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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The "Obama Birthday Surprise"

It's Barack Obama's 48th birthday. While I do have some real policy issues with him (I fear a quagmire in Afghanistan, among other issues), those can wait. After all, it IS his natal day, wherever he was born.

OK, I jest, but that is my basic point. I think that too many people, including me, have gotten caught up with the various attacks on the President, from whether he's a natural-born citizen of the United States to whether he's a racist (Jeremiah Wright -I heard invoked by Glenn Beck just recently - to Skip Gates) to whether he's a socialist (single payer health care). Or merely the Antichrist who wants to euthanize old people. What we've been missing, what I've been missing, with all those trees, is the forest.

I've become convinced that the proponents of these theories don't need to PROVE the smears against Obama as unAmerican (by birth or by values). It's merely necessarily to repeat them over and over. And over and over and over again.

Take the birthers, please. Jon Stewart pretty much eviscerated their points a couple weeks ago. The very next day, I get an e-mail that goes on and on and on about how the group (I won't bother identifying them) will lead a campaign to "FAX All 50 State Attorneys General To Investigate Obama's Birthday FRAUD"
According to published reports,[WHAT published reports?] Barack Obama's legal team has been paid over one million dollars, so far, to STOP anyone from seeing ANY of his actual identification documents, or many other documents:
* Actual long-form birth certificate (NOT an easily-forged electronic copy of a short-form document that is not even officially accepted in Hawaii)
except by legal authorities in Hawaii...
* Columbia University senior thesis, "Soviet Nuclear Disarmament" - writing about the USSR; maybe he's also a Communist? ...
* Obama's client list from during his time in private practice with the Chicago law firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Gallard Hey, yeah, and while you're at it, reveal why the clients were there. But wait, wouldn't that violate lawyer-client privilege?
* Baptism records
* Obama/Dunham marriage license
* Obama/Dunham divorce documents
* Soetoro/Dunham marriage license
* Soetero/Dunham Adoption records

But would even THAT be sufficient? Ask David Hernandez.
It's a longer list, but it's brilliant in its innuendo.

The point is that it does not matter what Obama does; he will be criticized. And not on legitimate grounds, such as the deficit, but over specious stuff.

Take the mundane example of the so-called "beer summit". Obama was criticized for his choice of beer - Bud Light. But think about it: don't you believe he'd be criticized for ANY pick he made? If he'd picked a German beer, he'd be criticized for not picking a domestic brew. (Is Anheuser-Busch still considered "domestic" now that InBev owns it?) Even a selection of Sam Adams would have been picked as blue state elitist, I'm willing to bet. There was never going to be a satisfactory choice.

So for the President's birthday, we should vow to vow not to get confounded by the - dare I say it? - vast right-wing conspiracy - designed to make sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing. Let us hold this President accountable for the substantive issues, but ignore the politics of distraction. And distraction it is, though it has the capacity of being believed. The repetition gives some the belief that "Where there's smoke, there's fire," except that it's the same cabal blowing smoke.


Uthaclena said...

Truth to tell, what the "Birthers" are afraid to come right out and say is, 'I don't accept Barack Hussein Obama as my President under any circumstances, and I will cling to any lame-@$$ excuse to avoid doing so!'

But they are fun to mock! ;-)

Scott said...

Excellent stuff Roger.

And as a beer snob and supporter (for the most part) of the President, I was disappointed with his choice of beer. HOWEVER, maybe he chose it because it was something light for a hot day, and he still needed to go back to work after that. Just playing devil's advocate.

Greg said...

I would criticize his choice of beer because Bud Light SUCKS. You know it's true!

I read a column in our newspaper recently about birth certificates. The guy was getting one and the government (or whoever takes care of these things) e-mailed him one that looks a great deal like Obama's. Apparently that's the way they do things these days, because it saves money. It's perfectly legal even if it doesn't look like a "real" birth certificate. Most of the whiners about his birth certificate, beyond being what Uthaclena says, are also probably terrified of "technology" and want every birth certificate hand-lettered by monks or something.

Nik said...

I'm interested in your take as to whether the birthers are implicit racists. I really, really get a big "we can't say we don't want a black president so let's cook up a conspiracy about his foreeee-gin Mus-loom roots and get him out of office that way" vibe, myself. It's impolite now to be out and out racist I think but this is a much more insidious approach. Not living in the US I don't see all the coverage, but has anyone seen ANY "black birthers"?

Roger Owen Green said...

Scott, Greg- I'm not a beer drinker. Think it has to do with the smell of stale beer in a once-busy college bar at 5 a.m., before it's been scrubbed down; now all beer tastes like that smell to me.

Nik- are birthers all racists? Well, they're all afraid of the "radicalizing" change that Obama's election portends, at least in their minds. Certainly, race plays a part, implicitly or explicitly. And it's not just racism against him being black; from what I have read/able to stomach, this has to do with race mixing that his parents engaged in. Even though he was not American, the idea of the black buck (the elder Obama) having his way with "our" white woman is as distasteful to some now as it was in the antebellum South. By calling into question his birth, it suggests that Obama the younger is illegitimate, in every sense of the word.

The ONLY black birther I know is Alan Keyes, former GOP candidate for President, a carpetbagger from Maryland (I believe) who ran against Barack Obama in the US Senate race in Illinois in 2004.