Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obligatory Birther Post

To begin with: I missed all the fuss. Mid-morning nap. No, I'm not proud; I just didn't sleep much last night, and that's how it goes.

Now, I wake up, and find that Chuck Todd is calling today "a sad day in American political history" and Adam Serwer is saying "this marks a level of personal humiliation no previous president has ever been asked to endure," and my reaction is mostly...jeez, this kind of stuff happens, just move on to the next thing. A sad day in American political history? More like a silly day. Sad is when our pols make terrible decisions with terrible consequences; this is just a bit of fun. And Serwer, who I normally love reading, needs to download the Starr report, or perhaps just google "Bill Clinton distinguishing characteristics." Or just realize that "Bill Clinton dist..." is enough for Google to know where you're going.

Heck, I can think of more humiliating junk that was thrown at pretty much every president in my memory.

Someone else over the twitter was acting all embarrassed about what to tell future know what? They ain't gonna be asking about this. They aren't going to be asking about OJ, and that was a multiyear soap opera that took up hundreds of hours of cable news time. This is a blip, and no one is going to care about it down the road. Yes, the president got involved in something stupid, but really they get involved in stupid spin stuff all the time, and if not this it would have been something else.

Here's my advice: when the circus comes to down, either show up to enjoy the preposterousness of the whole thing, cotton candy and all, or just ignore it and it'll be gone in a week. If you want to criticize it for being a lame circus, fine, but I don't want to hear you complaining that it isn't the ballet or the opera or, I don't know, Bonnoroo.


  1. this is a long shot, but do you think the timing was to give Trump so street cred and crowd out the real Republicans. This shut down cable news for the week....

  2. Is Sewer's piece hyperbole? Perhaps a bit. Is it a blip? A circus?

    Well the entire episode is a modern day expression of a virulent, paranoid tendency in American political and social life. A kind of John Birch Society redux. And to that extent it might indeed be remembered as a relatively minor example of such. The response here from Bernstein is a bit too glib though. I'm not sure what the correct response should be but simply calling it another example of the silliness of political theater and cable tv doesn't really seem sufficient to the odious (but everyday) quality of this aspect of American political and racial discourse.

  3. I think the thing is, to a lot of liberals it doesn't seem so much political circus as concession to racism. A white president might have been forced to do something equally silly, but not this exact thing, which could only happen to someone who qualifies in the "Not Like Us" bracket to white America.

    So, is it the worst thing ever to happen in American public life? Of course not, and not by a long shot. But expressions of racism will always be regrettable, even when they're relatively trivial in the big picture.

  4. If the worst manifestation of latent racism, for our first black President, is a large segment of the population adopting a more skeptical standard wrt Obama's short-form birth certificate than the State Department uses, well, I personally would consider that a more benign outcome than feared.


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