Birther control


Our local newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, endorsed Ronald Reagan for president twice, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush for governor, twice, and for president twice, and John McCain.  When we moved here, the “liberal” columnist for the paper was a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon.  In short, over the past 30 years, there are few conservative causes the paper hasn’t liked and promoted if not outright endorsed.

For years they ran Doonsebury on the opposite editorial page.  Sadly, they got rid of their full-time editorial cartoonist, who was very conservative — but those editorial cartoonists they do feature rarely come from left of John C. Calhoun.

Overall it’s a pretty good newspaper, but it has a conservative streak that just won’t quit.  Friends of Barack Obama do not live in the Belo Building, so far as I can tell.

Got the idea yet?  The Dallas Morning News does nothing to favor Barack Obama, especially gratuitously.

So my jaw hit the floor this morning when I opened the paper and saw this headline on an editorial — not an op-ed, but an honest-to-publisher editorial:

Birther Control

This conspiratorial nonsense needs to stop

The online headline isn’t as clever, nor as clear, but the content of the editorial is there.

A year after then-candidate Barack Obama released a birth record showing he was born in Hawaii, the president-isn’t-a-natural-born-citizen mythology is gaining a troubling second wind.

Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, a conservative Republican, recently was booed loudly for defending Obama’s citizenship and his right to be president during a town hall meeting. Several conservative politicians are now coyly perpetuating the fake-citizenship myth. And Florida Rep. Bill Posey has gone so far as to sponsor a bill with several Republican co-signers that would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate.

Maybe this is the way political disputes play out in the Internet Age, but we think it is disgusting and dangerous. Someone flings a charge, then lets word of mouth, e-mail blasts and talk-show chatter turn an easily debunked allegation into a full-fledged circus of conspiratorial cover-up theories. Americans deserve better and need to demand some responsibility – especially from elected officials who seem most interested in playing to the worst instincts the political fringe has to offer.

Absolutely.  Time to call it a day, birthers.

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Full Dallas Morning News editorial, below the fold.

[Headline from the printed version]

Birther Control

This conspiratorial nonsense needs to stop

01:57 PM CDT on Friday, July 24, 2009

A year after then-candidate Barack Obama released a birth record showing he was born in Hawaii, the president-isn’t-a-natural-born-citizen mythology is gaining a troubling second wind.

Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, a conservative Republican, recently was booed loudly for defending Obama’s citizenship and his right to be president during a town hall meeting. Several conservative politicians are now coyly perpetuating the fake-citizenship myth. And Florida Rep. Bill Posey has gone so far as to sponsor a bill with several Republican co-signers that would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate.

Maybe this is the way political disputes play out in the Internet Age, but we think it is disgusting and dangerous. Someone flings a charge, then lets word of mouth, e-mail blasts and talk-show chatter turn an easily debunked allegation into a full-fledged circus of conspiratorial cover-up theories. Americans deserve better and need to demand some responsibility – especially from elected officials who seem most interested in playing to the worst instincts the political fringe has to offer.

There should be more politicians like Castle who say what needs to be said – the truth. Conservatives may harbor legitimate policy differences with Obama, but allowing this off-base attack regarding the president’s citizenship to gain any foothold is simply dishonest

“Birthers,” as these conspiracy mongers are known, theorize that Obama’s mother gave birth to the future president in Kenya in 1961. Under one odd interpretation, Obama’s 18-year-old mother, an American citizen, didn’t meet an obscure law requiring her to have lived in the United States for at least five years after the age of 14 in order for her son to be eligible for the presidency. Other birthers argue that because Obama’s father was Kenyan, the president has dual citizenship and is ineligible to sit in the White House. Still others claim his birth document is a forgery.

Never mind that Hawaii has confirmed Obama’s “certificate of live birth” as a valid birth certificate. Never mind that a birth announcement was printed in a Hawaii paper in 1961. Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court last year dismissed a legal challenge to his citizenship.

It’s perfectly legitimate for any citizen to challenge any president’s policies – in fact, the American democratic system demands it. But the screwy idea that a freely elected president somehow isn’t the legitimate holder of the office is a dangerous chant that undermines the cherished institution.

In dark corners of the Internet, some wing nuts still allege that the president is a closet Muslim, just as others claim that former President George W. Bush knowingly allowed the 9/11 attacks for the purpose of some grand political gain. These attacks from both political extremes are vicious and baseless. They deserve rebuke.

It’s bad enough for those on the extreme edges of politics to tilt at windmills, but it’s far worse for those who should know better to fuel this paranoia.

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8 Responses to Birther control

  1. Nick K says:

    Well maybe there is some hope for the Republicans after all.

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    They’d be happy with two cheers.

    Note the date on my post. I moved it to the top because I commented at a Baltimore TV station site on Luke Scott’s (I hope temporary) insanity, and several readers there are clicking over.

    See here:

    http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2010/12/08/os-outfielder-luke-scott/

    Like

  3. Two cheers for The Dallas Morning News! I’d give them three cheers, but they seem to be pretending the internet is all bad.

    Like

  4. [...] only appears by name in a bizarre accounting of everything ever said on the issue (except for the lack of evidence and reasons this case will fail which, oddly, isn’t included in the complaint; everything [...]

    Like

  5. Nick Kelsier says:

    What I’d like to know is when the birthers are going to go after John McCain.

    After all he was born in Panama. And apparently it wasn’t on a US military base.

    Like

  6. Grung_e_Gene says:

    Interesting, when I joined the Corps as an 02 I had to provide a Birth Certificate. What I got from the County of Cook, State of Illinois, Office of the County Clerk was (drum roll) a Certification of Birth.

    No Doctor’s Signature, No name of the Hospital, No Long Form and I had a very high clearance, which I used in the commission of my duties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Why aren’t the Birthers ensuring the Corps is not allowing foreign nationals access to highly classified information and intel with which to undercut the Take Back America Tea Baggers?

    Well, sarcasm aside everyone knows the Insane Right Wing are latched onto this issue like remoras because the ignorant followers of Limbaugh and Hannity who’ve never seen War, who’ve never seen the misery of human beings in another country, who have no reasoning capability and no critical thinking skills with which to analyze their beloved Demagouges will use this to manipulate those brainwashed unfortunates into further support for a Party which views them as nothing more than Chattel.

    Like

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