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May 06, 2011


Birtherism has never haunted a president before Barack Obama? Tell that to Chester A. Arthur.

The myth that any criticism of President Obama or of his policies is driven by racism now has a name: the "racer myth". See: http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/05/05/truthers-birthers-deathers-got-nothing-on-racers/ This link connects to examples where people who criticized Obama or who disagreed with his policies were called racists.

Here's another example from yestoday's paper from noted columnist, Leonard Pitts.

Note that Pitts' column supplies no grounds at all for his accusation. Like other myth-believers, Pitts somehow just knows that Obama's critics are racists.

What should be done about the "racers"? IMHO, like other purveyors of incendiary myths, they should be shamed and shunned.

Some comments above attacked Somerby's examples as inapt, but none of them provided evidence for the original charge that birthers are driven by racism. E.g., the NY Times supported their view by writing, "It is inconceivable that...." That's the kind argument one makes when he has no facts to support his position. Another version that I recall from college was, "Even a freshman knows that...." Then, there's the ever-popular, "Obviously...."

Like other myth believers, racers have turned the burden of proof around in their minds. Their belief is the default. They see no need to prove their position. They might consider changing their minds if someone could disprove their belief, and if the disproof were absolutely flawless.

"This link connects to examples where people who criticized Obama or who disagreed about his policies were called racists."

Except the author doesn't actually GIVE any examples "where people who criticized Obama or who disagreed about his policies were called racists." He/she ("the PJ Tattler" obviously doesn't give any indication of the gender of the author) just gives "racer" responses to conservative policy positions, but doesn't give any specifics of anyone actually uttering said responses.

As for David's assessment of the Pitt's column: "...Pitts somehow just knows that Obama's critics are racists."

Uh, no, Pitt's indicates that he believes that Obama's critics WHO ARE BIRTHERS are racists. You can certainly take issue with that, but that's certainly not the same thing as tarring ALL Obama's critics with the "racist" brush. You (David) either deliberately mischaracterized Pitts' column to make it appear that his position/argument was more extreme and wide-reaching than it actually was, or, (at least in regards to this specific column), you have poor reading comprehension. I hope it's the latter.

Daniel, in the PJ Tattler article, you need to click on the boldface words to go to the links. If you do that, you'll find the article is as specific as anyone could wish.

Whoops, you're right, Rob. Thanks. My apologies to David.

I wonder if "PJ Tattler" and Tony Katz (or anyone else at Pajamas Media, for that matter) believe that the "racer" label/characterization should be applied in the reverse partisan and ideological direction as well (ex: Glenn "Obama has a deep-seated hatred for white people" Beck). Nah, to the PJ crowd, playing the race card is probably only a bad thing when a liberal/Democrat is doing the playing.

I actually meant "...to the PM (Pajamas Media)" crowd..." in my last comment.

It's probably been a year since I stopped by here, and back then Brendan had been clinically kicking birthers for a solid year.

The reasons why the birthers I have talked to questioned Obama's birthplace fall mainly into two groups:

1) The members of one group disagree with Obama's statist, profligate and redistributionist policies, they resent the complete lack of job accountability or qualifying experience in his pre-Presidential life, and they think he, personally, is a hyperpartisan, hypocritical, closed-minded narcissist. They hoped the birth issue would undermine his political influence, which they saw and still see as poisonous. This group is the larger of the two.

2) Members of the other group think every president, including Obama, must, if asked, prove his natural-born citizenship by showing his official long-form birth certificate. They see it as a constitutional requirement, not a choice. They did not understand why Obama refused to release his certificate, so his refusal made them suspicious. His recent release relieved their concern.

There is crossover between the groups. Racism is not a component of either group. Each group is made up of members from every racial group.

The less clear issues are these:

A) Why did Obama refuse to release his long-form certificate for so long?

B) Why did Obama supporters like Brendan, Leonard Pitts, and the MSNBC crew spend so much time and effort talking about birthers?

Maybe the answers to questions A and B are the same.

In a different context, Brendan would deride any claim sporting the inadequate factual underpinning of the risable "birthers = racists" assertion.

Spin-analyst, analyze thyself.

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