July 6, 2011
Birther Card: Coulter's TurnBy Cindy Simpson
Watching the match unfold leads me to agree with Donald Trump: lots of smart people are birthers, and they don't like the way the game has been played. I suspect most Americans do not appreciate the fact that the issue has been played as a game at all -- both by the mainstream media and the President himself.
If polled the usual question: "Do you believe Obama was born in Hawaii?" -- Obama's behavior would provoke me (even though I do believe he was) to answer, "Beats me!" (I plan on wearing my Obama "Made in the USA" t-shirt so they won't ask.) Regardless, even a "Yes" response, if not followed with denouncements of all doubters, may still earn a Republican the label of racist birther.
Ann Coulter, in her otherwise brilliant new book, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America, addresses the birther issue, which she defines as the "one myth believed by more Republicans than Democrats: that Obama was not born in Hawaii." The book contains no details of any serious investigation into the claims, only the flat assertion that they were "promptly investigated and disproved by every major conservative news outlet."
Although both Coulter and the mainstream media define "birtherism" as centered solely on belief in a foreign birthplace, in actual practice the term has been applied broadly, to include those who question the finer points of the constitutional debate and even doubters of Obama's authorship of his autobiography, Dreams from My Father.
Coulter does not mention any of the constitutional eligibility arguments, nor does she list suspicions of Obama's prolific book-writing abilities as a separate example of temporary conservative insanity. Jack Cashill, in his book, Deconstructing Obama, presented a compelling case for Bill Ayers as the ghostwriter of Dreams, but apparently since the mainstream branded Cashill a birther, Coulter and most of the conservative media played along by ignoring Cashill's thesis as another symptom of the evolving birther psychosis.
As an apparent attempt to vindicate birtherism as the only instance of GOP lunacy, Coulter lists several idiotic "myths believed by more Democrats than Republicans" like "Sarah Palin's infant child, Trig, was actually the child of her daughter."
Coulter presents persuasive arguments supporting the usual rational thinking of conservatives as opposed to the mob behavior of liberals, so I wonder: Does she really believe a large number of her own party are simply momentarily deranged? Or has it crossed her mind that perhaps the birther polls asked the wrong question, or serious investigation is warranted by evidence suggesting that one of Obama's primary credentials was authored by a domestic terrorist? Is it logical to require more than digital images of a certificate and newspaper announcements to determine constitutional eligibility?
The liberal mob, writes Coulter, views Americans as "either enlightened truth-seekers or racist, paranoid haters." Yet with the stroke of her pen she similarly dismissed, Alinsky-style, those who question any facet of Obama's eligibility as idiots, thereby joining the very mob she abhors.
In Demonic, Coulter notes, "Obama was able to dismiss the entire Tea Party movement as including 'some folks who just weren't sure whether I was born in the United States [or] whether I was a socialist,'" and she convincingly argues that it is "perfectly possible to believe Obama is a socialist...but not believe he was born in Kenya."
I would add that it is possible to be neither racist nor paranoid and not believe Obama wrote his own books.
It is also possible to believe that Obama was born in Hawaii but is not eligible for the presidency. His father's lack of US citizenship and temporary US domicile, Obama junior's admitted dual citizenship, and Obama's possible Indonesian citizenship are substantive issues that affect what many believe was the contention of the Constitution's framers: that the Commander-in-Chief have undivided allegiance at birth and thereafter.
Additionally, it is highly possible to believe that Obama was born in Hawaii yet find his handling of the eligibility issue extremely un-Presidential. Coulter highlighted "the mainstream media's usual obtuse refusal to ask obvious questions when interviewing Democrats," yet neglected to acknowledge the media's failure to ask probing questions about Obama's past, the birth certificate, and the Constitution's eligibility clause.
Instead, the mainstream media devoted hours of primetime to bashing birthers and repeatedly concluding that birthers were racists. Conservatives stood by and allowed the media to frame the issue and lead the discourse. Trump, though, when no other politician dared, grabbed the string of the birther trial balloon as it floated by, rising both to the defense of the birthers and in offense against the media, and his popularity soared.
In a recent column of Coulter's that refuted the "birthright citizenship," or "anchor baby" practice, she wrote: "The louder liberals talk about some ancient constitutional right, the surer you should be that it was invented in the last few decades." When it comes to anything Obama, the louder the media ridiculed and the more often they laid down their cloaks or threw out the race card, the surer Coulter should have been that the eligibility issue represented something they would rather deflect than defend.
Coulter argued, in that same column, that the Constitution does not guarantee citizenship to all babies born in the country to foreign parents, but now she asserts that Obama's Hawaiian birth proves he is an Article 2 natural born citizen. To follow her apparent line of reasoning then: Every child born in the US to non-citizen parents may not be guaranteed automatic citizenship, but they're assumed "natural born" citizens if they have their birth announced in the local paper and later decide to run for President.
Obama and Hillary signed SR 511 early in 2008, a resolution that granted McCain "natural born" status based on the fact that both his parents were US citizens at the time of his birth on the Naval base in Panama. Obama then spent the next three years, aided by the media, playing games with his own eligibility. Instead of noting that unseemly fact, Coulter brags that conservatives "denounce their nuts."
Coulter's sweeping definition of a "nut" includes those who question Obama's eligibility after reading -- for example, a quote by John Bingham (the author of the 14th Amendment), which defines "natural born citizen" as one born in the country "to parents owing allegiance to no other sovereignty." Such otherwise "enlightened truth-seekers" are instead considered idiots for noting that Obama's father owed no allegiance to the US.
A judge who threw out one of the eligibility lawsuits asserted that the issue had been thoroughly "raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America's vigilant citizenry..." At least he didn't include "sexted." And the birthers are the nuts?
So I'll call Coulter's Chapter 5 title: "I'll See Your Birth Certificate Conspiracy Theory and Raise One October Surprise," and raise her a new poll that asks: Do you believe that anchor or birth tourism babies or those born with dual citizenship are constitutionally eligible for the presidency?
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