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Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 02/11/2011

The GOP's post-birtherism

By Adam Serwer

After a Republican congressman from Idaho, Rep. Raul Labrador, made a joke implying that the president wasn't born in the U.S. at CPAC yesterday, Dave Weigel wrote "Striking just how mundane this seems now. Two years ago, this would have been headline news."

The erroneous belief that the president wasn't born in the United States is a view that was always less confined to the right wing fringe than Republicans would like to admit. But beyond conspiracy theorists like Orly Taitz and others still actually looking for the president's "real" birth certificate, and beyond the believers in the high-brow birtherism offered by the likes of Dinesh D'Souza, we now have "post-birtherism."

Since the Republican base has long seemed impossible to sway from clinging to certain symbolic beliefs in the face of verifiable facts, conservatives have adapted to birtherism by making a joke out of it. Does Labrador believe the president wasn't born in the United States? I'd be surprised if he did. Does Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect of the conservative movement's campaign against birthright citizenship? Again, I'd be shocked if he actually did. Birther jokes are common on right wing radio even if earnest birtherism is not.

But by making jokes about it, conservative political figures manage to avoid taking a position one way or the other. They mollify the birther elements of the Republican base who simply can't accept the legitimacy of a black man in the White House by signaling agreement with them, while allowing Republicans averse to conspiracy theorizing to dismiss it all as a jest. If a liberal expresses outrage over it, all the better -- they become the butt of the joke.

Even with post-birtherism, though, the ultimate objective, to undermine the president by portraying him as un-American, is achieved -- without sounding like you have a closet full of tinfoil hats.

By Adam Serwer  | February 11, 2011; 10:48 AM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Comments

The link to the "symbolic belief" chart in the article is instructive. The "Southern Strategy" is apparently bearing fruit.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 11, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Mubarak is out. He has turned the running of the country over to the military.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I have definitive evidence that Arnold Schwarzenegger was not born in America. And he ran California for 7 years!

The whole birther argument is worthless. Even if Obama was born outside the United States (technically, McCain was, too), it would mean he was disqualified from being president on a pure technicality, as he is as clear an American as any left-of-center politician is.

"Even with post-birtherism, though, the ultimate objective, to undermine the president by portraying him as un-American, is achieved -- without sounding like you have a closet full of tinfoil hats."

They still sound pretty lame, though, if you ask me.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 11, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@liam: Mubarak steps down.

It is awe-inspiring watching the Egyptians celebrating in the streets. What a victory for the people. Here's hoping it's a victory for democracy, too. I have a pretty good feeling about what is going to happen in Egypt...

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

If their bank accounts continue to suffer because of the loss of tourism, then the Egyptian military brass, which owns all the tourist hotels etc, will make Mubarak an offer he can not refuse.

No tourists are going to travel to Egypt while this is going on, so I would not be at all surprised if Mubarak resigns by Monday or sooner.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 7:16 PM
...............................

It looks like that is just what has happened.

Look out Despotic leaders of Jordan, Saudia Arabia, Syria, Libya, etc.

It will soon be your turn in the barrel.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

It is also time for Chemical Ali Suleiman to go.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Liam, I'm not sure you can put the King of Jordan in that group. I'll admit though I might have bought into the good guy image of him but just seeing him on the Daily Show and other mainstream programs the guy seems legit.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Good for Egypt -- not to be too negative ..

but what now that the military is in power? how willing will it be to give it back to civil authorities? asking out of a lack of any real knowledge of Egyptian politics or history.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 11, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

In the beginning was the "truthers" and the liberals saw them and it was good.

The "Truthers" begat the "birthers" and the liberals saw this and were sore amazed.

but Adam, the arc angel of the press, showed himself to the liberals and said: "Fear not, liberals, for all the world knows that they should do as the liberals say, not as the liberals do."

And the evening and the morning were the second term.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 11, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

@mike: "Liam, I'm not sure you can put the King of Jordan in that group. I'll admit though I might have bought into the good guy image of him but just seeing him on the Daily Show and other mainstream programs the guy seems legit."

