Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 27, 2011

AFTERBIRTHER.... It's tempting to think the "birther" conspiracy theory is now officially dead, but it's important to realize that crazy people don't stop believing crazy things just because they've been shown evidence of their craziness.

Texas state legislator Leo Berman, a Republican, has introduced a bill that would require proof of citizenship from presidential candidates. It's one of many such bills in the states. And according to Sharon Guthrie, Berman's legislative director, it is still on the table, because the long-form birth certificate released by the White House today does not satisfy its requirements.

"What I've seen online, what they produced today, still says certificate of live birth across the top," she told me. And she's right.

But why isn't that just a nomenclature issue? Why does it matter?

"We want to see a 'birth certificate,'" Guthrie explained. "The one that we have that says 'birth certificate' is from Mombassa, Kenya, with his footprint on it. He has still not produced an American birth certificate."

The document that Guthrie is referencing is a forgery, but in keeping with the larger trend, that doesn't seem to matter.

Tea Partiers aren't satisfied and neither is WND. Donald Trump is now demanding college records; congressional Republicans are criticizing the president for setting the record straight; Fox News isn't sure if the birth certificate is legit; Sarah Palin has moved on to the conspiracy theory about Bill Ayers; and National Review is just a parody of itself.

Major media outlets, meanwhile, are questioning the quality of the president's media analysis, after Obama complained about excessive coverage of this nonsense last week.

"We do not have time for this kind of silliness"? That's true, but silliness is surprisingly hard to kill.

Postscript: I can't claim credit for the "Afterbirther" in the headline; it came from a friend of a friend.

Update: The Onion may have actually coined "Afterbirther" in 2009.

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (47)

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Roy Edroso beat you to it. He's a clever one.


Posted by: Q on April 27, 2011 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

OK, we’ve seen the short form.

Now he’s shown us the long form.

But where’s the longerer form?

And the longererer form?

And the longerererer form?

Enquiring “minds” want to know!

Trust me, this ends nothing for a lot of people out there.
But maybe, just maybe, it’ll stop Trumps mouth and hairpiece from flapping.
OK, I’ll settle for the mouth. I don’t think that ferret that they stapled to his noggin’ is quite dead yet. Someone needs to club that poor f*cking thing and put it out of its misery.

Oh, and when do we hear about the Republicans blowing the dust off of Kenneth Starr and having him investigate Obama’s mother’s “AmnioticWater” records?
To the rescue: Kenneth Starr - “AmnioticWater” Independent Council!

And I bet it was a young Obama who shot Vincent Foster and dumped him in the park per Hillary’s instructions!
Oh, and Bill Ayers is the one who wrote the instructions.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

I prefer the term "flat birther."

Posted by: slappy magoo on April 27, 2011 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Time for Obama to man up, raise his middle finger and tell them all to Piss Off.

It won't stop them, but will at least make us feel better.

Posted by: martin on April 27, 2011 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I like the part where Berman says there were two hospitals.

"There are two hospitals [in Honolulu] at the time and neither hospital will claim him," Berman said.

Please. Where do they get these idiots in Texas?

Posted by: Tigershark on April 27, 2011 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't birth certificates designated by state? Is there such a thing as an "American birth certificate?" Maybe for Americans born overseas?

Posted by: slappy magoo on April 27, 2011 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Say it loud and say it often - Birthers are Fucktards! Birthers are Fucktards!

Birthers are unAmerican, racist hooligans who are obstructing our society from moving positively into our future! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 27, 2011 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The reaction is fairly startling. Instead of sheepish resignation and shame, it's just the triumphalism of bullies. "We made him do it!" I think this is the key salient about birtherism. It's assholes getting to drive the discourse in any way they choose as long as it hurts a Democratic president. The chastened media will zealously stay above the fray as we march into yet another made-up, essentially racist issue that emerges from the cesspool of right-wing America.

Posted by: walt on April 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Until Obama can produce a Hollywood film of his birth, nothing will be enough. And it had better be in color and 3-D. But really, we should do this to the next Republican candidate. And we should up the ante. The next Republican must show a color 3-D film of his birth, and The Pope and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court must be present at the birth.

