Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama, Birthers, and the Assholes and Idiots Theory

I really should stop thinking, not to mention blogging, about the birthers, but this is just so much fun! It's not like shooting fish in a barrel - it's like shooting DEAD fish in a barrel. Big fish. In a small barrel.

Andrew Sullivan had a moment of confusion and made some noise about needing to see the original birth certificate as an example of Obama's commitment to transparency, but then apparently had some coffee, and came to his senses.

Just for fun, let's review how completely idiotic this whole thing is. When a controversy - or alleged controversy - like this comes up, the people promoting the "alternative" view usually at least have some kind of evidence on their side. When there are lots of uncertain facts, as in, for example, the Kennedy assassination, that's legitimate. But here's the thing about this question of whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States of America: there is absolutely no counter evidence. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. There is no evidence that his birth certificate is anything other than what it appears to be. There is no evidence that there is another birth certificate.

But there is also no evidence about the ancillary issues that might raise questions. That comes down to one question: is there any evidence whatsoever that his mother was anywhere other than Hawaii when he was born? Let's break it down even more:

Is there any evidence that his mother was anywhere other than Hawaii BEFORE Obama was born? No.
Is there any evidence that his mother was anywhere other than Hawaii AFTER Obama was born? No.
Is there any evidence that his father was anywhere other than Hawaii BEFORE Obama was born? No.
Is there any evidence that his father was anywhere other than Hawaii AFTER Obama was born? No.

Is there any evidence that Obama's mother and father were not married at the time that he was born? No.

Hawaii is a very isolated place. It is physically and financially difficult to go from Hawaii to the US mainland, let alone another country, let alone a country, like Kenya, on the other side of the world. Obama's mother was 18 when he was born. She presumably had very little money or income. His father was a graduate student, again, presumably not well off.

Is there any evidence that either his mother or father had either the means or the inclination to be somewhere other than Hawaii when Obama was born? No.

Obama's mother would have needed a passport to leave the country. Is there any evidence, in the form of a passport, that indicates that she did so? No. Any plane tickets? No. Pictures of them on vacation in Kenya? No.

One last point on the evidence front: If Obama were not a natural born citizen of the US, he obviously is one now. So at some point he would have had to apply to be a citizen of this country. Is there any evidence that either he or his mother or anyone else ever did so? No.

What's really fun is watching the stalwarts of the conservative moment finally coming to terms with this insanity. TPM has a rundown of some of the people who normally go all-out attacking Obama - Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter - playing their own desperate version of whack-a-mole with these people.

This is a great example of the Assholes and Idiots Theory. One corollary of the A & I Theory is that assholes and idiots can only be contained by those within their party/movement/organization. Robert Gibbs and every liberal blog under the sun can call this nonsense what it is, it won't make one iota of difference. But when Ann Coulter, who is making a living just being a blonde conservative dominatrix, slams the birthers, they have to pay attention. O'Reilly and Coulter agree - irony alert - with liberals on one point: this is bad for conservatism. It's a distraction from, you know, policy discussions, and it makes the GOP look like it is beholden to its lunatic fringe. Clinton contained the assholes and idiots with his Sister Souljah moment (not that she was either). He made it clear that he would stand up to the angry left. O'Reilly and Coulter can whack a few moles, but to really nip this in the bud, someone with something really at stake - i.e. an elected official - is going to have to stand up to them. That will be interesting. And even more fun.

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