Kids, when I was your age New Jersey was the state we all laughed at. – or – Sheesh Erik, what is it with you guys down there?


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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184 Responses

  1. Avatar Sam says:

    Apparently you don’t understand that verification rules are for people with dark(er) skin, not for upstanding white Americans like Mr. Bennett.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Is there any truth to the rumors that Ken Bennett was once a member of the New Arizona Socialist Party? I’m not suggesting he actually was in NASP, mind you, just raising the issue. If he would only come clean about it that would really put the issue to rest. Until then, I can’t be sure he’s qualified for discharge of an important office like Secretary of State.Report

  3. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    Which I’m praying to almighty Agnostic God he does, because I would pay good money to see the beat down he’d get from the Supreme Court after he did so.

    You mean, a 4-4 tie after Kagan is bludgeoned into recusing herself? It’s not as if Scalia and Thomas would allow the Court to overstep its bounds and interfere with a state’s right to conduct an election as it sees fit.Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

      Arizona isn’t going for Obama anyway.

      Florida didn’t come out the way the Democrats wanted, but by gum I can’t imagine the national uproar if a sitting President was left off of a ballot in a state and SCOTUS weighed in with, “Yanno, that’s totally okay.”

      28th Amendment, boom!Report

      • Avatar M.A. says:

        I went to look up the numbers. Arizona vote spread in 2008 was +200,000 for McCain, 8.5 percentage points which would make your assertion likely, though McCain did have favored son status in the state and Romney would suffer considerably from outsider status there. It’s possible with the right combination of issues or severe missteps by the Republicans that it could be in play, but I think you’re right that the chance is still relatively low.

        On the other hand this type of activity is definitely making the state into an embarassment. What that’ll do electorally is anyone’s guess, it might fire up the hard core of the GOP in the state or it might demotivate them all considerably, and outrage may do the same for the other side.Report

        • Avatar karl says:

          In 2000, Bush beat Gore 51% – 44.7% (by 100,000 votes); in 2004 Bush beat Kerry 55% – 43.4% (by 110,000 votes). In 2008, McCain 53.4% — Obama 44.9%.

          I expect Romney to win, too, but don’t discount the effect of Obama’s incumbency and a lower overall turnout (which usually helps Rs but just might help Ds this time around).

          Gotta go! Places In The Heart just started!Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          yeah, romney ain’t mccain “waterwars” crazyReport

  4. Avatar Lyle says:

    Actually you could phrase it as electors pledged to the candidate nominated by the democratic national convention held in Charlotte NC on the date it was held. That is actually who you are voting for not for the president directly anyway. The judgement of qualification is really the electors not anyone elses. The law may allow the use of the candidates name as a shortcut but it really is only that.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      That doesn’t sound right to me. It would suggest that as long as you can get the electors to agree that they’re qualified, Bill Clinton or GWB could run for president again (for example).Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I don’t see anything stopping an elector from voting for a candidate who’s ineligible.Report

        • Avatar M.A. says:

          The way this election season seems to be going I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or two of Romney’s pledged electors cast Ron Paul ballots instead.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          I do see something preventing an ineligible candidate from taking the oath. I don’t see “That’s clearly unconstitutional, but there is no way to stop it.”Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            I do see something preventing an ineligible candidate from taking the oath

            Me too, which is why I said something that doesn’t contradict that.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          I mean, let’s take a quasi-realistic hypothetical where electors might try such a thing. Federalist Party president John McCarren’s two terms are up. His Vice President, Tom Morgan, has won the race in a dramatic fashion. However, tragedy strikes when Morgan and his VP nominee, Eric Malone, are killed in a plane crash. Morgan’s electors say “Hey, Morgan was elected on a mandate to continue in the popular policies of President McCarren. We should just vote McCarren to a third term.”

          Do you think that would fly? I don’t.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            I think they could vote that way, and if the result is that no eligible candidate has a majority, the election goes into the House. (What exactly happens then, I’m not sure, because I don’t know what “top three vote-getters” means when number 1 or 2 is ineligible.)Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              Someone gets killed in a duel, eventually.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley says:

              Because the electors cast votes separately for Prez and Veep (Amendment 12), second place for president is not ineligible in this example, because he’s not the guy who died. So the House would–I think–have to select among the second and third place candidates. That obviously leaves the other major party candidate available, but unless there has been at least one faithless elector (and there usually is not) then there is no person who is third in electoral votes. So it seems (working off the cuff here) that most likely the House would have no real choice but to select the remaining major party candidate.

              Curiously, the 12th & 20th Amendments also say that if the House fails to select a president by the time the term starts, the sitting Veep shall be acting president until the House selects one, but in Will’s example that can’t happen because the guy is dead, meaning the Speaker would become the acting president (quite a temptation, perhaps, especially if he could count on his party in the House to fail to select a president for the next four years).Report

  5. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Nicely done Tod. (Hmmm. I seem to recall this argument being made a few days ago… 😉Report

  6. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    We do all know this is a goof, a game, eh?—nat’l importance like negative zero. I sure hope so. I think it’s kind of funny, although I think it gives more succor to Tod mocking Bennett to his friends than Bennett mocking Obama to the GOPers. And whatever Bennett’s spending on this, it’s too much.

    But I think the emails show it’s a battle of disingenuousnesses, sort of the lingua franca these days of our polity.

    Bennett has been appearing on local conservative talk radio shows, saying that he believes the President was born in Hawaii – “or at least I hope he was” – but nevertheless sees the need to figure out the truth once and for all…/i>

    If you think of this as performance art, it’s not bad atall atall. But not on the taxpayer’s dime.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      “But I think the emails show it’s a battle of disingenuousnesses, sort of the lingua franca these days of our polity.”

      +1. One of my thought when reading the emails was: JHC, how many man-hours of research is going into all of this?

      My impression is that the guy is a clown (maybe more for his campaign promise walk-back) who is looking to get a little radio adoration.

      But I still find the HI response hysterical. Not “Shep-Smith-Politics-Is-Creepy” hysterical, but pretty funny nonetheless. A goof it is – a goof by goofs – but sometimes this is the stuff that keeps me sane. Somehow, when I see stuff like this I know its all going to be alright.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Somehow, when I see stuff like this I know its all going to be alright.


        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:


          We have a way in America of allow ays being outraged about something. When we start going overboard on the silly stuff (i.e.: flag burning, birtherism, or the giant political controversy over using “actor” or “actress”) it means that things are looking up.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            it means that things are looking up.