Posted by: fostert on April 27, 2011 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I recently requested a birth certificate from the state of Alabama which I need to get a passport. Instead of a birth certificate, they sent me a certificate of live birth. Holy shit, I'm a Kenyan.

Posted by: sparky on April 27, 2011 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

And tomorrow, we move into another area of media silliness. Wall to wall over saturated coverage of the royal wedding.

Posted by: kd bart on April 27, 2011 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

when is Donald Trump going to reveal which planet he was born on.

Posted by: Jamie on April 27, 2011 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, back to reality...

The Republican philosophy & effect of proposed budget reductions: the über rich & corporations get tax cuts but the poor and middle classes get squeezed. Look, when 10% of the county owns 80% of the wealth, it's time to tax wealth in addition to income. http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

Many Republicans would reduce modern worker & health protections by cutting funding supporting enforcement, eliminate Medicaid, privatize Medicaid, and take away modern consumer protections. The intent: restore parts of 19th century morals and law when large banks controlled money, monopolies cheated everyone, and wages were so low that a mortified Prince Albert took to designing affordable worker housing.

"Impossible!" you say. Then, WHY do they defend the rich's irresponsible spending habits, denounce unions, talk nullification, and try to defund modern safety net programs if they do not like the 19th century's philosophy and morality?  Without calling it so, by budget cuts in education they endorse social darwinism. By crying about American "Exceptionalism" they revive manifest destiny giving them permission to exploit cultures and races while driving down American wages.

So, I take them at their word. 

Now remember, America and the world prospered during those times when taxes on the rich and corporations were high, wages were high, and college tuition was low, the mid-20th Century.  THE SOLUTION increase taxes on the über rich and their corporations on gross income plus tax net worth then use the money to build infrastructure paying good wages for good work to good people.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on April 27, 2011 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kabuki theater. Obama only fanned the flames by entering the fray. 12% unemployment in California for the last 19 months. Florida close behind at 11% for the last 17 months.

Posted by: Doug N on April 27, 2011 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

All this "proved" was that Obama will acquiesce to ANY demand from the right, no matter how idiotic, racist or insulting it is.

Meanwhile the left -- his base -- gets insulted, ignored and treated like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.

What's wrong with this picture? Everything.

Posted by: Gummo on April 27, 2011 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

i guess the thing to do then, is photoshop a birth certificate from a foreign country for each of the Republican candidates so that they all have "Birth Certificates" from a foreign country, thus proving no one is really an American! then I'm sure the Birthers will reject 'em all! Right!

Posted by: ghostryder on April 27, 2011 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the round-up of this astounding insanity Steve. I do not have the heart to deal with the soul-crushing stupidity of our media and the conservatives.

Posted by: J on April 27, 2011 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

So if it says "Birth Certificate" then that's OK. But if it says "Certificate of Live Birth" then that's, what? Isn't a certificate of live birth a, you know, birth certificate? If we can't stop this merry-go-round, can I at least get off?

Posted by: seems2me on April 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

how can it be over when it was NEVER ABOUT A BIRTH CERTIFICATE.


Posted by: rikyrah on April 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

But...but... I question the authenticity of the typeface on Obama's so-called "birth certificate!" It could not have been produced on a 1960's era typewriter! It's a FORGERY!

(Intended as snark, but as truly ridiculous as this whole affair is, expect to hear one of the wingnuts raise this "argument" and the media to give full coverage to it.)

Posted by: John on April 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but where is his brain scan showing he is not being controlled by an alien symbiote? I know it is just a theory, but all he has to do to stop the controversy is to just release the brainscan. What does he have to hide?

Posted by: exlitigator on April 27, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

People on Twitter are demanding to see the placenta.

This will never end, not as long as human beings are insane. The sun will burn out before these lunatics give up on their delusions.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on April 27, 2011 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

@Jamie ... I'm not sure of the exact name, but on this planet all small, land-based mammals live in mortal fear of the "wigmaker" showing up with a big canvas sack.

