04 August 2009
Introducing the Birther Movement
If you have never heard of the birthers or their movement then you are in good company because most people hadn´t until about a month ago. As this report explains, the birthers are those Americans who believe that Barack Obama has no right to the presidency because he was actually born in Kenya, and the constitution lays down that the president needs to be born in the USA. On the surface the whole matter sounds ludicrous, and the liberal-left in the USA are doing their usual job of ridiculing the birthers at every opportunity, as the above video shows. Also as usual they are missing the point because there is nothing irrational about this attack on Obama.
The birthers can draw comfort from the Whitewater Scandal that almost cost Bill Clinton the presidency. Remember that the right could not prove that Clinton had done anything illegal in that Arkansas land deal, but once they were all in contact with each other, they began to egg each other on with more and more revelations - revelations that had nothing to do with Whitewater. Thus we got to Monica Lewinsky and her affair with Clinton, and from there to Clinton´s impeachment. The fact that Clinton was found not guilty in his Senate trial is neither here nor there: the right probably takes the view that they will have better luck this time.
Secondly, this is about de-legitimising Obama as president. Most people don´t take all that much of an interest in politics, and are unlikely to get worked up about Obama´s place of birth. That said, a campaign like this might just appeal to the bar room boys who like to chat about this and that when they have their weekly boozy evening together. If that is the case, then bit by bit, the birthers will hope to undermine the majority that elected Obama last year, and help ensure that he is not re-elected.
Finally, a lot of people are making a lot of money out of this wheeze. Take World Net Daily, which is the main birther site as a case in point. The stat porn for that site must be very satisfying to its owners -to say nothing about the advertising revenue that is flooding their way. And let´s not forget all those $17.99s that are flowing in for the video. . . Yup, there is brass too be made out of all this
All in all what we are looking at is an internet sponsored, viral whispering campaign against Obama. It is too early to tell whether it will succeed or not, but one thing is clear and that is that their is nothing irrational about the campaign´s organisers.
Update: The BBC has a question and answer article on the birthers that has just gone live.