            Maybe that’s because we’re sinking so low that’s the only direction left??Report

          • Avatar James Hanley says:

            I’m afraid I can’t agree in this case. The birtherism is too tightly tied into really unnerving stuff occurring on the right wing, like Rick Perry talking about secession, calls for 2nd Amendment solutions, and a county Republican Party in Virginia calling for revolution if Obama is re-elected. This stuff isn’t silly, like pearl-clutching about flag burning is.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

              See, I don’t view birtherism in that way. I view it as something between what Tom sees and what you see.

              I think the number of real birthers – people who actually, totally, 100% believe that Obama is a Kenyan – is so small as to be insignificant. However (and this is where Tom and I part ways) I think that in their desire to have constant controversies since Obama’s election, the right (pols and media, I mean) were happy to pick up this crazy ball and run with it for a while. I suspect they thought they’d run with it for a few weeks and then move on, and have it just be part of the general cacophony they run that the president is the Worst Elected Leader Ever bent on destroying the country. But then the story actually stuck in the mainstream, and not in the way were hoping. And it put them in a difficult spot. It made the whole team look bats hit crazy. So what to do?

              They couldn’t come out and say “our bad,” and they couldn’t really push it either because it made them look so silly. So then for a while GOP pols and media folk said, “It’s not that he was born in Kenya, it’s that I just don’t know,” and that didn’t make them look any better, and they switched to “I certainly know that he was born in the US, but I still have to wonder why he won’t release his BC,” but since he had repeatedly THIS didn’t make them look better.

              Now I think the desperately want the issue to go away and everyone to forget it was ever brought up, but there are enough vocal believing crazies that the left is willing to shine a spotlight on that it still makes it to the news every now and then. I think Tom is right that this is all politics and theatre; I think he is wrong that it is theatre that has been forced against an unwilling and unsuspecting GOP and rightwing media.

              Now as for what the guy in AZ was thinking, I have no idea.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I go with Occam on this: birtherism (A and B) is part of mainstream conservatism. As much as anything else is.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                And my problem with the right today isn’t that they are deranged loonies. It’s that they’re completely unserious about governing, and care little about anything but ratings, revenues and spotlights. So when I say I think birtherism is all theatre, I say that not to let them off the hook,but as an alternative criticism.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                And my problem with the right today isn’t that they are deranged loonies. It’s that they’re completely unserious about governing,

                Doesn’t the one explain the other?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                I’m partially in agreement. The “governing” right is certainly unserious about governing, but that’s what allows the non-governing right (the grassroots) to ratchet the crazy up to such a high level that it’s becoming a real danger. If the “governing” right would take their job seriously, part of the effect (whether directly or indirectly) would be to reduce the profile, influence, and confidence of the radicals. But by adopting the radical grassroots style as a form of theater, they are legitimating it and giving it a higher profile, greater influence, and more confidence to act. I don’t for a second think there are any Republicans in Congress who actually want an armed insurrection, but they are inadvertently making it more likely.

                (And with the anti-G8/WTO/NATO/Wall St. left in the mood it’s in, I’m not sure they would object to a reason to fight for realsies.)Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                This is absolutely correct. I’m not sure people fully understand how much money partisan politics makes people, and what the implications of that are. I don’t mean how much money politics makes people by getting people elected who will create policy that makes you money. I mean the politics itself makes people money, a ton of money, and so politics itself has become a giant business. This means, among other things, that a lot of people have an interest in making sure that politics look like a reality TV show with high ratings.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I think that this is why the Tea Parties/OWS are so successful (kinda).

                When they first start, they’re blank slates for the majority of the country to look at and see a vague dissatisfaction and a vague anger at the system and, let’s face it, overlap of quite a bit when it comes to opinions on what the government is currently doing (i.e., stuff that, for the most part, nobody wants).

                It’s just like the anti-war protests during the oughts, though…

                The media finds the one guy in blackface burning an effigy of the queen screaming some word salad and he becomes the face of the Tea Party/OWS.

                And the members of the OWS/Tea Party are more than happy enough to say “SEE? THEY’RE ALL LIKE THAT!!!” completely forgetting the last time the media found the one guy in blackface that showed up to their own rally.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Yeah, people are people.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                If that theory is the right one, why don’t we see batshit craziness from Dem. politicians and the liberal base, as well as the complete disregard for governing exhibited by the GOP?

                Or is this one of those both sides do it situations I’m blind too?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I could name a handful of local politicians and Congresspeople… you ready?

                Marion Barry.
                Detroit’s leadership.
                Maxine Waters.
                Cynthia McKinney.
                Remember when John Edwards claimed that Christopher Reeve would walk again? Good times.
                Howard Dean’s attitudes towards LIHOP/MIHOP.

                None of this counts? Not on the same level of crazy/corrupt?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I am blind!Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Being batshit crazy isn’t the only way to get good ratings. Sometimes, you just have to make sure there’s always a fight. For example, you can always treat the most extreme elements of the opposition as the actual opposition (so we have radical leftists and fascists as our political factions in this country, which comes as a surprise, I guarantee you, to radical leftists and fascists). For all intents and purposes, the right wing of the American political system has already established itself as the batshit crazy character in this drama (let’s say, for those of you who are old enough, the GOP has become the Puck of American politics). The Democrats have to be some other character in our household.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                It’s not those kind of things that make me believe the right is unserious about governing. I don’t mind over-the-top arguments about policy issues. So if the left makes a byzantine argument about Halliburton and Bush’s war policy I might roll my eyes, but at least we’re talking about whether or not we should be in Iraq, and the ethics of both paid military “advisors” and White house officials personally profiting from a war. Same with the right calling HRC “Socialist” even if they designed it. It’s a talk about public policy we should be having.

                It’s all the other stuff (e.g.: Obama’s telling kids to stay in school being a sign that he is starting an evil Brownshirt movement) that makes me say they are more concerned about ratings and not all that conceded about governingReport

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Also, this

        My impression is that the guy is a clown (maybe more for his campaign promise walk-back) who is looking to get a little radio adoration.

        given some of the other claims in the OP seems to suggest that being a clown is part and parcel of the GOP these days.

        Tod, I realize you’re trying to walk it back a bit, but you really should stick with your initial take on it.: the crazy has gone mainstream.Report

        • Avatar M.A. says:

          That was the thrust of my question below. So far I’ve been told often that most talk radio hosts don’t represent the mainstream of the GOP, that politicians of varying levels of influence don’t represent the GOP, that members of the GOP administration don’t really represent the GOP, that public statements by the Tea Party don’t represent the GOP. John Boehner, House majority leader for the GOP, apparently feels that Birtherism (A or B) is so strong and close to mainstream that his official statement was a non-statement about not telling people what to think. I went looking to the GOP candidate statements, at least 4 of them fell into the Birther B pattern – and I excluded Trump from that list.

