Most of you, whether in the US or anywhere else on Earth, will have heard about the Birther controversy. The widespread rumour that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the US, and so was ineligible to become President. In an attempt to lay the story to rest, Obama released his birth certificate during the 2008 election campaign; but the story, fueled by political rumours, continued to grow, with denials that the certificate released was real, and calls for the release of the “long-form” birth certificate.
The point was often made that no former (white) President had ever been asked to show his certificate – that the claims about Obama being non-American were coming from the traditionally racist right-wing constituency who were doubtless enraged with the election of a black President, and for whom the birth certificate issue became a proxy for their racism.
The discussion had seemed like it may slowly subside into the darkest corners of moronic conspiracy blogs when at the start of 2011, along came publicity-seeking billionaire Donald Trump, who raised the profile of the discussion again, much to the delight of the Obama-hating right, including the 40% of Republicans who believed that Obama was born overseas.
Then a couple of weeks ago, something strange happened; Fox News pundits who had enjoyed spreading anti-Obama stories, including birth-certificate-related ones, suddenly started to come out against the conspiracy theory. Had the anti-Obama right finally seen sense and decided to allow some honesty into the debate? Well, it seems not…
Today in a surprise announcement, Obama called time on the hysteria and released the long-form certificate. Perhaps he had finally decided to end the dumb discussion. Or maybe he’d carefully picked the moment to cause maximum political damage to his enemies. If the latter, he thoroughly deserves his moment, after having to take flak from morons over a period of more than two years.
So let’s look at who (deservedly) loses out here:
- Donald Trump, who decided it was smart to place himself at the head of the birther movement, and whose presidential run is probably now doomed as a result. Strangely, Trump is trying to spin the birth certificate release as a victory… well, good luck with that!
- The Republican Party, which allowed the discussion to grow and grow, and now can only be damaged by it.
- The Tea Party, the fake “revolutionary” movement created by right-wing billionaires, which is tainted with birtherism.
- The right-wing media, most of all Fox News, that helped spread the idea. Even right-wing British rags like the Daily Mail joined the game.
- And finally, thousands of ordinary morons who used Twitter to repeat the lies they’d been told. Their racism got the better of their reason (if they had any to start with) and they end up looking most stupid of all.
The War On Morons has a long way to go; but today marks victory in a decisive battle.