Posted by: sinclair on April 27, 2011 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

The one and only thing that the crazy Republicans want is for an Obama Birth Record that says:

Father - Caucasian
Mother - Caucasian

Posted by: T2 on April 27, 2011 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Everything else aside, my first reaction to the news that Obama had responded to these idiots was that it's just about the dumbest thing he's ever done or could do.

He's legitimised the freak show. Now he's down at the level of Fox, Palin and Trump, knee deep in their shit.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on April 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Next up: college undergraduate grades.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Correction - he's legitimised the freak show again. First time was the flag pin.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on April 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

This just in: the Kenyan birth certificate is, indeed, a forgery. It has now been fully exposed:

Posted by: exlibra on April 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

I like "Afterbirther", but I more like the one a commenter on "Balloon-Juice" came up with:

The John Birth Society.


Posted by: Ed Drone on April 27, 2011 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Until OUR PRESIDENT CAN CHANGE his SKIN COLOR...this will not end...All this is a cover for the racists who haven't the guts to tell the truth about their belief in the american dream of the 1860's...

Lets call it what it is! RACISM! He made, comb -over, look the fool while showing up the media for looping the birther nonsense!

Posted by: jlt on April 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it that no one has said that a pregnant American Citizen can give birth ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, and the child is an American Citizen- just like Mom?

Posted by: DAY on April 27, 2011 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Leo Berman appears to be an idiot or crazy. There are bound to be at least a few of these in each of the really red states. The real question is whether these "birther" bills in Texas and elsewhere now die on the vine as the not-quite stupid and not-quite crazy state Republican legislators move away from birtherism.

Posted by: DRF on April 27, 2011 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

The "birthers" have an opinion. Don't confuse them with "FACTS"

Posted by: Maxine Goodyear on April 27, 2011 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

He's legitimised the freak show. Now he's down at the level of Fox, Palin and Trump, knee deep in their shit.
Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on April 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Unfortunately, I don't think Obama had a choice. Our media is so blisteringly stupid and irresponsible that -- far from doing their jobs and calling this "birther" stuff out as the pure nonsense it is, and calling Trump out as the loudmouthed, idiotic fool he is -- it would just keep going and going and going. If anything, I don't think releasing it was to shut Trump, Palin, et al. up, it was more to shove it in the face of the media and underscore how juvenile and unprofessional their behavior has been in letting things get to this embarrassing point.

Posted by: John on April 27, 2011 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

There are some people in this world who would benefit from having their genitals squashed flat by a huge wooden mallet, once they have publicly demonstrated irreparable idiocy.

Sadly, that's one Constitutional amendment that I doubt will ever pass.

Posted by: have clue -- will travel on April 27, 2011 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Jake Tapper and ABC News can please fuck off and die.

The HEADLINE of Jake's story at ABC News was "President Obama Tells Untruth in Birth Certificate Press Briefing"

Jake Tapper's complaint? That the birther story was not the top political story of that week. He gets this result by camparing it to ALL stories about the economy. Even if his point is accurate, it is hard to deny that the birther story has been FAR too persistent, has received FAR too much attention and that this is in large part due to the fact that the mainstream media has NOT done it's job of reporting the truth.

Despite all this Jake Tapper and ABC News choose to focus on whether the President's complaint that they spent more time talking about the birther story than the budget debate was literally true and top the story with a headline that accuses the President of lying and is open to the interpretation that he was lying about his birth certificate. WTF?????

Posted by: tanstaafl on April 27, 2011 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

c u n d gulag - Loved the image of the "ferret stapled to his noggin". Major LOL

Ed Drone - The John Birth Society - great find, thanks for passing it on.

Posted by: Athena on April 27, 2011 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Squeaky McCrinkle: Everything else aside, my first reaction to the news that Obama had responded to these idiots was that it's just about the dumbest thing he's ever done or could do.

No. The dumbest was keeping the record secret when he could have released it early in the primary season, or before he even announced.

