February 6, 2011
Hawaii's Governor Manipulates Birthers
Hawaii's newly elected "DSA-er Democrat" Governor Neil "I am not a socialist" Abercrombie is the birthers' best friend -- and many commentators in Hawaii and across the nation are becoming increasingly annoyed by his antics.
In two recent interviews, with just a few anti-birthy words in December 24 and January 18 interviews magnified and distorted by the national and international media, Abercrombie has succeeded in raising birtherism from the dead. And both he and President Barack Obama are very pleased with the opportunity to shift political discussion away from the thumping Obama took in the November midterms.
After Abercrombie babbled about birthers to the NY Times and the LA Times on December 24, the reaction was swift and negative:
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist David Shapiro wrote, "Obama birth flap born again after Abercrombie wades in."
- Star-Advertiser reporter BJ Reyes identified "Birthers Reborn" in the "Top Ten Flubs of the Year," pointing out that "[t]he issue of President Barack Obama's birthplace, seemingly close to running its course, is brought to the forefront by newly-elected Gov. Neil Abercrombie."
- Politico: Might Do More Harm Than Good
- USA Today: Talk about friends you don't need
- Huffington Post: Abercrombie on "a fool's errand"
- DBKP: Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie Adds Fuel to Obama Birth Certificate Fire
- Hartford Courant: Who's Abercrombie kidding?
- Sta Clarita Signal: "It was a Democrat who dredged up the whole sordid business"
- WaPo: Abercrombie "taking the pole position of political surrealism"
- FOX: Why do Democrats keep talking about the Birth Certificate?
It should be no surprise that Abercrombie is doing everything he can to increase the visibility of birtherism in the run-up to the 2012 elections. A substantial portion of Obama's electoral hopes lies in making his opponents seem even more discredited than he is. In a July 2010 CNN poll, birtherism is fully embraced by a paltry 11% of American voters -- as compared to 19% in a 2002 Fox News poll who entertained the possibility that Elvis is still alive. But like 9-11 truthers, the Ron Paul Campaign, and PUMA, birthers are very active on internet comment boards creating the illusion of numbers. The similarity is not coincidental: Birtherism originated with Hillary Clinton's PUMA supporters, and it has been carried forward by well-known 9-11 truthers.
Wingnuts author John Avalon rarely misses an opportunity to marginalize conservatives, but he was forced to admit last February that "the Birthers began on the left." Avalon traces the original August 21, 2008 Phil Berg birther lawsuit to the efforts of Texas Hillary Clinton supporter Linda Starr, described by Avalon as also being "a key source for CBS' discredited election year investigation into George W. Bush's National Guard records that led to Dan Rather's replacement after 24 years as the evening news anchor."
Berg is a prominent 9-11 truther who sued the Bush administration several times in an effort to prove that al-Qaeda was innocent. Another prominent Birther lawyer, Orly Taitz, is a $1,000 donor to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign committee. Her website has prominently featured the rants of 9-11 truther Devvy Kidd.
After Abercrombie deployed his first set of birther remarks Christmas Eve, Chris "Tingle Legs" Matthews was quick to boost birtherism with his December 27 comment: "Why has the President himself not demanded that they put out the initial documents?" That is to be expected from somebody who has already sacrificed the illusion of objectivity on the altar of Obama's ambitions. But Obama and Abercrombie have also received a lot of help from some who should know better.
In a January 18 Star-Advertiser interview, Abercrombie deployed his second set of birther-related remarks: "It was actually written, I am told. This is what our investigation is showing, it actually exists in the archives, written down."
As a reaction, the same-day headline at World Net Daily (WND) distorted Abercrombie's remarks into the headline "Hawaii governor can't find Obama birth certificate." WND has been disorienting Obama's opponents with birtherism since 2008, so that was nothing new. But the next day, the "DSA-er Democrat" Abercrombie struck political paydirt. The UK Daily Mail January 20 yanked this latest birther lie out of its WND echo chamber, writing, "Abercrombie suggested that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist." The WND and Daily Mail articles stayed up on the Drudge Report for days.
HotAir blogger AllahPundit was a key player in the debunking of Linda Starr and Dan Rather's forged George Bush National Guard documents. Three days after Abercrombie's second Star-Advertiser interview, he wrote "Dopey Hawaii governor figures out new way to tease Birthers":
What I think happened here is that this well-meaning doofus, who knew Obama's parents personally and who's indignant at the accusations about his citizenship, spoke up in anger with a vow to put them to rest. Which, entirely predictably to everyone except Abercrombie himself, kick-started a whole new round of excitement and expectations among Birthers, who'll never be satisfied no matter what document is finally presented.
AllahPundit is half-right. Abercrombie may act like a dopey doofus, but it is just an act. He has spent a lifetime in politics manipulating conservatives to unwittingly serve his agenda -- and he's proud of it.