          Tom Van Dyke insisted that the only valid form of argumentation is argumentation with the “best arguments” that the other side has to argue. But what if those best arguments are only presented by a small fraction of the GOP while the rest of the GOP is stuck on birtherism and other partisan rhetoric and signaling arguments that I’ve been hearing on a daily basis from almost all of the hosts and a vast majority of the callers since I started analyzing right wing talk radio? In other words, what if Tom Van Dyke is the outlier, the one outside the mainstream, and the mainstream is represented by the arguments he says he disavows?

          If Birther B rhetoric is enough to get Ken Bennett a round-robin trip through most of the radio shows and honorable-mention on the ones that aren’t actually having him on as a guest, then it may have gone mainstream by numbers.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            +1 for MAReport

          • Avatar M.A. says:

            I’m afraid it gets worse. Would an entire state party platform count as mainstream? Iowa’s GOP planned platform is proposing something similar to what Arizona’s already tried multiple times to pass into law.

            The relevant section states:
            1.7 We insist that a candidate prove that he or she meets all requirements for that office
            prior to being placed in nomination, including proof of United States citizenship.

            1.16 We believe candidates for President of the United States must show proof of being a
            “natural born citizen” as required by Article II, Section I of the Constitution —
            beginning with the 2012 election.

            There are a few other ugly bits in that document. “Right to Life” section: “1.4 We disagree with Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton as “settled law.” Under the Tenth amendment, these Supreme Court decisions have no authority over the states.”

            The entire “Government: State and Local” section is tinfoil hat time. Then there are shoutouts to the elimination of basically every department of government in existence, a dose of gold-standard nonsense along with repeal of the Federal Reserve Act.

            An unhealthy dose of nativism, 1.16 We believe that bequeathing citizenship to babies born to illegal aliens in the United
            States is a misinterpretation of the 14th amendment. Illegal aliens are not citizens of
            the United States and have committed a criminal act by entering illegally.
            – part of the larger, uglier “Immigration” section.

            This is the proposed platform for the Iowa Republican Party, and its sections mirror and name-check actions already taken by other states’ Republican Parties.

            Is this mainstream or not?Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          What, who’s walking back?

          The guy in AZ is a clown. Period. If this were a different kind of post, I’d be talking about how the people elected him, and that the need to “prove” Obama was born in the US was do to a law that AZ passed with the exact intention of getting to this place. This just wasn’t that kind of post. I wrote this post was because I found the story frigging hilarious. And it is!

          Some guy goes onto rightwing talk radio shows to turn himself into a hero for a cause I’d bet you $20 he knows is ludicrous, and tells the world that he isn’t afraid to take on Obama! I can imagine all the fantasies that went through this guys head, having quote wars with the White House, becoming the scourge of the left, using it as a way to work his way up the political ladder. And what happens? He publicly has his ass handed to him – not by the white house, of the USAG, or the President himself, but by some low-level state employee from Hawaii.

          Seriously, how is that not awesome?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            See Hanley’s comment at 10:14.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                I agree it’s awesome. To go back to the ’80s, it’s like totally awesome, dude. From that perspective the issue doesn’t even matter; slapdowns like this are always awesome.

                But from the perspective of the issue, it’s not like getting worked up about what some actor/actress says about politics, or having a national spat over some politician’s affair. In the context of the times, I think it’s a much more serious issue than that.

                But that doesn’t mean I don’t fully agree with you that this is friggin’ hilarious.Report

    • Avatar M.A. says:

      Would you mind if I asked who you think does represent the GOP? Last discussion you seemed to indicate that 75%-80% of republicans or talk radio, including the hosts with the largest audience, don’t represent the GOP. In this discussion by saying this is a goof and a game, you seem to be indicating you don’t think the Arizona GOP, Ken Bennett, or anyone else involved in this represents the GOP.

      So many talk radio hosts have given lip service to this sort of argumentation. I think in the last conversation Stillwater argued that there’s a neat rhetorical trick between “Birtherism A” and “Birtherism B.”

      What percentage of the GOP is in the Birtherism B crowd, and how large do they have to be to actually represent the GOP?Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        But what if those best arguments are only presented by a small fraction of the GOP while the rest of the GOP is stuck on birtherism and other partisan rhetoric and signaling arguments that I’ve been hearing on a daily basis from almost all of the hosts and a vast majority of the callers since I started analyzing right wing talk radio?

        That’s simply false. There’s not one of the top guys who even take those calls. Not Limbaugh or Hannity or even Glenn Fishing Beck.

        So there’s simply no way to engage with such fabrications, sir. This is infantile, sorry.

        Who do I think represents the GOP? Mitt Romney. And this sideshow is not going to help Barack Obama, who is not a good president.Report

        • Avatar Annelid Gustator says:

          I’ve heard exactly such spew on the first two programs you mention. So, which fabrications?Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Prove it. Cite, please.

            I’m not interested in denying fabrications any longer. “I heard it on talk radio” is a catchall for every piece of slime that comes down the pike. Perhaps you did hear it somewhere. But not on Limbaugh or Hannity or Beck or Hewitt or Medved or Prager or Dennis Miller or Mike Gallagher [whom I don’t like much, if that matters]. Not Mark Levin. Not Laura Ingraham. Not Monica Crowley, not Larry Kudlow, not Lou Dobbs.

            So please, this has taken enough of my time.

            This whole AZ thing is a stunt and a sideshow, and has no inherent importance. Clearly, some people think it makes their side better by making the other side worse. This Bennett guy is hot dogging and jerking Obama around, and trying to pass Bennett off as representative of the whole GOP is like trying to pass off Maxine Waters as the Democratic Party. I wish Bennett wouldn’t be doing this, because it gives glee to some people on the left but this molehill territory regardless.

            It doesn’t make Romney a worse candidate or Obama a better one. So have your fun, high-five each other to death, but this doesn’t even move the meter in the real world.Report

            • Avatar Sam says:

              Limbaugh, alleging a birther conspiracy:

              Hannity, defending birtherism:

              Miller has repeatedly given birthers room to speak:

              Gallagher talks about the issue:

              Dobbs talks about it:

              Crowley talks about it without talking about it, by insisting that Obama’s bad policies keep the idea alive:

              Beck, Hewitt, Medved, Prager, and Ingraham have both denounced the movement, although to varying degrees each has decided to talk about it, especially Ingraham, who gave Donald Trump airtime to run wild with his claims.