Not until he stands for office in an open election, he ain't. ;)

Until then, he's just another tin-pot despot with good PR.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 11, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@NoVA: Can't answer your question about the army with any authority, but they did issue a communique which indicates they intend to manage a transfer to free elections and democratic government:

"Conduct needed legislative amendments and conduct free and fair presidential elections in light of the approved constitutional amendments.

"Second: The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people and achieving them by following on the implementation of these procedures in the defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed towards a free democratic community that the people aspire to."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/world/middleeast/11egypt-military-statement.html?_r=1

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

The Military elite have been part and parcel of the Mubarak regime. The Regime ran Egypt just like the Baath Party controlled Iraq.

Once the crowds leave the streets and the tourists start coming back, the Military elite will try their best to place their own people back in the Presidential Palace, and in The Parliament.

They are not going to let go of their cash cow, without being forced to do so. The people better not settle for what has happened today, or nothing will really change.


Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

lmao. Faux Noise had Karl Rove on to give the first analysis to this news. What a sorry excuse for a news agency.

Whomever is spilling the beans on Fox's propaganda outfit needs to keep going until its viewership realizes what they are being fed is 100% spin.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Liam, I'm not sure you can put the King of Jordan in that group. I'll admit though I might have bought into the good guy image of him but just seeing him on the Daily Show and other mainstream programs the guy seems legit.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 11:21 AM
......................

Let me put it for you in a nutshell.

After the protests started in Tunisia and Egypt, The King of Jordan started ordering that reforms begin.

That tells me all I want to know about him. If it took those protests to scare him into starting to reform the way the country was being ruled, then he has ruled as just another Despot, who is now trying to save his own neck.

Look up the history of how his Family ended up ruling Jordan. They were not even from there originally.

Israel better get their act together, and help the West Bank to stand up it's own nation, and get their religious extremist settlers out of the occupied land, before the large Palestinian population in Jordan comes to power.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Something that has been getting almost no media coverage.

Protests have start to grow and spread in Iraq, in the past few days.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I think it's important to remember that against all odds the oppressed in Egypt looking for freedom and democracy have toppled a regime without violence, with faith in their mission, and confidence in the people of their country. Let's also give them credit going forward to be able to work through he difficult days and months ahead to realize and achieve their goal. It should be a reminder to all of us what can be achieved through peaceful assembly and protest.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 11, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Yes, protests in Iraq. How strange for a democracy.

I understand that the protestors are upset about a slow legislative process and widespread corruption.

Corruption is endemic to the arab/muslim world. It is just a fact of life there, just as it is a fact of life in much of the former spanish empire.

If the Iraqis can manage to eliminate most of this they will have ended a practice with a history going back thousands of years.

The lesson for Americans in this is that corruption is deadly to prosperity. We should do whatever is necessary to weed it out. We should treat those convicted of corruption by throwing the book at them.

In cuyahoga county, Ohio a cadre of entrenched Democrat pols raped and pillaged the county and the city of cleveland. It took the FBI years to bring indictments against the king pins. In the meantime these rapists continued to be re elected.

As a demonstrated of just what sheep people can be it is noted that one of the principle figures in the scandal is a judge who was on the ballot for re election even though she was under indictment and suspended from her duties.

She still recieved more than 125,000 votes.

Sheep, and Democrats too. How amazing.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 11, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Is Soros all out of punch and pie, Laim?

Why isn't billionaire progressive George Soros financing any unhinged Leftist rent-a-mob rallies against ObaMao's summary execution of (un-Mirandized!) civilians by Reaper drone airstrikes in Pakistan?

Afterall, The Obamateur's tactics are clearly more "violent" than Mubarak's secret police beatings.

The Obamateur's policy to use Reaper drones to target (un-Mirandized!) civilians has increased markedly without a peep. Get busy, progressives.

Rev. Wright should burn a Koran every day until The Obamateur either releases his birth certificate or his regime flees the country.

