Posted in Rants on April 28th, 2011 by Ed

(Warning: post contains language that may be cause for offense. More so than usual.)

It has been a two year exercise in frustration attempting to figure out what is going on inside Barack Obama's head, and few of his decisions have been more puzzling than the one to release his "long form" birth certificate more than three years after Wingnuttia started drumming up conspiracy theories about his birthplace and citizenship status. Despite the clear legal validity of his short form birth certificate (which is all most of us have, and which in Hawaii loudly states, "This document serves as prima facie evidence of birth in any court proceeding"), a large segment of the American population remained skeptical that such a black potential secret Muslim could really have been born in the U.S. of A.

The release of the "long form" accomplishes very little for Obama with the possible exception of making Donald Trump look like a jackass (although he and his supporters are declaring "victory" for making Obama release the document, irrespective of the fact that said document proves conclusively that he and all of his supporters are all fucking morons). It accomplishes so little because Birtherism is not and never has been about Obama's birth certificate, and it certainly hasn't been about facts. "Not a natural-born citizen" is little more than gussied up Newspeak for "nigger", and there is no practical distinction between "Where's the birth certificate?" and "Go back to Africa, you black SOB."

Though he has been dead for many years, Lee Atwater offers us one of the best explanations of Birtherism in a nutshell in describing the use of coded racial language in the 1980s:

You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can’t say (that)—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

The Teabaggers and Birthers have been fighting this accusation vociferously since the moment the conspiracy theory emerged, yet the release of the long-demanded Long Form certificate provides some of the most damning evidence against their feeble claims. IF this is really about a birth certificate, then the birth certificate should bring the "controversy" to an end. Instead, we see that Birtherism has no intention of being derailed by something as trivial as the document that its supporters have been demanding for three goddamn years. It will have no effect because the underlying cause of the phenomenon remains: to paraphrase the legendary scene from Blazing Saddles, the President is a n(*DING*). But of course Birthers don't think they're racists. A dog doesn't know what a "dog whistle" is; to them, it's just a whistle (much as to people in Cleveland, it is simply called a Steamer).

Why would Obama expect this new information to have any impact on his opponents? The more mainstream, non-lunatic conservatives have already rejected the issue (Birtherism appears to embarrass them, in fact) and the lunatics will simply trot out predictable excuses – "It's fake!" or any number of similar Moving Goalposts arguments. Rather than being satisfied, they will simply demand additional "evidence" which, if received, they will similarly discount in their haste to demand even more.

World Nut Daily, which has been unofficial Birther HQ for the last two years, has taken a different approach. After receiving the birth certificate they've been demanding for all this time, they have now decided that the birth certificate is irrelevant because even if Obama was born in Hawaii, his father was not a U.S. citizen and thus he cannot be "natural born" (according to the definition of "natural born" devised by WND legal scholars like Jerome Corsi and a collection of regular commenters in Freeper forums). Check out their new "headlines", noting that the "author" repeatedly referenced is Corsi, whose books are published exclusively on WND Press.

-Obama document still doesn't answer all questions
-Authors: Even Hawaii birth won't make Obama eligible
-President still has major legal issues following release of 'birth certificate'
-Author suggests disputed presidency won't survive publication of book
-Verdict: Birthers are (mainly) right: 'Sufficient evidence to reasonably conclude' Obama probably not eligibile
-Obama's day of reckoning could end his presidency

Translation, with deference Mr. Atwater: "Despite release of certificate, Obama fails to answer allegations of negritude."

WND honcho Joseph Farah humiliates himself further in the Washington Post, telling Steve Levingston that Corsi's book Where's the Birth Certificate?, which comes out in three weeks, has been vindicated. But he's not humiliated, nor is the cause he champions really set back by the new document. Once again, none of this has anything to do with a birth certificate. It has everything to do with a black president who has a furreign-soundin' name and a father from Kenya. This is about the politics of tribalism and blood, about how he is one of Them and not one of Us.

I fail to see what Obama has to gain from addressing these claims at face value. They can say "not natural born" or "secret Muslim" all they want – they know, just as we know, exactly what they really mean. And since the real, underlying issue can never be addressed in any way that will placate Birthers, what does it accomplish to respond to the coded language they use to make their racism sound acceptable in polite society?