Tuesday, August 25, 2009


You've probably seen the latest birther story from David Weigel of the Washington Independent:

Public Policy Polling dips into Arkansas ... and finds that only 45 percent of Arkansans are confident of the president's citizenship....

As has been the case in other states, "birtherism" in Arkansas is largely a problem for white voters and conservative Republicans. Whites only believe that Obama was born in America by a seven-point margin, 41-34.... Fewer than one-quarter of Republicans are sure that Obama was born in America; 49 percent say he wasn't. The numbers are actually lower among "conservatives"....

I'd really be curious to see a poll of Southern whites/conservatives/Republicans on the birther issue involving politicians who aren't Barack Obama. Just as a control, I'd like to see what the numbers are for Democrats who are clearly American but perhaps not identified as children of the "real America" -- say, Chuck Schumer (born in Brooklyn) or Nancy Pelosi (born in Baltimore) or John Kerry (born, in case you didn't know, in an army hospital in Aurora, Colorado). Would Dixie-fried Repubs be sure those folks were born in the U.S.A.? Do they have the same suspicions about Brooklyn being part of America than some of them have about Hawaii? And I think Southern Democrats such as John Edwards and Bill Clinton would pass muster as Americans, but would Hillary Clinton (born in Chicago)? Or Harry Reid (born, of course, in Searchlight, Nevada)?

I'd just like to see these numbers stacked up against those of, say, "real Americans" such as George W. Bush (even though he was born in evil, ivy-infested New Haven, Connecticut) or Sarah Palin (identified with the late-arriving state of Alaska but actually born in Sandpoint, Idaho). And I wonder how the numbers would be for John McCain, who, of course, was born in the then-U.S. territory of the Panama Canal Zone. Let's stack up ten Democrats and ten Republicans. Would the Democrats all come out lower? Would Schumer come out lower than, say, Rudy Giuliani (also born in Brooklyn)? Given the great amusement with which some birthers refer to Obama as "Buckwheat," would there be a racial skew -- what would the numbers be for, say, Jesse Jackson (born in Greenville, South Carolina?

Let's poll this. Let's see how limited the yahoos' definition of America really is.

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