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Jul 24 2009

Yet More Birther Bullshit

Credit where it’s due: Rep. Dave Reichert has to do a tapdance for the crazies in his base, but at least he admits the President is a natural-born citizen and wishes him success:

Meanwhile, G. Gordon Liddy’s on Hardball bleating insanity:

G. Gordon Liddy, the man behind the first Watergate break-in and founding father of the “whacko wing” of the Republican party is now claiming that President Obama is an “undocumented illegal alien.” This afternoon, an oddly “catatonoic” Liddy told Chris Matthews that he has a written deposition from President Obama’s step-grandmother where she says that Obama was born in a hospital in Mombasa:

MATTHEWS: He [Obama] wasn’t born here and he’s never gone through a naturalization that you know of, right?

LIDDY: Not that I know of.

MATTHEWS: Therefore he’s here illegally. You’re saying he’s an undocumented alien.

LIDDY: Illegal alien.

His “proof” is a “deposition” from Obama’s step-grandmother. Only one wee problem with that:

Alex Koppelman looks more into Liddy’s claim:
What Liddy was referring to is actually an affidavit filed by a street preacher named Ron McRae, who conducted an interview with Sarah Obama, the second wife of President Obama’s grandfather, through a translator. (Sarah Obama is not the president’s biological grandmother, but he calls her “Granny Sarah.”)

In that interview, Sarah Obama does in fact say at one point that she was there for her grandson’s birth. But that was a mistake, a confusion in translation. As soon as a jubilant McRae began to press her for further details about her grandson being born in Kenya, the family realized the mistake and corrected him. And corrected him. And corrected him. (The audio is available for download here.)

Poor Granny Sarah and family. They don’t realize that once Cons misunderstand you, they’ll go on gleefully repeating what they thought you said no matter how many times you attempt to disabuse them of their notions.

I mean, hell, even the whole of CNN can’t rein Lou Dobbs in:

CNN’s Lou Dobbs has, by all appearances, gone mad. He now questions the citizenship status of the president on a daily basis, and tells his audience that he’s a victim of a “liberal media” conspiracy.

CNN has taken to debunking its own host over and over again.

In the wake of Lou Dobbs’ repeated claims on the July 15 edition of his radio show that President Obama needs to “produce a birth certificate” and that Obama’s birth certificate posted online has “some issues,” several of Dobbs’ CNN colleagues as well as other members of the media have debunked Obama birth certificate theories, often ridiculing those who embrace such theories as “nut jobs” who advance “ludicrous” claims that are “more conspiratorial than factual.” Indeed, according to the Los Angeles Times, CNN distanced itself from Dobbs’ comments. Reporter James Rainey wrote: “[O]ne CNN employee reminded me several times that Dobbs’ most pointed assertions were made on his radio program, which is unconnected to CNN.”

Nonetheless, Dobbs has continued to repeat the “birther” claims on both CNN and his radio show, stating on the July 20 edition of his CNN program that the birth certificate questions offered by “passionate supporters” “won’t go away because they haven’t been dealt with, it seems possible to, straightforwardly and quickly,” and saying on the July 21 edition of his CNN show, “We had people, including reporters from the LA Times, calling up because I referred to this. … Instead of calling the White House to ask why they didn’t do it, they’re calling me to ask why I said I don’t know what the reality is. No one does.” Additionally, on the July 21 edition of his radio show, Dobbs criticized “certain quarters of the national liberal media that are just absolutely trying to knock down the issue of President Obama’s birth certificate,” stating that they are “focused on being subservient and servile to this presidency rather than being inquisitive and doing their jobs with, you know, the White House.”

CNN, there’s an easy solution to this embarrassing problem of yours: ship his ass off to Faux News where he belongs.

That, however, is the least of our worries (h/t):

But there’s more to this story than Dobbs. And the phenomenon in play isn’t just about a birth certificate. And it’s also not isolated or accidental.

Because, yes, viewed in a vacuum, the movement seems like the nutty fringe. But viewed in a larger historical context, birthers share obvious ties to traditional right-wing assaults on previous Democrats, and birthers have all the marks of a GOP Noise Machine creation. The movement is about a larger, more sinister attempt to paint Obama as illegitimate, foreign,
and suspect (i.e. not like you and me). To portray him as “a gratuitous interloper,” as radio host G. Gordon Liddy put it. As someone who isn’t who he says he is. As — let’s face it — the Manchurian Candidate, with all the evil connotations that come with it. (“WHO SENT YOU???” von Brunn demanded to know of Obama.)

And it’s about the disturbing role media figures like Dobbs play when they act as the bridge — as the transmitter — between the radical and the mainstream. When they legitimize the craziness, if only in the eyes of the crazies themselves. As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted this week, “The home run for conspiracists of any stripe is when their ideas can leave the lunatic fringe and enter the mainstream.”

If our media and the Republican party weren’t so fucked in the head, none of this inane bullshit would’ve ever gained traction. It’s a sad indictment of both that the voices of reason within them are so few and far between, while so many enjoy playing right along with the conspiracy theorists.

Kudos to those sane enough to call bullshit when they see it.