No, it really is the Republicans who are pushing this nonsense


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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18 Responses

  1. E.D. Kain says:

    It’s too bad, too. Personality politics will continue to fail when used against Obama. That this is obvious doesn’t seem to matter. That the angry right-wingers at Democratic townhall meetings come off as very bad spokespeople for conservatism doesn’t seem to matter. That they look bad when held up against the imperturbable calm of the President doesn’t seem to matter. Nothing seems to matter. The nonsense just continues.Report

  2. Jason Arvak says:

    No one is blaming the liberal blogosphere for the rise of birthers in the first place. What some of us ARE criticizing some liberal bloggers for is EXAGGERATING the scope and reach of birthers while, at the same time, ignoring the many counterexamples of conservatives condemning birtherism even when those counterexamples are specifically pointed out.

    Given the searching you obviously had to do to find the conservatives pushing birtherism, it is extremely unlikely that you failed to run across some of those counterexamples. Thus, your failure to include any of those examples in your assessment (and misrepresentation) of Kirchick’s argument seems intentional.

    The League should feature higher standards for honest assessment, especially since I’ve commented on this exact point here once already. Honestly, I’ve thought very highly of the League in spite of its generally left-leaning direction — I even submitted a guest post of my own at one point. But this pushing of a manifestly dishonest characterization even after being called on it makes me reevaluate whether the League might just be another slightly more academic-sounding addition to a relentlessly partisan and biased liberal blogosphere.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Jason Arvak says:

      Jason: what exactly is the point of pointing out conservatives who denounce birtherism? I mean, in what sense is it at all effective? I’d say that overall the members of this site are largely economic conservatives with left-leaning social views though that changes from one member to the next to some degree. I point out with regularity the more idiotic things going on in the Right because I’d like to see a viable conservatism replace the mess we have now. And without an honest critique of the loudest and trend-setting voices on the Right, I don’t think we’ll ever have a viable right. Thus you see bloggers like Daniel Larison constantly calling out the hawks on the Right because he’d like to see a move away from interventionism. Thus you see me or Will calling out birthers because we’d like to see honest dialogue and not this constant drizzle of B.S.

      Should we instead point to all the conservatives that are not birthers? Should we add notes to each birther post reminding everyone that not all conservatives are birthers? I mean, as with truthers or any other conspiracy, of course most people aren’t signing on for it. But a surprising number of Republicans are. I mean it – a really surprising number. And too many are sympathetic to it. And I was pretty sardonic towards the truthers. I’m not going to back off from this stupid, inane birther complex. There’s plenty of other stuff conservatives could be focusing on. Health care, carbon credits, alternative sources of revenue, defense, and so on and so forth.

      So now that’s what? Two maybe three posts here about birthers? One was a parody that I put up. Now this paragraph-long piece by Will. And you want a more “honest assessment” from us? We’ve barely done an “assessment” at all.Report

    • Finally! Someone who doesn’t think we’re all conservatives! Hallelujah!Report

  3. Jason Arvak says:

    When the point of much of the reporting is to highlight the influence birthers have over conservatives (or just push the continuing meme on many blogs that conservatives are all evil idiots), the “point” of acknowledging the many counterexamples would be “honesty”, I think.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Jason Arvak says:

      Okay. So let me get this straight: you want conservatives to not be birthers, right? That’s bad. Birthers = bad. But rather than call out the birthers or those conservatives who support them, what we should do is just point out that not all conservatives are birthers…? Okay, so Will is a self-identified conservative. He writes against birtherism, thereby demonstrating that not all conservatives are birthers. But that’s not enough…?Report

  4. Jason Arvak says:

    Should we instead point to all the conservatives that are not birthers? Should we add notes to each birther post reminding everyone that not all conservatives are birthers?

    Given the tone and intention of this discussion as it currently exists in the blogosphere, I think that the above would be a responsible addition to posts regarding it. But maybe taking care not to smear people is just too much trouble, huh?Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Jason Arvak says:

      Man. Okay, so yesterday you critique my post because I had apparently linked to a post that it turns out I hadn’t linked to. In fact, at least one of my links was to another conservative site that was writing critically of the birthers. And somehow this post, which never once mentioned another conservative site or pointed fingers at conservatives at all, was harmful to conservatives writ large. ???

      So in that post, at the end or somewhere, in the middle of what was ostensibly a humorous post, I should have switched gears and said – “but you know, not all conservatives are birthers.”

      That strikes me as a defensive position. And I don’t think it’s necessary. What is more effective than pointing out that conservatives aren’t all birthers? Having conservatives write about how wrong the birthers and their supporters are. Not all conservatives supported the Iraq war either. Do I need to point that out every time I critique hawkish foreign policy?Report

  5. Jason Arvak says:

    Look, Ed, when the post is all about an article (Kirchick’s) that says that the scope and reach of birthers is being exaggerated by the liberal blogosphere, that comment on that article should not merely misrepresent and sarcastically mock Kirchick’s point, but rather report honestly on whether the scope and reach of birthers actually IS being exaggerated.

    The refusal to do so, especially in light of the effort expended to obtain links that make the opposite claim, does seem willfully dishonest and unfair.

    But, as I said, maybe you consider being fair to just be too much trouble.

    I think you’re right that there are much more important issues for conservatives to be debating, especially health care. But that is Kirchick’s (and my) whole point — that the exaggeration of the influence of birthers has both the intention and effect of marginalizing all conservatives from those more substantive debates. The campaign to exaggerate the influence of birthers is a political tactic of distraction designed and timed specifically to try to short-circuit the conservative criticisms of health care reform at a critical stage in the debate.Report

    • Will in reply to Jason Arvak says:

      Jason Arvak –

      To respond to your original point, Kirchick cites exactly one liberal blog – namely, FireDogLake – as evidence of leftists exaggerating the Obama Birther movement. My post, on the other hand, cites several Republican legislators who seem to have bought into the Birther craze, not to mention blatant conspiracy-mongering from conservative commentators at putatively mainstream sites like National Review, First Things and The American Spectator. I think this clearly demonstrates that the “Birthers” are a self-inflicted wound, not some Leftist bogeyman.Report

  6. Jason Arvak says:

    So your claim is that FireDogLake is NOT in fact exaggerating the scope and reach of birtherism?

    If so, I renew my charge that this is a willfully dishonest of the OVERALL state of conservative thinking.Report

  7. Jason Arvak says:

    It is dishonest because it implies that the few “mainstream conservatives” (actually, with the exception of Limbaugh, none are mainstream conservatives) who support the birther claims (actually, their statements are ambiguous, not supportive) that you cite are indicative of the broader picture of conservatism. In short, you cherry-pick which sources you will talk about in a way that presents a misleading picture of overall conservative thinking on the issue and, in the process, you do the exact same misrepresentation that FireDogLake does.

    I found with very little effort a list of 7 mainstream conservative bloggers who explicitly and without qualification condemn the birther nonsense. The fact that you continue to ignore them even after I provided a link above strengthens my belief that your purpose is to endorse FireDogLake’s misrepresentation.Report