Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trump and the Birther Bounce

The "Birther" movement got a shot of adrenaline this week thanks to the will-he/won't-he political machinations of Donald Trump, whose flirtation with a (never going to happen) Republican presidential run saw him outflank the Palin/Bachmann/Beck wing of the GOP by appealing directly to the "Barack Obama was born in Kenya/Indonesia/Not Here" crowd. Now, I've already waxed philosophic here and here on this perplexing phenomenon, which really has to be the cockroach of conspiracy theories -- no matter how devastating or decisive the evidence against it, it somehow always manages to survive -- but as Slate's David Weigel explains, it's now morphed into a new strain altogether:
What Trump is Reform Birtherism. It's deductive. "There's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like," said Trump last week. "I don't know what is on the document," said [Jerome] Corsi in 2009. The truth is unknowable, because Obama is hiding something about his birth documents.
In its own way, it's sort of brilliant, as it creates a circular wall of illogic where all evidence is just further proof of the grand conspiracy -- which reaches even deeper then we thought! Now, whether Trump actually believes this stuff or not is irrelevant, as nearly a third of Republicans do claim to hold doubts about Obama's citizenship, so any presidential aspirant needs to lock down the crazy vote if they want get to the starting gate. And what better way to that than to say you're willing to be their captain? Much more from Weigel at the link as he delves into the many ways Birtherism, thanks to Trump and Co., has gone mainstream, and the contortions Republican legislators are going through to ignore information that's right in front of them.

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