              Is that everyone?Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:


              The question remains: Who is representative of mainstream Republicans? Your defense of Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity seems to imply you think they are, but I’d rather you come right out and say it. If you had to pick five folks who represent mainstream Republicanism, whom would you select?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kazzy, asked & answered: Mitt Romney represents the GOP. The real world, not the toy store of infotainment.

                And I believe you asked me once about talkradio, and I answered. You must have missed the reply: I like Medved and Prager. Hewitt a bit. All liked Romney, whereas many of the others were cool to him, making noises about preferring a “real” conservative.

                But Romney is the nominee, in a walk. What does this tell us, Kaz? Why, that the zombifying effect of talk radio is way exaggerated. People listen to hear Obama bashed, people listen to hear the stories that the regular media buried on page A28 or in paragraph 16, below the fold.

                As for the time everybody put in to find examples of others not refudiating birtherism, one can easily find strong examples of where they did. Thx for playing, but you wasted your time. Indeed this whole thing was a waste of time from the first.

                The AZ Sec of State is in the real world, and not the toy story of infotainment, and so is a legitimate target to attempt to dirty the GOP with him. MarkT gives an over and under of 4 as in the number of votes the Cory Booker story will sway. I’ll take the over on that, and the under on this one.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                The AZ sec of state is one of Romeny’s state campaign chairs. Doesn’t that make him part of the “real” GOP?Report

              • Avatar RTod says:

                Tom, I’ll grant that Romney is the mainstream GOP guy. But to pretend that it begins and ends with him and there ain’t nothin’ else kind of quickly forgets his primary difficulties, does it not?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                RTod, I think the “pretending” is in playing the birther thing for far more than it is, which is mostly a bit of dirty fun.

                I didn’t tie the truthers around the Dem neck and I don’t stick you with responsibility for Chris Matthews. That’s not just disingenuous, it’s inhumane.Report

              • Avatar RTod says:

                I’m sorry, did I call you a birther?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Certainly not, Tod. But I think our work is done here. Fun was had, nonsenses exchanged.

                Actually, going through the mails betwixt AZ and HI, if Bennett actually intended to bar Obama from the ballot, he’d simply have written,

                Dear Clever Democrat Functionary:

                I don’t care about your Hawaii laws. I’m taking Obama off the Arizona ballot unless you send me what I asked for post haste.

                Let it be on your head,

                But he didn’t, because this is all a joke.

                BTW, heh heh.


                Oh, and here’s another retrieval from the memory hole. Life is so funny sometimes, don’t you think?


                A Hint of New Life to a McCain Birth Issue

                By ADAM LIPTAK
                Published: July 11, 2008
                In the most detailed examination yet of Senator John McCain’s eligibility to be president, a law professor at the University of Arizona has concluded that neither Mr. McCain’s birth in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone nor the fact that his parents were American citizens is enough to satisfy the constitutional requirement that the president must be a “natural-born citizen.”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                I do remember and appreciated you sharing your preferred radioersonalities. Haven’t had a listen but on my list of things to do. However, it wouldn’t have been prudent for me to assume those guys are necessarily mainstream as I’ve never had a listen and I don’t know how “mainstream” you are (not a knock… I pride myself on being decidedly non-mainstream… Which probably makes me the MOST mainstream).

                It appears there is some potential for disconnect between the face of the party and the man-on-the-ground and how representative the former is of the latter. On the one hand, I’d rather not be characterized by anyone who gets paid to talk. On the other, those guys get paid to talk because plenty of folks are listening and nodding along.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                As I admitted, Kaz, I even listen to Savage occasionally. A little madness is good for the soul.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Here’s the thing…

                I don’t know anyone who listens to Limbaugh. Or Hannity. Or Beck. Or Savage. I had one friend recommend a book for book club by Levin, though he shared that he didn’t really care for his on-air personality. I listen to some of these folks fairly often, because I’m curious about what folks are saying, but have tended away from that because it always ends up leaving me in a foul mood.

                I also don’t know anyone who listens/watches Olberman or Schultz. A few friends watch Maher. Lots watch Stewart, but that is sort of a different animal.

                I’m sure I’m underestimating SOME of these numbers, as we don’t generally sit around and talk about our favorite radio personalities or media pundits.

                I do work with one woman who has a “Don’t Believe the Liberal Media” bumper sticker.

                I operate in a circle that I would say has above-average education compared to the rest of the country (almost all college degrees, many with advanced degrees), tends toward being liberal (though many might identify as liberal but then espouse other ideas), and is generally pretty knowledgeable politically, including folks who work in politics.

                Really, I don’t know many people who listen to talk radio in general. Or watch too much political television.

                Limbaugh averages 15 million listeners per week. Assuming that is distributed evenly across the week, that is 3 million/day. I don’t know what overlap there is between daily listeners, but let’s go out on a limb and say that half of the folks listen every day and the other half listen just one day a week, meaning he has a total of 9 million unique listeners. That is about 2.5% of the total population of the country. What percentage of that is adults, I’m too lazy to calculate. Of course, there are folks like myself who might tune in but have zero in agreement with the man.

                So, yes, Limbaugh dominates the charts. But his audience, even looked at favorably, is still a small, small minority. Most people are listening to Top 40 stations or their iPhone or Satellite radio or what have you. The fact that the top rated radio host can ONLY garner 15M total listeners a week is somewhat telling. Maybe we have been overstating the importance of talk radio. I dunno. Thinking about this in a new way.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Well, me listening to Michael Savage occasionally doesn’t make me Michael Savage. As for Rush limbaugh, there’s a reason he provides transcripts on his website of ever goddam thing he says. There are a lot of Limbaugh “experts” on the left who “heard” Limbaugh say blahblahblah.

                In this very thread, there’s a link to Limbaugh on some birther stuff. Mostly Limbaugh’s saying that the squirelliness in just releasing the damn documents is some kind of Rope-a-Dope.

                If one actually reads the link, mind you. And there’s the rub.

                BTW, do you find it as funny as I do that as late as July 2008, the NYT was still floating birtherism at McCain?


