Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obama's Birth Certificate and the GOP

The latest cases of distraction on the right being pushed focuses on President Obama's birth certificate. One woman even took over a Republican's townhall meeting, while another supporter refused to serve in the military proclaiming the President isn't a citizen. Even El Rushbo has gotten into the fray creating the implication he may not have kicked the prescription drugs yet.

The conspiracies abound, including the official birth certificate from the state of Hawaii is a forgery. However, Snopes debunks these myths, as does factcheck.org, and Republican Congressman Castle (DE) admits President Obama is a legal citizen.

The discussion has created legal cases that have not won a single case and have not had enough merit for the USSC to bother to review them. Keep in mind, the vast majority of the judiciary has been appointed by Republican Presidents, including seven USSC Justices.

One has to wonder exactly why these people believe this in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It is pretty clear that this is the result of punditry and the real implications of GOP innuendo that they have used for years, and have taken to new heights in the last decade. This is the same kind of strategic use of rhetoric that was used and made fun of, that we all laughed at in Wag the Dog, but Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney used to shift the topic to Iraq as a threat by proclaiming "we have no evidence that Saddam was behind 9/11" after 9/11 and created the long standing belief by core Republicans that he actually was.

It is this use of language in a way that creates these swells by using obviously wrong questions but hiding behind the "it was only a question" defense to spur minds to take off in conspiracy mode. Yesterday's Hardball interview with a Republican sponsoring a bill illustrated the point as the Congressman speaking of the need to pass a bill to force Presidential candidates to submit their official birth certificate before they run for office. The Congressman refused for most of the interview to admit that President Obama was a legitimate President, obfuscating the issue until the very end. At the end, he did admit it but not cleanly, leaving himself "wiggle room" to pander to this group.

It has to make you wonder if you need to create such conspiracies to keep your base together. It has to make you wonder if your best answers and best plans for the future of America are less important than a debunked question or charge to keep your base behind you. Maybe we are about to see the split of the GOP behind rational and conspiratorial Republicans. Either way, it does make it pretty clear that the right has a real problem with truth and rationality just the way GW had a problem with the two. Will they ever learn the lesson?

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