Charles Pierce: I was driving most of yesterday and, therefore, only got the news piecemeal of Willard Romney’s descent to previous unplumbed depths in a racist bathysphere of how own devising. I felt a little out of the loop until I was presented with the comforting familiarity of what a dipshit Mark Halperin is:
“After reading a lot of tweets, listening to some talk radio, and watching some cable TV, I can say that this Romney/birther moment is representative of the whole, horrible campaign cycle we are in. The level of vitriol and personal animus that exists on both sides over the flap is truly discouraging.”
Yet another TOD post that has been reblogged by Jueseppi B, despite requests that he make his own effort to support PBO rather than copying others simply to drive up his reblog’s traffic. He doesn’t take kindly to being challenged, as another woman found out: explicit. Genuine bloggers are welcome to use anything they ever see at TOD. Thanks
President Barack Obama walks with White House Advance Associate Valerie Tyburski following an event at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard near Cushing, Okla., March 22. Walking behind the President are Trip Director Marvin Nicholson and Vic Erevia, U.S. Secret Service Special-Agent-in-Charge. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama holds a metal and carbon fiber rod used in the construction of a lightweight race car alongside students at the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University in Columbus
President Obama returns to the White House after a two-day trip promoting his energy policy
Steve Benen: It’s hard not to marvel at just how dishonest Mitt Romney is prepared to be in order to win. The notion of politicians misleading the public to advance their ambitions isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but Romney acts as if he doesn’t even care about getting caught, leading to blatant and obvious falsehoods.
This one, from last night’s debate, was just shameless….
Charlotte Observer: On the final night of this fall’s Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America stadium, party sources told the Observer on Monday night.
Convention officials are expected to announce the venue this morning at a news conference at the stadium. Two party sources say the decision to use the stadium was made months ago.
Honestly, I haven’t made this up – a Ron Paul-supporting freak actually thought it was good news that the former KKK guy endorsed the nutjob!
Jonathan Bernstein: I have to say: If I were running Mitt Romney’s campaign, I’d much prefer reporters going on today about a mini-flap involving one of Mitt’s sons going birther and then apologizing than have them reporting on the Santorum surge.
….in the long run (or perhaps even by Tuesday) this particular incident will be long forgotten, it still can’t hurt Romney with Tea Partiers to hint that his camp is on the same page with them culturally.
Of course, I’m not hinting, nor am I voicing any suspicion, that the Romney camp would actually do something like this on purpose.
Reuters: New U.S. claims for jobless benefits rose last week but the underlying trend pointed to an improving labor market, while regional factory data showed the economy gaining momentum as the year ended.
The growth picture was brightened by other data on Thursday showing pending sales of previously owned homes jumped to a 1-1/2 year high in November, adding to signs of a tentative recovery in the housing market.
Indications the economy was wrapping up the year on a much firmer footing than had been previously anticipated leaves it better positioned to deal with headwinds from the festering debt crisis in Europe and fiscal tightening at home.
Fred Rotondaro (Chairman of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good): … President Obama took more than his share of verbal assaults during his 2008 campaign …. For the first time in history, a major candidate found his birth qualifications to be President questioned, in addition to false claims being made about his religion…
To his everlasting credit, John McCain was not one of those bigots who spread such lies … From what I have seen so far, I hope but do not expect such decency and true patriotism in 2012.
Four major candidates have spoken already about Barack Obama not being born in America or having a Kenyan worldview. The potential Republican candidates seem to be appealing to the worst elements of their own party … they seem terrified of confronting the bigotry that is often directed at the President. When Newt Gingrich calls Obama a “food stamp president,” he is giving a dog whistle to racists. When Michelle Bachmann said she took President Obama at his word regarding his place of birth, she was winking at the birthers. America needs better than this in 2012.
Deceit has worked its way into important debates also …. While the financial regulation bill was being discussed, Mitch McConnell met with Wall Street leaders to discuss strategy and raise campaign funds. Soon, back in Washington, he began pounding the theme that the bill was an attempt to set up bailouts for banks. This was not spinning. This was an out and out lie to the American people.
The debate about health care centered for a time on the theme of non-existent death panels after former Gov. Palin tweeted about them.….
This is where the American religious community can play a vital role by insisting on truth in public policy debates … Politicians campaign dishonestly because they can. Let’s make it difficult and let them know they will pay a price for deceptive campaign tactics. We owe it to ourselves, our children, and our country.
David Corn (Mother Jones): …..Mitt Romney … is still playing footsie with a popular conservative meme: Obama’s not really one of us …. (he) made a fierce pronouncement: The Obama Administration fundamentally does not believe in the American Experiment.…here was Romney saying that the president doesn’t understand the country he governs.
