La Commedia e Finita

The longstanding debate about President Barack Obama’s birthplace is now over, or at least so declares Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. After more than five years of making public insinuations that Obama was born in Kenya and thus constitutionally ineligible to be president, Trump on Friday told his usual throng of adoring supporters and skeptical reporters that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
Trump’s 30-second-or-so comments came more than 20 minutes into a news conference that his campaign had promised would include a “major announcement” on the issue of Obama’s birthplace, during which time all the cable news networks had been snookered into airing a commercial for the fancy new Trump hotel down the street from the White House and some glowing testimonials from a group of decorated military veterans, and all his adoring supporters considered that a shrewd manipulation of the media. Many of the media even admitted as much, but we suspect those suckered and now all-the-more-skeptical reporters and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton were willing trade that 20 minutes of little-watched infomercial for a chance to spend much of the weekend reminding the public that Trump had for years peddled a crackpot conspiracy theory he now admits was bunk all along.
The Washington Post even headlined one of its many stories “For Democrats, a fresh chance to remind voters of Trump’s role in ‘birtherism,‘” and all the big papers and all those snookered cable news networks clearly reveled in re-telling the embarrassing tale. Although the “birther” theory about Obama’s Kenyan birth had been rattling around the far reaches of the internet going back to his run for the Senate, and was occasionally mentioned in the more mainstream press during his primary race against Clinton during his first presidential campaign, it didn’t gain wide currency until Trump started taking time off from his “Apprentice” reality show to champion the cause. In “tweets” and appearances on talk shows cited he noted how “many people are saying” that Obama was foreign-born, and that “credible sources” were insisting, and even that he had dispatched a team of crack investigators to Hawaii and that “they can’t believe what they’re finding,” and he also expressed his own suspicions, although he was always careful never to come out and say he’d reached any conclusion. Now that he acknowledges Obama was born in America, period, Trump probably should be embarrassed.
Trump being Trump, though, he was instead quite proud of himself for putting that distracting and needlessly media-created controversy to rest by forcing the president to release his birth certificate. “Hillary Clinton started it,” Trump proclaimed, “and I finished it.” Both claims were widely ridiculed over the weekend, probably with various degrees of effectiveness.
All the so-called “fact-checkers” have rated the claim that “Clinton started it” a lie, and from our pox-on-both-their-houses objectivity we’ll more or less agree. When the “birther” claims were being occasionally mentioned during that long-ago primary a low-level and unpaid Clinton campaign staffer was fired for touting the story to reporters, but we’d hate to hold a traditional Republican presidential campaign to such a high standard of accountability. More recently the McClatchy chain of newspapers, which bought out the chain of newspapers we once worked for and is now responsible for our pension, is reporting that the longtime Clinton family consigliere Sid “Vicious” Blumenthal was touting the story so convincingly that the chain even sent a couple of reporters to Kenya to check it out, and no one familiar with Blumenthal would put it past him, but it’s also plausible he did it on his own. In any case, Clinton herself never talked or “tweeted” about it, and it all seemed to go away after that low-level and unpaid staffer was fired, and it was certainly never brought up by her during the years she served as Obama’s Secretary of State.
None of those gleeful mainstream press stories mention it, but we’ll also add that Obama also bears some responsibility for the conspiracy theory. The publishers of best-selling and vastly overrated “Dreams From My Father” memoir claimed he was born in Kenya in their promotional materials, which Obama didn’t correct until well into his presidency, and his campaign emphasized his Madrassa education in Indonesia and his fond memories of the Muslim call to prayers and his paternal Kenyan roots and otherwise cosmopolitan background, and he did take his sweet time releasing his birth certificate, all sorts of educational and passport records remain unreleased to this day. The ensuing seven and more-than-a-half years of Obama foreign policy have only exacerbated suspicions about his philosophical if not legal status Americanism, and his sympathies for Islam if not his fully-fledged allegiance to the religion.
Rather than make those make those reasonable arguments about Obama’s foreign policy, though, Trump naturally preferred to question Obama’s legal status as an American and leave his supporters claims that Obama is a Muslim unchallenged. There are plenty of reasonable arguments to be made against any of the Clinton family, too, but rather than limiting himself to that ample supply of ammo he’s talked about how some people are talking the quite unproved claim that they offed Vince Foster. We suppose there were also arguments to be made against the presidential candidacy of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, but Trump chose to draw attention to a preposterous National Enquirer story about how Cruz’s father was in on the John F. Kennedy assassination. In a bipartisan spirit he’s also embraced the Bush Lied, People Died theory of the Iraq War, made numerous appearances on the Alex Jones’ “InfoWars” show that long asserted the Sept. 11 terror attacks were an inside job, and suggested that everything from the recent Democratic primary to the upcoming general election is “rigged.”
Before Trump is allowed to get on with the business of making America great, the Democrats and their allies in the media are entitled note that he has a long history of peddling crackpot conspiracy theories, and that it is not a desirable trait in a president. Trump and his supporters are also entitled to note how very Clinton is, and from our pox-on-both-their-houses perch we won’t disagree with the most of it, but after this weekend they’ll likely be less credible in the effort. Even if Trump did finally put that crackpot conspiracy theory to rest, except for those corners of the internet that will continue to insist and insist that Trump is right about everything.