                When some guy on talk radio does it, it’s nutburger time and an indictment of everything rightish. When the NYT does it, it’s journalism.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                The questions about McCain’s status are, unlike those about Obama’s, factual. McCain’s status as “natural-born citizen” really is a tricky legal question. That is, reporting facts is journalism. Reporting lies as truth is not. And those hold regardless of whose ox is gored.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                Respectfully, I disagree. The argument about McCain’s natural born status relies on interpretation of statute, whereas natural born citizenship is a constitutional concept that Congress has no authority to alter, either to make it easier to obtain or harder. Ultimately, only the Supreme Court can functionally define what qualifies as natural born citizenship, and the set of cases that have been put forth by those arguing that Obama would qualify even if he was born in Kenya (most noticeably the Wong Kim Ark case) apply equally to McCain’s situation. The fact that his parents were U.S. subjects really is sufficient, according to most constitutional experts, and place of birth is not terribly relevant. (Although now I’m thinking of the King of the Hill episode where Hank Hill can’t get a “Texas Native” license plate because he was born in New York while his parents were on vacation!)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                The argument about McCain’s natural born status relies on interpretation of statute, whereas natural born citizenship is a constitutional concept that Congress has no authority to alter, either to make it easier to obtain or harder.

                From the Times article:

                In Rogers v. Bellei in 1971, the Supreme Court said Congress had broad authority to decide whether and when children born to American citizens abroad are citizens.

                So that point is arguable. My point, which is that an article that discuses this point, quotes several experts saying that McCain is a citizen regardless, and concludes that it’s a moot point because no court would want to touch it, doesn’t qualify as “birtherism”, is, I think, less so.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                A) Deciding who is a citizen is different than deciding who is a natural born citizen, as a constitutional matter. If Congress and Prez passed a statute under which Person X was defined as a non-citizen, while the Supreme Court ruled that Person X was a natural born citizen, the Supreme Court ruling would trump the statute. Rogers v. Bellei is really about Congress stripping someone of citizenship, about which the only question is under what conditions they can do so.

                B) Given that Barack Obama was indisputably born in the U.S., I agree that there is somewhat more of an argument to be made in McCain’s case. Not much more, I’ll argue, but indeed somewhat more.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                James, I think Mike’s point is that the partisan witch hunt re: McCain was a dispute about agreed upon facts, whereas the partisan witch hunt re: Obama revolves around disputing what should be an agreed upon fact. So, one is a legitimate (albeit academic) worry, the other is conspiracy theory.

                (No witches were harmed while making this comment. And hopefully, neither were Mike’s views.)Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                Hmm, that’s a good take. I certainly agree with it.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                The actual point is the NYT humping an anti-McCain nonstory as late as July 2008. As for the Obama Hawaii document, I believe they’re still playing games with it, that there’s still a document unreleased. Is that not so, that that document is what the AZ Sec of State is requesting?

                [Forgive me if I’m wrong about this.]

                The Right has concluded this is some Rope-a-Dope BS, Gov. Abercrombie having stated when he took office that he personally saw a document he actually could not have seen. [Which started the whole thing up again.] It’s also possible that there’s something on the doc that would be personally embarrassing to BHO, since it appears his mother and father were already split up at the time of his birth.

                There is no adult reason why the Hawaii government simply doesn’t give AZ and Bennett what they’re asking for. Instead we have this disingenuous game.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Tom, re-read Patrick’s post on “standing”. Clearly Arizona doesn’t have “standing” to request anything from Hawaii, the submerged ship of the same name in Pearl Harbor notwithstanding.

                Perkins Coie has collected over $5M in legal fees so far making sure that Obama (and Hawaii) never have to cough up the $10 bucks that getting a certified birth certificate would cost. This is brilliant theater if not brilliant money management. Good thing we got this guy in charge of our economy, otherwise I’d /really/ be worried!Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                Tom, I think this is where you can’t see the GOP forest for the GOP trees. You have just now pointed out that the NYT ran stories about McCain’s citizenship which proves they are in the tank for Obama, and that they ran so tires about Obama’s citizenship which somehow also shows they are in the tank for Obama.

                And despite the fact that the copes of the mysterious long form birth certificate have been released – repeatedly – by the State of Hawaii and the White House (a copy of which sits atop my post), and that affidavits have been signed by everyone in the chain of command in HI to that effect, you are suggesting that there is some kind of birth certificate conspiracy – while simultaneously complaining that the conspiracy theories are something the left makes up to make the right look bad.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                The actual point is the NYT humping an anti-McCain nonstory as late as July 2008.

                Not for those of us less interested in Team Red/Team Blue cheerleading.

                As for the Obama Hawaii document, I believe they’re still playing games with it, that there’s still a document unreleased. Is that not so, that that document is what the AZ Sec of State is requesting? [Forgive me if I’m wrong about this.]

                You’re forgiven.

                There is no adult reason why the Hawaii government simply doesn’t give AZ and Bennett what they’re asking for.
                AZ has neither a right to it nor a need to it. Refusing to play another person’s childish games is an adult reason.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                Clearly Arizona doesn’t have “standing” to request anything from Hawaii, the submerged ship of the same name in Pearl Harbor notwithstanding.

                Great line, Ward.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tod, is there an unreleased document or not?

                I don’t take this game seriously, and I think the GOP probably gets the worst of it with Bennett taking the bait [which Limbaugh, Beck, etc. were smart enough to refuse].

                And if there is any blowback on BHO instead, he deserves it, because he could get all his documents released [transcripts, etc.]. There is no adult reason why he didn’t make full disclosure years ago. As I said, the guess is there’s stuff embarrassing to him in there, but I certainly am not saying it’s anything more than minor embarrassment.

                Now he turns his stonewalling into a weapon against the Stupid Party. I admire the technique.

                So please, Tod, don’t rope me into this game just for calling it a game. I see through it, is all, and the situation had not been accurately told here.

                And yes, the NYT flogging that McCain nonstory in July 2008 was total BS. Some professor somewhere mouthing off is not “news” unless you make it news.

                I’m out for the night. My silence should not be interpreted as anything more than a preference for beer and rock’n’roll. Cheers.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Tod, this is also a great line:

                you are suggesting that there is some kind of birth certificate conspiracy – while simultaneously complaining that the conspiracy theories are something the left makes up to make the right look bad.

                {{{Birther A, Birther B. Birther A, Birther B.}}}Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                If Congress and Prez passed a statute under which Person X was defined as a non-citizen, while the Supreme Court ruled that Person X was a natural born citizen, the Supreme Court ruling would trump the statute.

                Yes, a Supreme Court ruling trumps any statute. And?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                There. Is. No. Un. Released. Document.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Yes, a Supreme Court ruling trumps any statute. And?

                And so Congress has no actual authority to make determinations about natural born citizenship. General citizenship, yes, but the issue for presidents is natural born citizenship. (Which, unfortunately, the Framers didn’t bother to define more clearly.)Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                natural born citizenship
                James, what about caesarian born citizenship? I mean what could be more unnatural about cutting open a woman and taking out the baby?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Believe it or not, Ward, a handful of our fellow citizens have asked that question seriously.