…Romney was engaging in what can be called otherism, a big cousin to birtherism. Otherism can be more virulent than birtherism (Obama is a secret Muslim socialist!) or more subtle (Hey, this Obama guy just doesn’t get America), but the main contention is that somehow he’s not a true American. It’s not a matter of his birth records, but of his attitude.
Newt Gingrich has helped set a benchmark for otherism … Mike Huckabee said Obama’s “worldview is dramatically different than any president, Republican or Democrat, we’ve had… He grew up more as a globalist than an American.”
…Romney slammed Obama for apologizing for “American misdeeds, both real and imagined.” (Romney didn’t explain what was wrong with apologizing for real misdeeds.) His bottom-line message: Real Americans don’t apologize. And the obvious conclusion is that if Obama does apologize, he’s not a you-know-what.
…Birtherism is (was?) fundamentally about delegitimizing Barack Obama – proving him a complete fraud … Yet the birthers, dependent on conspiracy theories, were easily done in by basic facts…..
Yet otherism continues and thrives … The strategy is to fuel suspicion, not prove a conspiracy. But the goal is the same: to encourage voters to believe Obama is not a real American …Unlike birtherism, otherism remains quite useful to the Republicans. Not even the adults of the party can resist its ugly temptations.
Justin Elliott (Salon): If the release of President Obama’s birth certificate last month was the denouement of the birther saga, the release of Terrence Lakin from prison will be its bizarre coda. Lakin is the veteran Army doctor who refused orders to redeploy to Afghanistan because he believed Obama was born abroad, not a legitimate president, and therefore that military orders were invalid.
Last December, Lakin … was dismissed from the Army and sentenced to six months in prison … In what promises to be one of the stranger political spectacles of the year, a homecoming event is planned Saturday at the Southwest Airlines baggage claim area of Baltimore Washington International Airport. The website set up to support Lakin … suggests:
All we ask you to do is bring a home-made poster that says, “Welcome Home Terry.” or “Thank You Terry” or any appropriate messages about the issue. Bring a small US flag if you have one. We will text the coordinators when we deplane so you can all get ready to greet Terry as he descends on the escalator to baggage claim. We need a big hurray and lots of applause (of course). He may say a few words…
Unlike the folks over at WorldNetDaily, who have been enriched by years of pumping up birtherism, Lakin’s commitment to the conspiracy both torpedoed his career and put his family in financial peril. His website notes: “Please consider making a special gift at this critical time. We have been able to provide for the family’s monthly expenses, but contributions have dropped off since the release of the proposed birth document by the Obama administration.”
Can anyone imagine a more tragic story emerging from the birther carnival?
CBS: Colin Powell told graduates of South Carolina’s premier historically black university that they were graduating during a tumultuous time that saw a royal wedding, the beatification of a pope, and a U.S. military assault that killed Osama bin Laden, “the worst person on earth”.
But the former secretary of state and Joint Chiefs chairman told the 400 graduates of South Carolina State University that he particularly enjoyed another event of the past week: “That was when President Obama took out his birth certificate and blew away Donald Trump and all the birthers!”
The stadium and its 400 graduates roared in appreciation of Powell’s comments on the president’s move last week to quell the doubts expressed by those who haven’t believed that he was born in Hawaii…..
Johann Hari (The UK Independent): Since the election of Barack Obama, the Republican Party has proved that one of its central intellectual arguments was right all along. It has long claimed that evolution is a myth believed in only by whiny liberals – and it turns out it was on to something. Every six months, the party venerates a new hero, and each time it is somebody further back on the evolutionary scale.
Sarah Palin told cheering rallies that her message to the world was: “We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way!” – but that wasn’t enough. So the party found Michele Bachmann, who said darkly it was an “interesting coincidence” that swine flu only breaks out under Democratic presidents, claims the message of The Lion King is “I’m better at what I do because I’m gay”, and argues “there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
That wasn’t enough. I half-expected the next contender to be a lung-fish draped in the Stars and Stripes. But it wasn’t anything so sophisticated. Enter stage (far) right Donald Trump, the bewigged billionaire who has filled America with phallic symbols and plastered his name across more surfaces than the average Central Asian dictator. CNN’s polling suggests he is the most popular candidate among Republican voters. It’s not hard to see why. Trump is every trend in Republican politics over the past 35 years taken to its logical conclusion. He is the Republican id, finally entirely unleashed from all restraint and all reality…..
…So who should be the Republican nominee? I hear the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were considering running – but they are facing primary challenges from the Tea Party for being way too mild-mannered.