— Bud Norman

2 responses

  1. A Helpful Step-By-Step Guide To Defending Every Clinton Scandal

    Republicans: Hillary looks sick.

    Democrats: Conspiracy theorists!

    R: You know, she’s coughing all the time.

    D: Conspiracy theorists!

    R: Hillary just passed out.

    D: She has allergies and some heat exhaustion. It’s one of the hottest days ever!

    R: It was 77 and breezy.

    D: Are you suggesting that women have a different, weaker physiology than men?

    R: No, I’m suggesting maybe she’s sicker than we think.

    D: Misogynist … oh, the campaign says she has a little walking pneumonia. Now we know.

    R: Why not say that in the first place?

    D: She’s a warrior, amirite?

    R: So this 70-year-old lady ill with a contagious sickness is hugging little girls and attending fundraisers?

    D: She’s 69 and 7 months, you liar.

    R: …

    D: She’s a hero to elderly women.

    R: Is she contagious?

    D: Of course not.

    R: If it’s no big deal, why is she canceling campaign events?

    D: Actually, this dangerous, contagious sickness has infected a bunch of senior staffers who may now die — that’s how bad it was.

    R: Seems serious. If Hillary lied about this, is it possible she is lying again?

    D: Conspiracy theorists!

  2. That birther “Movement” is an interesting phenomenon. It’s like the David Duke movement; something that only seems to exist in media circles. In fact, Obama’s biographer identified him as having been born in Kenya, giving him an exotic air, designed to increase the readership of his book. There are theories out there in Internet Land that suggest that mediocre student Obama got into Columbia and Harvard as a foreign exchange student, a not entirely insane claim in view of Harvard’s acceptance of Elizabeth Warren as a Native American on the strength of her own say-so based on her high cheekbones. But since Obama had his college records sealed, we’ll not know until this information’s leaked.

    And as we recall, not having to rely in the rabid gang of wolverines disguised as reporters at any Trump gathering, the question of Obama’s birthplace was raised well before Trump declared himself a candidate for anything. We were reinforced in our memory when two reporters with a faint wisp of decency left admitted that Sid Blumenthal, Clinton consiglieri and rabid family attack dog, raised the issue of Obama’s birthplace and his foreign upbringing back in the day when both Obama and Hillary were vying for the Democrat nomination in 2008. And you can bet your bippie (as we used to say) that these two were not the only ones being fed this information, but the others are so far gone in rabid insanity that they would not admit it even if strapped to a rack. And we would like to correct the record that Bud is busy distorting: Blumenthal was not some low level flunky that Hillary dismissed but remained so close to her that he was the in constant private-server e-mail contact with her while she was Secretary of State, feeding her foreign intelligence information and encouraging her to overthrow Khadafy in Libya. Hillary wanted Sid “Vicious” Blumenthal to be her assistant at the State Department but Team Obama nixed that primarily because they didn’t forgive him for spreading all those “nasty rumors” about his birth. It should be added that much of what he spread about Obama happened to be true: his ties to con-man Tony Rezko, his racist pastor Jeremiah Wright, rogue priest and Hillary hater Father Pfleger, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and domestic terrorist bomber Bill Ayers.

    It should also be noted that Hillary’s campaign tried to “other” Obama, noting correctly that his youth was largely spent outside of the U.S. where he was taught in madrassas and learned to love the sound of the Muslim call to prayer in the morning. As an immigrant myself, it’s a partial explanation of why Obama seems to exhibit more sympathy for Islam than for Christianity – a religion that he claims is on its “high horse.”

    And speaking of crackpot theories, may we note the mainstream media has now labelled a cartoon frog “Pepe” a symbol of white racism? I always knew that frogs were Nazis but I wondered when the press would come to my side on this. I certainly don’t want to tie Bud and the press to each other; that would be cruel, and Un-American. Just sayin’.

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