                And they’re eligible to vote.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                Much of the nonsense about an “unreleased document” relating to his birth certificate was the notion that he had not released a long form document. Folks seized on this, not realizing there is no such thing as a long form. Look at the Google Trends… That search term was non-existent until this manufactured nontroversy. McCain nor Romney never released their medium form document… Again, because no such document exists.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Kazzy, actually there is such a document if only we could trust an official Hawaiian government website. But I think the anti-anti-anti-anti-antibirthers have the edge on this one. Then again I may have lost count and/or didn’t bother to truth-table the logic. 🙂

                @James, indeed I googled my own phrase and got 5.8M hits! And I was just playing at being JB funny (impossible I know, but I try nevertheless).Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                Yes, that was sort of a depressing Google search, wasn’t it?

                Actually, that document you linked to does not mention any such thing as a “long form” birth certificate. Just Certificates of Live Birth, Certifications of Live Birth, and Certificates of Hawaiian Birth.

                I guess since I haven’t seen one of each for Obama, he is hiding something after all.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                There may exist forms Obama has not presented, the reasons of which are myriad and I’d bet all 100% on the up-and-up. Folks latched onto the notion of a long-form birth certificate as if it was the only legitimate form. As Hanley pointed out, no such form exists in HI. The cynic in me says this is precisely the reason why it was harped on… It was an impossible standard to meet.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Ward, wait, Obama now has to prove his lineage in Hawaii back to 1778? Cause that appears to be what the form you are linking to requires.

                (It means “Native Hawaiian” in the same sense that the tribes are “Native American” and not in the sense of proving that he was born in Hawaii. He has already provided the documentation required to prove that he was born in Hawaii.)Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kazzy, the letter from Hawaii’s Jill T. Nagamine doesn’t deny the existence of the document. Instead it maintains Arizona has no right to see any documents. Jerking each other around.

                I don’t give 2 shits about any of this, but the right story is not being told.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                the letter from Hawaii’s Jill T. Nagamine doesn’t deny the existence of the document.

                AZ is asking for a copy of the birth certificate, so of course HI isn’t denying that it exists.

                But the document AZ is asking for has already been made public…multiple times.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                kos had Obama’s birth certificate up. FOIA, anyone?Report

              • Avatar Sam says:

                “I demand evidence that this thing I don’t believe is true!” Tom

                “Okay, here is overwhelming evidence that the thing you’ve just said doesn’t exist does.” Everybody Else

                “I didn’t really want that evidence anyway, so the joke’s on you.” Tom

                What’s the point of participating in the conversation again?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Certum est, quia impossibile.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                En vino, veritas.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Who called this a conversation, Sam? I write something, you go busy bee on me and attempt to disprove it. [And fail.]

                What I’m saying is that Democrat Hawaii should give Republican Arizona whatever it is they’re asking for, and shut them up. Why they don’t is some stupid game. If I were Hawaii and an Obama supporter, this would already be over.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Like, whatever. I’m tired of this and don’t care in the first place.

                Hawaii governor claims record of Obama’s birth ‘exists in archives’ but can’t produce the vital document
                By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
                UPDATED: 10:32 EST, 20 January 2011


              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                The governor said something stupid, and instead of thinking, “Given the important issues governors have to pay attention to, how much are they really likely to know about what vital records are kept by the state health department,” people think, “Ah ha, that shows there really is some secret document that matters!”

                What document relevant to your birth besides the birth certificate does your birth state’s health department have? Find it and show it to us, then maybe I’ll believe there’s a real story here, and not just more Team Red/Team Blue nonsense.

                And don’t try to tell us you don’t really care, or that you don’t give two shits. You wouldn’t be pursuing this issue if you didn’t care. Perhaps you’re fooling yourself, but I’m quite sure you’re not fooling anyone else.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                I don’t know how to rectify your position that this is all theater with your need to give it this much time and attention, unless theater is your thing.Report

              • Avatar Sam says:


                We both know there was no failure. You said something didn’t exist. We showed you it did. You piled more sand on your head in response. If that’s the game, so be it. I’ll know next time not to play.

                As for giving Arizona what it wants, what more could the state possibly need than the documents it already has? Accusing Hawaii of being the state playing games is as ridiculous as anything else you’ve said here.

                Incidentally, when will you be demanding Mitt Romney’s birth certificate?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Hawaii will give as good as it gets. They’ve already given Sheriff Joe the stiff arm and good on them. I’m chuffed to see that jackass under federal investigation for his violation of people’s First Amendment rights. He’s toast and so are all his backers.

                Lenin once observed the capitalists would sell him the rope needed to hang them. Sheriff Joe has furnished enough rope to hang his fat ass a dozen times. Phoenix is getting sick of his swaggering. When he does get his comeuppance, and it’s only a matter of time, we may be sure Tom Van Dyke will be there like a figure in Van Der Weyden’s crucifixion triptych, knelt before Sheriff Joe, hung between earth and sky, with his beloved Radio Bloviators above, the dark angels in that picture.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Sorry, I’m trying to buy these stories because I don’t care about BHO’s birth docs, but you haven’t made the case atall. Hawaii hasn’t denied their existence and that’s the necessary proof for your stories.

                Tellya the truth, if I personally had evidence BHO was born in Kenya or whatever, I’d bury it because the country doesn’t need that disruption right now.

                And cut the “we” business, Sam, for your little faction. It’s creepy and unnecessary. We are all individuals here.Report

            • Avatar M.A. says:

              Limbaugh’s own words. It sounds a lot like Birther B rhetoric to me.Report

  7. Avatar Erik Kain says:

    Arizona politicians aren’t so much conservative as they are attention whores.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      There you have it, EDK.Report

      • Avatar Chad says:

        I’m sure this is hilarious for the people of Arizona who are represented by this guy. Just because he isn’t a national politician doesn’t mean he holds no power.Report

        • Avatar M.A. says:

          Records of the Arizona legislature show that bills related to this passed with majority GOP support through the Arizona House twice, Arizona Senate once – the first time it was denied a vote before the session was over – and it’s currently working its way through again after the AZ Governor’s veto last year.

          How many majority legislature votes before it counts as mainstream?Report

        • Avatar karl says:

          The Az Secretary of State doesn’t have much power — just some bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo abd election oversight. Uh oh.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            witht he minutemen in town… Uh oh.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            It’s not like he has an interest in seeing Romney win, and might be tempted to, say, prevent a recount.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley says:

              I’m all for a constitutional amendment that bars a state’s top election official from being involved, in any way, shape or form, with any political campaign other than his/her own.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Yeah, that’s the way it reads*.