Same with his college grades. McCain, Kerry, and G.W. bush released theirs, why not Obama? When they are finally released, people will ask: Why did he spend so much on legal fees to keep them secret? Then the tuition records. Why is he keeping those secret? Can it really be so bad that releasing all this information will hurt anyone? If so, that's all the more reason to demand that they be made public.

If this information is as trivial as Obama says, then ... .

Having drawn blood, so to speak, Trump will probably pursue those questions with extra energy.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 27, 2011 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Birthers are FUCKTARDS! It's obvious Trump was born on Planet Stupid..he's a FUCKTARD.

Posted by: Cha on April 27, 2011 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Trump claims nobody remembers going to school with Obama? Ask Jackie Fox (ex-bassist with the Runaways) who went to Harvard Law with Obama, and wrote an editorial in 2008 for HuffPost about it.

Posted by: Speed on April 27, 2011 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Your head will explode if you read the >300 comments on "The Smoking Gun". Yes they are using Photoshop, comparing type, deciding the nurse's name sounds funny etc. They have decided "it is a copy"!!! Of course it is. The original is bound in a book, in a vault, in Hawaii.

Posted by: boctaoe on April 27, 2011 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

To everyone who thinks the birther attacks are all racially motivated, I think I have to respectfully disagree. They are racially TINGED, but that's just the evil icing on the conservative hate cake. Because no matter WHO the Dem candidate was in 2008, had that candidate won, the tactics to discredit that President would have been just as vicious. DIFFERENT, certainly, depending on that candidate's background and supposed (or imagined) skeletons. But still just as vicious. Hell, the only reason Republicans stopped crapping on Hillary was because at a certain point it was clear she would not be the nominee, and they saw value in praising her to piss off her supporters and sow seeds of dissension. You think they would've stayed as sweet had SHE rec'd the nod? No, they would have held Obama up as an example of how deep down the Democratic Party is run by racists. They think of politics like a game, one which they ALWAYS run on offense, never on defense. Whatever our side does, the GOP elders and mouthpieces already have an attack plan in place. If we run with the ball this way, they have a Plan A, we run THAT way, they have a Plan B, and political discourse winds up sounding like dialogue from Plan 9 From Outer Space. But that's how they'll keep playing the game until it doesn't work anymore. And it'll keep working until we the people stop falling for it.

So, no, while they were grateful for Obama being black and having a Kenyan father to make the process of duping the base that much easier, there would have been some kind of slanderous theory about the qualities or habits or ethics of a Democrat elected President no matter who it was, or their color.

Posted by: slappy magoo on April 27, 2011 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is racism! Trump is clearly pointing to affirmative action when he questions how Obama got into Harvard. It's racist to talk about Obama knowing nothing and busy playing basketball, because the black man is of course stupid, and good for nothing other than sports. I wonder if white people realize or even care how this will appear to blacks or other non-whites. As a non white for the first time I am looking at every white person and wondering "is this how they really think"?

Posted by: rk21 on April 27, 2011 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

slappy, it's hard to find any flaws in our argument. They can get away with this because the media is at the very least compliant.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on April 27, 2011 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Oops . . . slappy, it's hard to find any flaws in your argument.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on April 27, 2011 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

As to the "Birther Thing", this is nothing new. It dates back all the way to the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War. It' s called "Fear of the Black Man". As a carryover from the slave owner mentality, the dehumanization or to delegitimatize the "N----r" was used to continue the supression of the African American to prevent any opportunity being afforded to them. Primarily driven by the economics, this "fear" was promoted to attempt to maintain their "superiority". The use of racism and violence, as we know, was quite prevalent
What we see today is the continuation of that "fear". When the "rich white guys" realized that Obama was elected, they feared that he was going to give all the "n----rs" their money and he must be stopped. It is unacceptable to them that a "Black Guy" is in charge. The campaign to delegitimize Obama is today's version of the same kind of racism prevelent in the the old South (and the new South , for thst matter).
The trouble for these guys is that nationally, most are not buying it but their arrogance and stupidity can't accept that.

Posted by: fillphil on April 27, 2011 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

someone is already trying to make money off of this crap!

Posted by: Joe Damask on April 28, 2011 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK
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