Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Rick Perry has now rejected birtherism, while Donald Trump, whose ring Republican candidates still seek to kiss, just told Greta Van Susteren that he's still a birth certificate skeptic. Dan Abrams (ex-NBC, now at Mediaite) thinks the lesson to be learned from the past few days is leave birthers alooooooone!

Lets be clear, [Perry] didn't bring up the issue, the media did. Now they --we-- are taking his casual, even lighthearted comments and treating them far more seriously than he, or anyone else ought to be.

Lets start by agreeing that reasonable people now consider this to be beyond a silly issue. President Obama is a U.S. citizen with a valid birth certificate. Done. So then why are members of the media, not the Republican candidates, still spending so much time on it?

Because "reasonable people" obviously don't include all A-list Republicans -- and absolutely don't include one past front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, if not two.

Writing about Perry's Parade interview -- in which he said "I don't know" or "I don't have any idea" three times in response to questions about whether Obama's birth certificate is real -- Abrams harrumphs:

So the reporter, not Perry, raised the issue which, of course, can be a reporter's duty on important issues candidates are reluctant to discuss.

What, the fact that a possible major-party presidential candidate might believe conspiratorial nonsense isn't an important issue?

...the mainstream media in particular, has an obligation to stop the cycle of speculation. Instead, they are fueling it.

No, the mainstream media does not have an obligation to stop the cycle of speculation -- Republicans do. Far too many of them have been slow to condemn birtherism and prone to use word games and euphemisms (variants on "As far as I know," for instance, when asked to affirm Obama eligibility) And there's a simple way to stop the cycle of speculation -- give no quarter to birtherism. Do you think any of the major Democratic candidates for president in 2008 would have hesitated to condemn 9/11 trutherism if asked? Would there have been nods and winks and backhanded attempts to play to the birther base on the part of Obama and Clinton and Edwards and Richardson and Biden? It wouldn't have been an issue at all -- they all would have rejected trutherism outright and in the strongest possible language. Why the hell can't Republicans all do the same? And why is it unfair to ask them to do so?