      Am I evil for finding all of this so amusing?

      *Oregon pols, by contrast, are all Earnest in a way that makes me long for a little AZ or HI action every now and then.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      That is, they’re playing to an audience, expecting this stupidity will net then positive attention. What does that say about the average Arizona voter?Report

    • Avatar karl says:

      I find them to be by turns conservative, reactionary, radical, and attention whores.Report

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    What I love is that obviously partisan, “attention-whoring” tactics have been publicly bogged down in the ordinary bureaucratic red tape of state government. It’s karmic, I think.Report

  9. Avatar George Turner says:

    What makes this odd is that Obama was the first birther, claiming he was born in Kenya for 16 years. That makes him one of the fruitcakes who didn’t believe he was born in Hawaii.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      really? Any evidence to show that he claimed to be born in KenyaReport

      • Avatar A Teacher says:

        Understanding that I got it from Sean Hannity, there was something about his first memoirs or his first book or something having a biography citing that he was born in Kenya and that mistake was only fixed when he ran for president.

        More than likely, the bio was written by a low level publishing staffer who was cranking out webcontent about a new law professor with a book and didn’t fact check. So when he got “his dad was Kenyan” the writter put in “Born in Kenya”. The fact that Obama never “fixed” this biography is a bit off (if you ask me) but it gives the far right wackos ammo to say “he tried to profit by lying about his past because being born in Kenya and then going to Harvard Law makes you look awesome!”

        Here’s a link to a blog with the picture. Most of them go back to Breitbart and I’m not sure what the credibility for that is around here.

        I don’t doubt that the bio was printed as shown. I do doubt that it’s any more than a lazy writer doing a pisspoor job of fact checking the bio.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          There is an alternative theory being pushed by birther-types (that is to say: Conservatives).

          They argue that Obama found the alternative history useful… until, of course, he stopped finding it useful. Then he dumped it. Compare to claims of Native American ancestry among Irish people.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            They argue that Obama found the alternative history useful

            Surely you mean that his Marxist handlers found it useful. Barry Obimbo was too zonked on crack to think of that on his own.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Obama is like Bush, too kind a person deep down to truly appreciate how vicious his vice-president truly is… and how much he’ll be forced to do when his marionette strings are pulled.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Beneath that goofy,gaffe-prone exterior, he’s Gus Fring?

                Sorry, even Joe Arpaio would have trouble with that one.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Cheney was inept. He could never hide his true nature.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                If I was going to be an Evil Overlord, Joe Biden would be very much like my public face.

                I think Jaybird might be onto something, there.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Ooh, ooh, can we talk about Obama’s blue pill and red pill now? Everyone thinks it was a Matrix reference, but the insiders all know it was Viagra vs phenylephrine and the blue pill will make you feel MUCH better.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Cheney didn’t care about hiding his true nature. He was fine with people seeing him for who he was.Report

          • Avatar Chris says:

            Yeah, I saw this. It’s silly. Apparently his publicist in the early 90s said something about him being Kenyan. This is now evidence that he used to identify as being from Kenya.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I think it’s also the case that the publicist said it in the oughts.

              Not that it matters, of course.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              The bio on him was edited many times over the decade and a half that it stated that Obama was born in Kenya, and Obama never corrected the error (if it is in fact an error). Yet it was fixed two months after Obama decided to run for President.

              Either he spent that decade and a half lying about his origins, or he’s spent the years since then lying about his origins, or he had no idea where he was born until he sent a staffer to look into the matter.

              What’s most amazing is that Obama was obviously claiming he was born outside the US up until he ran for president, clear evidence has been produced backing that up, and the press won’t even report the story. In contrast, the press was perfectly willing to run with fake Bush documents allegedly from the 1960’s but written in Microsoft Word.Report

              • Avatar Sam says:

                What a convenient model you’ve created, wherein no matter what Obama does, he’s guilty of something that disqualifies him from being the president.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Or the mistake wasn’t worth correcting until it became important and/or some staffer brought it to his attention.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Or the mistake wasn’t worth correcting until it became important and/or some staffer brought it to his attention.

                Given the number of autobiographies Obama has so far written, does he strike you as the kind of guy who wouldn’t read the paragraphs that talk about him?

                Now, don’t get me wrong. I think that it was just marketing. Hey, that’s how the game is played. I mean, if you had to pick between two autobiographies that you weren’t going to read and one was about a guy born in Hawaii who had deep insights into race in America and the other was about a guy born in Kenya… which would you rather have visitors see the spine of?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Given the number of autobiographies Obama has so far written, does he strike you as the kind of guy who wouldn’t read the paragraphs that talk about him?

                Dunno. Also, Jonah Goldberg claims he has no control over the fact that his book covers keep saying he’s been nominated for a Pulitzer (nope, not even a Polk). Acquaintances who write for a living tell me the cover (pictures, blurbs, etc) belongs t0 the publisher, and unless you sell at the level of Stephen King, you have no say. There’s certainly an exception there for the president and probably US senators, but I’m guessing not for community organizers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Fair enough. I’m sure that coming to any given discrepancy like this one with the attitude of “well, who benefits?” is probably cynical to an inappropriate level.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                If it sells more books, everyone benefits.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                The story behind the article is actually out there.

                And no, it wasn’t there in 2003; the publisher, who was no longer Obama’s publisher, just kept a copy on file up until something like 2007, but it’s not the case that new biographical blurbs, or a continually used biography, had him down as born in Kenya.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Just an awful coincidence, then.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Yeah, and an uninteresting one, considering every other source, including contemperanous ones, said he was born in Hawaii.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                JB, you‘re starting to sound like a birther.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I appreciate JB providing honesty and clarity. He didn’t express agreement with the arguments, but he stated them accurately and fairly and good on him.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Maybe. But his conclusion is that Obama’s birthplace, even according to Obama, is … unknown.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I don’t think he was born in Kenya. I think he was born in Hawaii. (I never doubted it in the first place, actually. On top of that, if I had, the newspaper announcement to that effect would have been good enough for me.)

                I do, however, think that he may have used the misunderstanding in the same way that some people claim Native American heritage. There’s folks out there that give credibility to something as silly as “where a guy was born” and a guy who has insights about race who was born in Hawaii may not be taken as seriously as the same guy if you think he was actually born in Kenya.

                Hey, it was the early 90’s. We thought it scandalous that Vanilla Ice grew up in the ‘burbs. (“I told the world I was stabbed in the butt. But it was a toilet paper cut!”)

