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Post Partisan
Posted at 03:22 PM ET, 05/22/2012

PostScript: New birther conspiracies born from an editorial

In an editorial today, The Post excoriated Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R) for pandering to the lunatic fringe of his party by keeping the absurd “birther” conspiracy alive. Bennett is threatening to strike the president’s name from the state ballot this fall unless Hawaii coughs up the president’s birth certificate. (Again.) The Post called this “ballot buffoonery.”

Good news: Judging from the thousands of robust comments to this editorial, the birther movement is dead as a doornail. Few readers of any political stripe seem to give it any credence at all anymore.

Bad news: Judging from the thousands of robust comments to this editorial, new conspiracy theories now abound. (Call them spinoffs, like second-tier sitcoms.) People are seeing ulterior motives everywhere. Readers believe the media are ignoring something deeper happening here, something that powerful people don’t want you to guess. What, they wonder, is this editorial covering up — just whose bidding does it serve? What’s really going on?

Ombudsman1 doesn’t buy that Arizona’s secretary of state even needs or wants information about Obama’s birth. What the Post isn’t saying, the reader continues, is that Bennett is justifiably outraged, and is needling the administration in retaliation, for taking Arizona to court over stop-and-frisk immigration policies:

Might I suggest that Arizona is taking a shot at the President who refuses to accept Arizona state laws that he simply doesn’t like? He could have sat down with Jan Brewer and pledged to figure out ways to work with Arizona to enforce immigration law. But that would be compromise in an area . . . that Obama sees a political advantage [in] not enforcing the law. And that is the real buffoonery at work in this whole mess. This is simply a continuation of a war with Arizona that has been going on for 3 years.

AnnaLee1 thinks that, even if the facts militate against the birtherism argument, people feel it’s symbolically true — that there’s something fundamental untoward about the president:

Obama is dirty and the majority of the people in the US know it. It is just that some choose to deny what is plain as the nose on your face.

Widebody1 sort of agrees, but from the other political side. The Big Secret here is concealing something very ugly, but not about Obama. It’s about his critics: Birtherism is giving people a chance to say, in code, something that believe but dare not say outright:

It’s not politically correct to say that you’re anti-Obama because he’s black. However there’s no problem saying that you’re against him because he’s “Muslim” or he’s a “foreigner.” Aren’t these just other ways of saying he’s black?

GaryEMasters thinks the Post is protesting just a bit too much. He wonders about the snide tone of the editorial, and he seems to wonder whether it means The Post knows more about some Obama skeleton than it is letting on:

I do believe that President Obama was born in the USA. Still, I consider this rhetoric from the Post to be a disgrace. How about taking the high road? It really makes me think they have something to hide.

But what??

sanfran6003 has put all the pieces together:

This Arizona official is crazy like a fox. He has won a slot on Donald Trump’s celebrity apprentice next season unless the Donald finds the issue too uncomfortable.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  03:22 PM ET, 05/22/2012

 
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