Monday, August 03, 2009

(Idle speculation about a couple of dumb stories)

I haven't wanted to blog about the new Obama birth certificate nonsense or the Palin divorce nonsense, because both stories make me feel as if brain cells dying in my skull, but I'm wondering if I see a bit of symmetry. In the case of the alleged new birth certificate (click to enlarge)...

...every debunker has pointed to this about the document number:

the number 47O44-- 47 is Obama's age when he became president, followed by the letter O (not a zero) followed by 44--he is the 44th president.

It would be amusing if an Obama supporter generated this fake (the debunkers list many other reasons why it's a fake) and palmed it off on a birther to take advantage of the birthers' gullibility.

And then there's Palin:

Sarah Palin beats press to blog claim

Sarah Palin's spokeswoman Saturday took the unusual step of posting a statement on Facebook denying an anonymous blog report that the former Alaska governor was getting a divorce and moving to Montana.

"Yet again, some so-called journalists have decided to make up a story," wrote Meg Stapleton on Palin's Facebook page....

Actually, no journalists had reported the allegations. They were made on an Alaskan blog called "The Immoral Minority," and then repeated on other blogs, including Gawker, a well-trafficked New York gossip site....

The Palin camp is clearly going out of its way to draw attention to an unflattering rumor that might otherwise have receive little scrutiny.

So if anyone close to the president had anything to do with the fake birth certificate (which is impossible to determine -- we can't even tell if it's from a pro-Obama source at all), that would mean both he and Palin are using the freak show to rally their respective bases, by drawing attention to fringe-dwelling online opponents (and implicitly discrediting the better-credentialed pundits who've said things similar to what the fringe-dwellers are saying).

As I say, I don't know if any of this is true with regard to Obama at all (though I do think the White House is probably working the "birthers are a real problem for the GOP" meme with the press, with a fair amount of success). But frankly, if it were true, it wouldn't be something the Obamaites should boast about. At this point what Obama needs is FDR's skill set, not Sarah Palin's. Picking a palooka to fight may impress Palin's base, but it isn't making her look like a champion to skeptics (including skeptics on the right). Similarly, if anybody on Obama's side thinks sustaining his fight with birther crazies is a strategy for winning broad-based support on the administration's agenda, I think it's a losing strategy. When people feel their lives and/or wallets are at stake, that trumps any sideshow. And they're thinking about both a lot right now. Obama's base likes seeing the birthers embarrassed (as Palin's base likes seeing her attack her foes), but I'm not sure anyone else is particularly impressed.

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