*Rage against the machine*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

No skipsailing, the takeaway from this will be that this is how regime change in authoritarian countries should work. Egypt circa 2011 could very well have been Iraq 2006, without the Iraq War.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | February 11, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"Egypt circa 2011 could very well have been Iraq 2006"

LMAO!

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on Mitt Romney's CPAC speech:


http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/mitt_romneys_awkward_silence_o.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 11, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"I think it's important to remember that against all odds the oppressed in Egypt looking for freedom and democracy have toppled a regime without violence, with faith in their mission, and confidence in the people of their country. Let's also give them credit going forward to be able to work through he difficult days and months ahead to realize and achieve their goal. It should be a reminder to all of us what can be achieved through peaceful assembly and protest."

Hear! Hear!

And props to Obama b/c this story has a happy ending (so far at least) and that's what counts.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I notice that some of American Right Wingers are very upset that Mubarak has been ousted by The People of Egypt.

They keep telling us that this could be bad news for Israel, as if the human rights and full political freedoms of 80 Million Egyptians should be denied, on behalf of a very small neighbor, who just happens to be engaging in incremental ethnic cleansing and annexing of land in the West Bank.

I say that The People of Egypt have every right to "take back their country", regardless of if Israel likes it or not.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't think they've achieved anything through the birther movement. They took a group of people who's hatred of Obama scored 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 and moved it to 11. Everyone else realizes this is a farce. If unemployment was 7.5 % instead of 9%, Obama would have >60% approval and the Republicans would be hoping that Haley Barbour runs in 2012 so they don't have to recruit Michele Bachmann.

The fact that the birther movement doesn't gain attention any more says to me that its moment has passed. People looked at it, realized there wasn't anything to it, got in their cars, and went to work.

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

[oldabandonedbeachhouse: "Egypt circa 2011 could very well have been Iraq 2006, without the Iraq War."]

Rubbish. Egypt February 2011 is merely Lebanon January 2011. The Cedar Revolution collapse in "secular" Lebanon (to Iran's terrorist proxy, Hezbollah) and Egypt's collapse to the Muslim Brotherhood (greater Hamas) are each testimonies to the abysmal failure of The Obamateur's "smaht" power.

*slouching toward sharia*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, the markets were indifferent, maybe slightly up so I guess the power brokers don't see a problem with what is happening in Egypt as much as people like Bolton and teh there is a terrorist hiding under every bed crowd.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Birther is a Synonym for Turnip.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

lol. How can you even listen to CPAC with what's going on. What a snooze fest.


And Kaddafi, where do you learn to write like that? It cracks me up. I can't figure out if you think we should take you seriously or not.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington - re KaddafiDelendaEst

Like a drunken Umberto Eco stumbling down the alley. Still a lot smarter than you (me), but somehow not living up to his potential.

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Mike,

Please stop feeding him.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I see the "they will greet us like liberators" crowd will now fill us in on why Iraq couldn't have been like Egypt. This should be good.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | February 11, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, protests in Iraq. How strange for a democracy."

Up until now all the demonstrations were happening for the most part under dictatorships, feudalistic societies and mock democracies.

Or are you trying to give praise to Bush for Iraqi protests or something?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

[Laim drooled: "The People of Egypt have every right to "take back their country"]

And now their "every right" will disappear with implementation of sharia.

Obviously, the Muslim Brotherhood isn't in the game for just a little Sharia.

Non-Muslim religious minority rights and the basic physical safety of the Copts (deplorable even under Mubarak) will now disappear.

The rights of women, and the practice of female genital mutilation (which is widespread in Egypt) will degrade entirely.

Egypt's foreign policy under Muslim Brotherhood will export Islamo-supremacism.

The peace treaty with Israel is gone.

The Obamateur's reverse domino effect of moderate regime collapse (Lebanon, Egypt) will likely continue.

Those are but a few implications-- there are others.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Between Liam worrying about military control and kaddafi worrying about the Muslim Brotherhood you'd think that what we just witnessed in Egpyt was some sort of tragedy?

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the demonstration there.

