By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
As I mentioned yesterday, the video of Mike Castle getting ambushed by a "Birther" (as in Barack Obama's birth took place somewhere beside the United States of America) has given the televised media an excuse to more closely examine the puzzling movement. Chris Matthews has been on it a couple of nights in a row now and I've heard Republicans play it off a couple of times as fringe-nuts analogous to liberals during the Bush years who said that W had broken laws and/or should be impeached. But that's not correct: There is a serious argument to be made that Bush overstepped the laws and the Constitution in his exercise of presidential power while in office; you might disagree with the assertion, but it's on-its-face, slam-dunk nutty in the way Birther theory is.
Rather the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg comes up with the proper analogy: The birthers are the equivalent on the right of the "truthers" on the left—people who believe that the U.S. government was secretly behind the September 11 attacks. In both cases you've got people who believe that the press is complicit in a government conspiracy to assault society.
I think more broadly that Time's Joe Klein has a good point about the Birthers:
Let me tell you what this is all about: The President of the United States is named Barack Hussein Obama. He is the first chief executive of this grand and good nation not to be melanin-deprived. There are a fair number of frightened, ignorant, idiot white folks still prowling the streets. They listen to right-wing talk radio. They show up at Republican town meetings. They can not believe that a man named Barack Hussein Obama could actually have been elected President. I must admit, I relish their discomfort. But I wish they'd go away.
And of course as with all such stories, there's this:
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