                I don’t think he was born anywhere but Hawaii. I do, however, think it more than possible that he was willing to use this misunderstanding as an opportunity to gain credibility (even if the very concept was silly at the time and triply so in hindsight) when it came to selling some of his books.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                I think I found the story out there.

                Regents of the Univ of Calif v Bakke

                There’s the nexus — In 1978, Obama, who already then was willing to lie to achieve his goals, created a false identity to deal with the changes the Bakke decision wrought on college admissions.

                It makes as much sense as anything.Report

              • Avatar Sam says:

                “It makes as much sense as anything.”

                No it doesn’t. It makes sense if you’ve got a desperate need for the current president to be disqualified from the position I suppose, for there to be some disqualifying characteristic that proves, once and for all, that your own aversion to the man is based on something substantive and genuine and not merely your own opposition to a president who’s just so, yknow, different. But it doesn’t make any genuine sense, nor does anything that anybody says that looks at the plain evidence you’ve got in front of your face and concludes that they all must be lies.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Well, having lived in Hawaii for much of my adult life after not living in Hawaii before that, and not living there anymore, to most casual observers, ‘Hawaii’ and ‘Kenya’ are equally foreign and exotic.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Cokie Roberts, for instance, who objected to Obama’s vacationing in Hawaii instead of someplace more typically American. Like New Orleans.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                One of my favorite comments on this blog ever.

                Seriously, he’s been claiming that he was born in Hawaii since before that blurb in 1991, but nevermind that. Political theater is more important.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

            “There is an alternative theory being pushed by birther-types (that is to say: Conservatives). They argue that Obama found the alternative history useful… ”

            So as opposed to a Obama=Manchurian Candidate meme, it’s more of a Obama=Don Draper meme?Report

  10. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I know- he was born in the US but they think he wasn’t. Okay. It’s pretty silly.

    But, could someone explain what is the air-borne biological component of Americanism that gets transmitted during the birthing process and justifies all of this nonsense in the first place?Report

    • Avatar A Teacher says:

      If you go back to 16th, 17th and 18th centuries there were a lot of cases of nationals of one nation being crowned sovereigns of other nations. For scholars of the era it was a concern that the head of state should be a member, truly, of that state.

      A bigger fear was that a foreign national would arrive in the colonies, spread some money around, get elected president and then sell the entire Union out to his home nation. Given how small (in terms of troops and treasure) that the US was at it’s birth compared to the nation-states of Europe this really wasn’t an unreasonable fear.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      It’s the property of exceptionalism, which is introduced to American infants at the instant of their birth in the form of Star Spangled sprinkles.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        With emphasis on “American” infants. If the infant’s parents aren’t citizens, the infant isn’t American, and the sprinkles are not dispensed by the hand of the Almighty (regardless of any godless communistic interpretations of the 14th Amendment that might suggest otherwise).Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      America is special.

      It’s like how the air of Great Britain was too pure for slaves and therefore one breath of it made you free.Report

  11. Avatar A Teacher says:

    I’m reminded of watching my 4 year old argue about how many bites of food he needs to have before desert.

    I realize that AZ is just being jerks about this and wanting to get attention. But there are two people fighting as well. HI ~could~ just run an official copy of the danged thing, and put it out UPS and then be done. I don’t think AZ is the only place to find attention-horses.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Hawaii has responded to these requests repeatedly–there’s been no letup in the last 4 years. I think they’re getting damned sick and tired of it. And then there’s the full faith and credit clause, which says states have to treat the public records of other states as dispositive, and since the public record has already been made public and vouched for by Hawai’i officials, Arizona really has no business asking for their own copy, except in cases where their law requires that the public record actually does have to be officially recorded in Arizona. Even the general principle of comity between the states demands that the AZ officials take the HI officials’ words at face value in a case like this. AZ’s being an ass and HI’s refusing to play along; good on them.Report

  12. Avatar Burt Likko says:
    It adds no value
    to the body politic.
    It’s birtherism.


  13. Avatar wardsmith says:

    This makes no sense to me. If I was the governor of Hawaii, I’d work with the legislature to modify this and allow all and sundry to purchase (for say, $100) Obama’s birth certificate. Easy money. All this business of “standing” to look at the birth certificate should go away and they should turn this into the profitable enterprise it deserves to be (and help out Hawaii’s finances in the bargain). The money making opportunity will diminish if O is not re-elected so they should just get on the stick.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      They can’t just make Obama’s available, though. They’d have to make everyone’s available to anyone willing to pay the fee. Given the fraudulent uses to which birth certificates can be put, I’m not sure that’s a wise move.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        Oh, they could just carve out an exception for American Presidents born in Hawaii. Should be fun to see who would try and use the cert to try and get Barack Hussein Obama credit cards. 🙂Report

        • Avatar RTod says:

          -White House, how may I help you?

          -Yes, this is Citibank calling. We’re hoping to verify recent charges on some adult web sites for a Mister… Bare-ache… ahbomeay? Is he available to come to the phone?

          -Hold please, I’ll see if he’s in.Report

  14. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Kiddies, as much fun as this bickering back and forth about banalities is (to some) there is a fundamental overlook that those with partisan blinders cannot get past. I want everyone still reading with comprehension beyond say, 3rd grade to CAREFULLY read the following quote from my previously linked source above:

    The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands accepts both Certificates of Live Birth (original birth certificate) and Certifications of Live Birth because they are official government records documenting an individual’s birth. The Certificate of Live Birth generally has more information which is useful for genealogical purposes as compared to the Certification of Live Birth which is a computer-generated printout that provides specific details of a person’s birth. Although original birth certificates (Certificates of Live Birth) are preferred for their greater detail, the State Department of Health (DOH) no longer issues Certificates of Live Birth. When a request is made for a copy of a birth certificate, the DOH issues a Certification of Live Birth.

    This entire kerfluffle, which has gone on for 4+ yrs is because while Hawaii is fully CAPABLE of delivering Obama’s “Certificate of Live Birth”, they have been unwilling to do so. Instead they are hiding behind bureaucratic double-speak and “insufficient standing” arguments. This has led many to say, and I quote here, “WTF”? I mean how difficult is it to get the file out of the computer database (or worst case, filing cabinet), given that so many want to see the “long form” Certificate of Live Birth? Apparently, it is beyond the capacity of the entire bureaucracy of Hawaii to fulfill this task. This would be an embarrassment of the highest magnitude for a competent bureaucracy like say, Singapore’s. But I’m beginning to suspect they don’t even know what Akamai means any more in Hawaii.Report