The right wing continues to get nuttier and nuttier. Hopefully they will have alienated everyone by 2012.

Posted by: Alex3 | February 11, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I notice that some of American Right Wingers are very upset that Mubarak has been ousted by The People of Egypt.

They keep telling us that this could be bad news for Israel, as if the human rights and full political freedoms of 80 Million Egyptians should be denied, on behalf of a very small neighbor, who just happens to be engaging in incremental ethnic cleansing and annexing of land in the West Bank.

I say that The People of Egypt have every right to "take back their country", regardless of if Israel likes it or not.

...............................

Right Wing Nut Jobs sure love Sunni And Sharia's version of I've Got You Babe.


Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

zomg! A militant Muslim Brotherhood!

We're doomed!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst - Just to cross the t's and dot the i's. You think we should have propped up Mubarak against the will of the Egyptian people. Sounds good to me. Why don't we send him some nerve gas to douse the crowd with as well and then try him as a war criminal when his usefulness to us has expired? While we're at it, that is.

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The Spanish Inquisition is also everywhere, so they will foil the omnipresent Muslim Brothers In The Hood.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The Spanish Inquisition!!

Posted by: Alex3 | February 11, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

[willows1 drooled: "You think we should have propped up Mubarak against the will of the Egyptian people."]

No. I think The Obamateur (like Bubbah before him) was already propping Mubarak up. The Obamateur should have kept his stupid trap shut and let the Egyptian's handle it themselves.

Let’s pose a little history test. What American President said this, and where did he say it?

"So let me be clear, no system of government can or should be imposed on one nation by any other."
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/9971788/Barack_Obamas_10_mistakes_in_Cairo/

The Obamateur figured that the Egyptians wouldn’t remember that Cairo speech. Wrong!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110210/pl_afp/egyptunrestus

A top Egyptian minister accused the United States of imposing its "will" on its Arab ally, as the White House warned that Cairo had failed to even reach a “minimum threshold” for reform.

“When you speak about ‘prompt,’ ‘immediate,’ ‘now,’ as if you are imposing on a great country like Egypt, a great friend that has always maintained the best of relationship with the United States, you are imposing your will on him,” Abul Gheit said.
=====

[The Obamateur might want to consult his own Cairo speech to the Egyptians from less than two years ago.]

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@NoVA: "but what now that the military is in power?"

Um... Mubarak -was- the military.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

zomg! A militant Muslim Brotherhood!

We're doomed!

Posted by: mikefromArlington
-------------------------------------
Zoinks and I live very close to the Muslim captial of the US, Dearborn, MI. I read on a blog yesterday that they already imposed Sharia law there.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst - Okay, now I understand a little better. You belong to the Jennifer Rubin school of "Obama is wrong because he is Obama".

First of all, it isn't like Obama was holding a sign in Tahrir Square or ordering drones to attack the Presidential Palace in Cairo. He was watching a popular uprising in Egypt, Mubarak's intransigence, and a deteriorating situation. Giving Mubarak the final push out the door was probably the most appropriate thing for the US to do.

Second, if your concern is about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, then getting involved makes sense because you want to have credibility among the moderate forces. If your concern is to have a truly laissez-faire approach to foreign policy then it is a real possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood would take over and you have to be okay with that. If your concern is for Israel's safety, then you would want to prop up Mubarak. If your concern is for Democracy, then you would side with the people. Any of these positions makes sense logically. What doesn't make sense is to bemoan the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the threat to Israel and then advise that the US should be completely neutral on the question of Egypt.

Thirdly, this was a question of setting the conditions for the Egyptians to form their own government. Mubarak was pretty clearly standing in the way of that. Obama is not telling the Egyptians how to set up their government or when to hold elections or who should be allowed on the ballot. He is supporting the idea that Mubarak was the chief obstacle to the Egyptians doing these things and saying that he needed to be removed in order to allow the formation of a popular government to proceed. So, let's listen to Obama once again:

"So let me be clear, no system of government can or should be imposed on one nation by any other."
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/9971788/Barack_Obamas_10_mistakes_in_Cairo/

DelendaEst indeed.

