‘Nirth Certifikit’ Kooks Get a Write-Up at Politico
Ben Smith doesn’t quite get the name right; it’s “Nirthers” (after one of the conspiracy bloggers missed the ‘B’ key and hit ‘N’, then left the misspelling in the post’s title for at least a day): Culture of conspiracy: The Birthers.
And yes, these idiots are embarrassing — to themselves. LGF is on record blowing the whistle on this long-debunked rumor from very early on.
Bill Clinton had the Vince Foster “murder.” George W. Bush had 9/11 Truth. And the new administration has brought with it a new culture of conspiracy: The Birthers.
Out of the gaze of the mainstream and even the conservative media is a flourishing culture of advocates, theorists and lawyers, all devoted to proving that Barack Obama isn’t eligible to be president of the United States. Viewed as irrelevant by the White House, and as embarrassing by much of the Republican Party, the subculture still thrives from the conservative website WorldNetDaily, which claims that some 300,000 people have signed a petition demanding more information on Obama’s birth, to Cullman, Alabama, where Sen. Richard Shelby took a question on the subject at a town hall meeting last week.
Their confinement to the fringe hasn’t cooled the passion of believers; the obscure New York preacher James Manning turned up at a National Press Club session in December to declare the president “the most notorious criminal in the history not just of America, but of this entire planet.”
A quick reality check, before we dive in: The challenges to Obama’s eligibility have no grounding in evidence. Courts across the country have summarily rejected the movement’s theory — that Obama can’t be a citizen because his father wasn’t —as a misreading of U.S. law; and Hawaii officials, along with contemporary birth announcements, affirm that Obama was in fact born in Honolulu in 1961.
But belief in obscure, discredited theories is a constant in a country with a history of partisan division — a country in which, a recent survey showed, 34 percent of the public believes in UFOs and 24 percent believes in witches..
But the thriving birth-obsessed fringe also poses political risks and opportunities for the Obama White House, coming as it does after a campaign that devoted a substantial effort to rebutting another, now fading, myth — that Obama is a Muslim who would insist on being sworn in on the Koran.