I've heard a fair few people willing to fall for the “we wuz robbed!” indulgence.

Some of this is also distant reverberations of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Back in the day, accusing a Stuart of infidelity and other tomfoolery regarding dynastic succession made all kinds of sense. For a lot of people (English, Irish, Dutch, and French) who were involved in that fiasco and whose descendants many of us are, the charge that the person in charge is not lawful by birth feels better than acknowledging that the guy in charge is legitimate, although a schmuck.

Records of any kind from forty years ago are crap compared to today. Computers and additional wealth provide us with dozens of authoritative indicators now that weren't around back then. Future historians will have problems sorting through document overload, but until automated data processing came into play, official papers were rare and valuable. Truth to be told, I have no idea where my original birth certificate is, I've used a replacement for quite some time. I moved from my birthplace three weeks after I was born and I've spent less than three days there since. But for people who are under thirty, stacks of documents are the norm and paucity is suspicious.

Finally, Obama's dad was more than a bit of jerk and his behavior in abandoning his wife and child and going back to Kenya in no way reflects well on his son. The way his mom dealt with that at the time and Obama the way glossed over that in his books poses some fundamental questions of character that were hardly scrutinized by the major media last year. That lack of scrutiny invites rumors and innuendo. If the press had been doing their job and running down every lead with serious analysis, there wouldn't be so many people looking for fire behind the smoke screen of Obama's personal history.

Of course, none of the above explanations matter, nothing excuses idiocy and insanity that loses elections to such corrupt individuals. Once the Supreme Court justice swears the individual in, he or she is the President of the United States. That is the deal and it does no good forging papers, wearing tinfoil hats, or otherwise indulging derangement. Failing sanity checks will always lose elections, except possibly in New Orleans. If we want responsible government instead of Chicago cronyism, we need to act like people who trusting with a vote would be a good plan.

Sober up Republicans; in Virginia and around the country. Obama is President. He may stink at the job because of his beliefs and his beholdings, but he is legitimately in office.

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