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

[willows1 drooled: "I understand... "Obama is wrong because he is Obama".]

In this case, The Obamateur is wrong for making "Unholy Alliance" with Islamo-supremacists.

The Muslim Brotherhood are appealiig to Leftist conceits-- and The Obamateur is just stupid enough to believe them.

Here's the PROOF: This is Obama's Code Pinko toadies working with the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists.
http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2011/01/29/did-muslim-brotherhood-learn-day-of-rage-egypt-protest-tactics-from-obama-allies-bill-ayers-and-code-pink/

Do Leftists honestly think Americans don't see what Leftists are doing?

The Obamateur is now prepared to officially embrace the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/02/AR2011020206550.html

"Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!"
[Matt. 23:24]

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst -

mmmmkay....

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

37th Congress 2nd Session House of Representatives 1862
JOHN BINGHAM
Who are natural born citizens?

All persons born within the Republic, OF PARENTS OWING ALLEGIANCE TO NO OTHER SOVEREIGNTY, ARE NATURAL BORN CITIZENS.

Posted by: borderraven | February 11, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Edith Coats Hawaii Longform 1962 #151- 62 - 08498
http://passportsusa.com/wp-content/gallery/passportusa/edith_front.jpg
http://passportsusa.com/wp-content/gallery/passportusa/edith_rear.jpg
http://passportsusa.com/?page_id=209

Edith Coats' Birth Certificate is stamped on the rear:
"I CERTIFY THIS IS A TRUE COPY OF THE RECORD ON FILE IN THE HAWAII STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH""

Edith Coats has displayed a true copy of an original birth certificate, which contains public and confidential information.

- - -
Barack Obama's COLB:
http://passportsusa.com/wp-content/gallery/passportusa/barack_rear.jpg

Barack Obama's COLB is stamped on the rear:
"I CERTIFY THIS IS A TRUE COPY OR ABSTRACT OF THE RECORD ON FILE IN THE HAWAII STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH""

Hawaii still holds historic paper an microfilm. In two official publicstatements claimed in possession of Obama's original.
He can get a true photo copy on request.

Accept no BS, Hold Obama to the Constitutional requirements or lose future US sovereignty.

Posted by: borderraven | February 11, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Prima facie is a Latin expression meaning on its first appearance, or at first sight.
The literal translation would be "at first face".

In layman's terms "prima facie" means there is something to back it up. You can accept the prima facie as true for now, but you can request the original later.
Let me explain it this way:
I post a photo of me on the Internet, holding one-hundred $100 bills, and say that I will send $100 to the first 100 people who send $20 to my offshore address.
How soon will your check be in the mail?

Posted by: borderraven | February 11, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

borderraven - I'd love to see Darryl Issa open an investigation into Obama's citizenship. Obama should obstruct, obstruct, obstruct and let the whole thing drag on and then lower the hammer about six months before the 2012 election. That should quash their petty rebellion.

Posted by: willows1 | February 11, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

How soon will your check be in the mail?

Posted by: borderraven | February 11, 2011 2:17 PM
+++++++++

Amazing. Borderraving appears the instant the word "birther" occurs on a blog.

And as misinformed as ever.

The problem with your example of "prima facie" is this:

Legally, it irrelevant whether the $100 bills you hold up in a photo are authentic. Completely irrelevant. Rather, you are making an offer of a contract, which people can accept by performing their side of the bargain (sending $20). The first 100 people who send their $20 have a legally binding contract with you (again, regardless of whether the bills you flashed are real).

The reason no sane person will send the check is that it is too easy for you to violate the terms of the contract, and the cost of enforcing the contract far exceeds the value of the contract.

Now, if you want to place $100 in a neutral escrow, with a promise that when that neutral escrow receives my $20 then I will get your $100, I'll make that deal. And you won't even need to post a picture. Because I don't need to see more pictures of your fat old body.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | February 11, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

KDE simply belongs to the Church of the Perpetually Confused.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

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