Foknewschannel: Twitter tells us little about @KatieS … she attended The White House Correspondents’ Dinner with a plan … Tomorrow’s goal: bring a copy of @barackobama‘s birth certificate and have the Donald autograph it.
Ms. Stanton added that Trump didn’t hear a word she said as she asked him to sign the President’s Birth Certificate. But, as ever, thinking with his hair, he did it:
Eugene Robinson (Washington Post): …. Two ugly forces had to combine to produce the birth certificate sideshow, which can only be described as a national disgrace. One is a calculated attempt by Obama’s political opponents to de-legitimize his presidency.
It seems obvious to me that this campaign to paint the president as some sort of usurper – this insistence that despite winning the popular vote by a healthy margin and the electoral vote by a landslide, he wasn’t really elected – has everything to do with race.
Does anyone disagree? Well, just imagine what the birthers would be saying if Obama – like his Republican opponent in 2008, John McCain – had been born in the Panama Canal Zone. Or think of the uproar if Obama – like George W. Bush in 2000 – had lost the popular vote but won the electoral college.
Look, I’m not surprised that the first black president faces unprecedented scrutiny about his origins, and I hope Obama’s not surprised, either. This sort of thing comes with being a historic “first,” and there’s no way around it. To those deniers who can’t come to terms with the fact of the Obama presidency, I have nothing to offer but this: Yes, he’s smarter, richer, luckier and better looking than you, and he’s your president. Yours, mine and ours. And he’s black. Get over it.
The Atlantic: After President Obama blamed the media for making the birther conspiracy the “dominant” story, ABC News’s Jake Tapper shot back that the president had told an “untruth” and pointed to the Project for Excellence in Journalism statistics on the news agenda. “The ridiculous claims about the president’s birth certificate actually was the No. 4 story for the week – receiving about one tenth of the coverage devoted to stories about the economy,” Tapper wrote.
That may be true, but …according to the PEJ’s statistics covering April 11-24, when CNN, MSNBC and Fox News did cover the Obama Administration (which was just about 7% of total coverage) the vast majority – 76 percent – was about rumors concerning his “citizenship and religion.”
But here’s the curious thing, of those three networks, CNN and MSNBC devoted a far higher percentage of their Obama coverage to birthers than Fox News.
When CNN covered the White House, 89 percent of the time they were covering rumors, while at MSNBC it was even higher at 93%. Fox News was downright moderate by comparison: birther coverage made up 48% of its Administration coverage. It’s worth noting that Trump coverage, even if it related to his accusations about Obama’s citizenship, was not included in this category by the PEJ.
The Atlantic: ……After lunch, the group took a walk, with Barry running ahead. A flock of Indonesian children began lobbing rocks in his direction. They ducked behind a wall and shouted racial epithets. He seemed unfazed, dancing around as though playing dodge ball “with unseen players,” [fellow American and friend Elizabeth] Bryant said. Ann [Barack Obama’s mother] did not react. Assuming she must not have understood the words, Bryant offered to intervene. “No, he’s O.K.,” Ann said. “He’s used to it.”
New York Times editorial: With sardonic resignation, President Obama, an eminently rational man, stared directly into political irrationality on Wednesday and released his birth certificate to history. More than halfway through his term, the president felt obliged to prove that he was a legitimate occupant of the Oval Office. It was a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life.
The disbelief fairly dripped from Mr. Obama as he stood at the West Wing lectern. People are out of work, American soldiers are dying overseas and here were cameras to record him stating that he was born in a Hawaii hospital. It was particularly galling to us that it was in answer to a baseless attack with heavy racial undertones.
…the birther question was never really about citizenship; it was simply a proxy for those who never accepted the president’s legitimacy, for a toxic mix of reasons involving ideology, deep political anger and, most insidious of all, race. It was originally promulgated by fringe figures of the radical right, but mainstream Republican leaders allowed it to simmer to satisfy those who are inflamed by Mr. Obama’s presence in the White House.
…It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president.
There was a price to the Republican party for keeping the issue alive; inevitably, it was picked up by a cartoon candidate, Donald Trump, who rode birtherism directly to the prime-time promontories of cable TV. The Republican establishment began to wince as it became increasingly tied to Mr. Trump’s flirtations with racial provocation…
Finally, his taunting and the questions of television correspondents obliging Mr. Trump got on the president’s nerves. Mr. Obama was tactically smart to release the certificate and marginalize those who continue to keep the matter alive. It is tragic that American politics is fueled by such poisonous fire. Mr. Trump quickly moved on to a new fixation, questioning Mr. Obama’s academic credentials. Mr. Boehner, and other party leaders, have a new reason to call a halt to the politics of paranoia and intolerance.