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February 15, 2011


The linked article re Pawlenty's birtherism joke appears in SF Gate (which is a combine of San Francisco's two leading newspapers) and bylined Bloomberg. It includes the quote
He said Republicans should reject, as part of a push to reign [sic] in "reckless" government spending...
Who says big newpapers and news organizations are more reliable than one-person blogs?

As quoted in the article, Pawlenty's joke doesn't sound uproarious, but it is in the form of a real joke. He didn't question what country Obama is from, but the President's policies are so weird, Pawlenty wonders what planet he's from. Since this joke defends Obama against the birthers, why does it upset Brendan and Adam Serwer?

They say it's because the comment keeps the birtherism theory alive. That's unconvincing, because the quoted comment specifically denies the birtherism theory. I have two other suggestions:

1. The comment is a harsh criticism of Obama's policies. For many Oabama supporters, any criticism is unacceptible.

2. It uses birtherism in a joke. It may be that birtherism appears so serious that Brendan and Serwer are offended to see it used in a joke.

For those who think birtherism is terribly important, I would suggest comparing it to some other issues that conservatives worry about: Will the high unemployment recession continue indefinitely? Will the President's reckless spending lead to high inflation and weaken the value of the US dollar, thus corroding people's savings? Will Egypt's new government eventually be like Iran's? Will Iran be prevented from gaining a nuclear arsenal?

These are serious issues that could make life significantly worse for all Americans. By comparison, birtherism is a trivial issue that cannot hurt a soul. IMHO it's quite appropriate to use it as joke fodder.

Karl's "ugly" pie chart dramatically demonstrates that Obama was exaggerating or virtualy lying when he called his proposed spending cuts "deep."

The New York Times repeated this embroidery as if it were factual news when when they ran the headline, Obama’s Budget Seeks Deep Cuts in Domestic Spending without putting the word "deep" in quotes.

Again with the "Post-birtherism" shtick?

I guess I was wrong in a previous comment when I assumed you disagreed with this line of reasoning, since it contradicts the conclusions of your own research (i.e. trying to forcefully correct untruths may only reinforce them) and involves two of the spin techniques you consistently decry - Mind-reading / long distance psychological diagnosis.

Brendan Krauthammer - heal thyself! ;-)

It's not a psychological diagnosis - it's an observation of political strategy. Leading Republicans are making jokes about it which allows them to raise the issue without endorsing the myth. They're not ridiculing it in order to make the myth go away.

So you are getting pretty good at reading minds then, since none of what you claim Republicans are doing is knowable any other way.

Let's look at it another way. Since having the myth out there is probably more advantageous to Obama than to the Republicans, (since it makes right-leaning people sound crazy in general),why would they want to keep raising the issue?

This myth won't go away for some people no matter what anyone says, so it seems obvious the best solution is for Republicans to minimize it by making fun of it and thereby making fun of those who believe it.

That makes more sense than your conclusions and doesn't involve assuming ulterior motives.

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