Rush Limbaugh nailed it on his show January 21, pointing out:
This is just toying. He [Obama] knows that the birthers are a bunch of Looney Tune kook right-wingers, and he wants them illustrated as such. So he'll toy with them, sort of like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football. And the media went along with that, "Oh, that's Obama. He's really politically smart, really crafty here. He's got these birthers looking like the Birchers that they are. He's got 'em looking like the biggest kooks on the face of the earth. ... "Now, it's still entirely possible all this is a giant head fake. For me, ladies and gentlemen, the sophisticated political figure that I am, it's really hard for me to believe that Neil Abercrombie just one day woke up on his own and without consultation said, "This birth thing bugs me. I'm gonna call a press conference, and I'm gonna tell people I was there when he was born, and I knew his mom and dad, and he was born here and I'm gonna prove it." I said earlier, Abercrombie's no fool. ... it ratchets up and ratchets up and then a couple years down the road, year and a half down the road, guess what, the thing's found, and, oh, can you imagine the air that will be let out of people's sails then?Now, you have to ask yourself, is this regime capable of that kind of trick? Yeah, they are. Are they capable of having the newly elected governor, a Democrat, replacing a Republican, Neil Abercrombie, start out this whole thing? Are they typical, capable of coming up with a program where Abercrombie embarrasses himself around the world on this and then all of a sudden ... voila, somebody finds the birth certificate right out in the open in some file in Hawaii. With this bunch the point is you just never know. ...I'll tell you why I think Abercrombie may just be toying around with everybody on this to pull a political trick later on down the line.
The 'toying' continued even as Rush spoke. To keep the story rolling, a self-described Abercrombie friend, celebrity gossip reporter Mike Evans, on January 20 suddenly claimed that Abercrombie had told him that there are no records of Obama's birth. Birthers nationwide bit down hard on the story. Then, just as suddenly, Evans reversed himself and admitted that he made the whole thing up.
AP January 22 reported "Hawaii law bars release of Obama birth info." This old-news, story was falsely re-reported by birther operatives as "Abercrombie abandons quest to find birth certificate because of privacy law." Of course the reason Obama is able to keep his long form under wraps in the first place is because Hawaii has such a restrictive law. It is obtuse to claim that Abercrombie suddenly just discovered this law and therefore "abandoned" his plan to reveal the birth certificate -- and yet birther operatives made precisely that claim.
Two days later, Hawaii State Representative Rida Cabanilla (D-Ewa) -- famous mostly for knowingly employing a convicted child molester as her legislative office manager -- introduced the $100 birther tax in the Hawaii Legislature. This kept the media rolling in the aisles ridiculing Obama's opponents for another day.
The progressives are having almost as much fun with this as they did when a blogger made up a fake Kenyan Birth Certificate, got Orly Taitz to introduce it in court, and then revealed his hoax. Today, anyone with a computer printer can get his very own Kenyan Birth Certificate online. With a click of the mouse, you too can "prove" you were born in Coast General Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya. Even WND has debunked this and other forged "Kenyan Birth Certificates" which still float around the internet.
Summing up the success of progressives' information warfare strategy, Slate's David Weigel wrote "Fun new Birther Conspiracy based upon illiteracy." The progressives know they can get the birthers to do anything they want; they are having a ball, and they are discrediting Obama's opponents in the run-up to 2012.
Is Limbaugh right? Does Abercrombie have the ability to conceive of such a scheme -- or is he just a doofus, as AllahPundit says? The answer can be found in some of Abercrombie's recent comments.
For the most part, Hawaii's Democrat media carefully avoids quoting Abercrombie verbatim. That's because they want to keep a lid on Abercrombie remarks, such as his October 2010 characterization of supporters of his electoral opponent as "Nazis" bent on imposing a Christian theocracy on Hawaii. But sometimes the real Abercrombie slips through. In a verbatim Maui Time interview June 3, 2010, he makes it clear that he believes conservatives are easy to manipulate:
Q--On the subject of distrust of government, what's your take on the Tea Party movement and what impact do you think it'll have on this election cycle?
A--They'll have some [impact], not as much out here. But you can't institutionalize a mood. The Tea Party is a reflection of an atmosphere. It has no object, other than to say, 'We don't like this.' It is kind of a choked reaction to the idea that you've been shoved totally to the sidelines. You have no control over your life. Particularly when you're being propagandized all day long that you get to make choices, always variations on the theme of you as consumer of goods. And when politics takes on the same aspect, when you're just the consumer of whatever's being fed to you by cynical sociopaths who have no other purpose in life than to manipulate and maneuver you into doing what they want you to do, then you have a situation like the one we have now with the Tea Party. They don't like it, but they don't know what to do about it. ... They don't make the connections. [It's] an emotional reaction to being frozen out of participating in life. They feel their tax dollars are not well spent. They feel they're being tapped and tapped hard and often and deep and they're not getting out of it what they think they should. But the political consequence is that it dissipates into the ether. It's like a wave. All waves dissipate into the sand. No matter what kind of kinetic energy is associated with them, they dissipate into the sand.
The interview didn't work out too well. A few days after this it was published, 22 members of the Maui TEA Party crashed an Abercrombie campaign event, gave him a bumper sticker, and ate up all his tofu and sprouts. But for most of his career, Abercrombie has been very successful at manipulating his opponents -- with the help of an eager retinue of Democrat reporters. In his January 2011 State of the State speech, Abercrombie gleefully trumpeted his co-opting of the Vicar General of the Honolulu Catholic Diocese to work in his administration -- even as Abercrombie denounces Christians and imposes gay civil unions, and as Abercrombie's Democrats become the only legislative body in the nation to abolish the traditional invocation which previously opened sessions of the Hawaii State Senate.
Now, with just a few words in December 24 and January 18 interviews, Abercrombie has cynically manipulated the news cycle for several weeks to maneuver Obama's political opponents into doing what he wants them to do.
Andrew Walden edits HawaiiFreePress.com.