Friday, April 22, 2011

Narrative Games

The Trump mystery continues. Here's MSNBC parroting an AP story that suggests the Donald has forced all the presumptive GOP candidates to 'take a stand' on Obama's fuzzy narrative:
In recent days several prominent Republicans have distanced themselves, with varying degrees of emphasis, from the false claim that Obama was born in a foreign country. But with a new poll showing that two-thirds of adult Republicans either embrace the claim or are open to it, nearly all these GOP leaders are not calling for a broader effort to stamp out the allegations.
And right on cue, here's the NY Times corralling a bunch of experts to dissect just how bat crazy those 45 percent are who can't take a faith-based approach to the president:
What drives this kind of false political belief and why is it so hard to dispel?
What drives them? Perhaps it's called a media that didn't do their jobs in vetting this man, and still won't. To illustrate this point, Joy Behar had Trump's trophy wife on and actually said the following about 'vetting' presidents:
"I don't know what skeletons he's got in his closet, but everyone gets vetted when they're going to be president--you know what that means 'vetted'? They've going to look into everything...
Everything, except just about everything for the first black president. We probably know more about Trump than we do about Obama. Which brings us to a clarification--the birther thing isn't really limited to the birth, it's really about the entire narrative. Let anyone question it and.. watch out. For instance, yours truly believes O was born in Honolulu but there might be some interesting factoids on the vital record regards his step-father Soetoro, which might be interesting reading. That along with his masterpiece of fiction likely co-written by a terrorist. But it's all the same to the smear merchants.

Our crafty president is not affected and continues using the issue, one that he created, to gain politically no matter how much it might divide America. It was only a matter of time before the mainstreamers realized they could jump onboard and help the cause, and they are doing so. If they know what Trump is really up to they aren't saying, but it doesn't matter now.

Lots of good speculation out there. A good point was also made on the O'Reilly show tonight regarding star power. Obama is a celebrity. He won by being a celebrity who bashed Bush, in league with the best Saturday Night Live or Comedy Central characters, hip and cool. That may be the model for 21st century America. On a side note, actually running a country is a bit harder, less sexy, boring, and perplexing, but one can always farm out sticky problems to beer summits or blue ribbon task forces (whose laborious ground rules practically guarantee the issue will be forgotten in a 24/7 news cycle). Or just blame the previous guy.

Trump is also a celebrity, so far insulating him from being called a racist for questioning the nativity narrative, but the rest of the field doesn't have that luxury and must answer correctly or be relegated to the dustbin of candidates and a SNL cartoon figure. Obviously this leaves them weak and trembly and defensive. Palin is an outlier--she's clearly also a celebrity (which is why the left pulled a collective groin muscle swarming on her with long knives right off the bat--they saw her persona potential) but she'll easily be called a racist dingbat for not answering correctly. She's less scared, but just as naked to the barbs. So as the AP indicates, Trump is having a negative affect.

That leaves a scenario where if nothing changes America may actually witness an incumbent winning a second term with stagnant employment above 9 percent, high gas prices, 3 wars, and a trail of broken promises only because people are made to believe his opponents are racists. Somebody may yet pop out of the woodwork, or Trump's investigators may actually have something interesting (that's not Jerome Corsi's book), but it better happen soon. Of course, we can't forget Dick Cheney--his book is still in the wings and may have a few surprises. He knows a lot.

MORE 4/23/11

Here's CNN with a "birther" story. It's a factual story about states wanting to pass eligibility bills, but in an overarching sense it's just another "these people are nuts--how dare they demand to know any more information than what we've told them about the leader of the free world" screeds.

Chances are they've published more stories about the crazy birthers than about Obama's past in general. Trump is helping that cause big-time, and the longer he delays entrance or revealing his 'interesting' information, the more damage they can do. Meanwhile none of them will ask biographer Christopher Andersen about why he claimed Ayers co-wrote Dreams or grill the administration on why they lied in the campaign about the relationship in general. But when you're as far in the tank for someone as they are, it must be hard to see the sunlight.

RACIST! 4/23/11

Take a look at the comment section of any story on the birth cert and you'll quickly notice that a preponderance of the attack replies call anyone who questions the birth narrative a racist. A frequent refrain is "if he was white and named John Smith, nobody would be asking these questions".

There might be some truth to that thinking. But it's not a perfect analogy.

Obama has a Muslim-African name. The better analogy would be this-- what if a white GOP candidate, whose father was from Germany, had the first name "Adolph"? Or the last name of "Himmler" or "Goering"? Somehow I think the same people calling the birthers a bunch of racists would be demanding long forms, investigations, etc. etc.


These two stories epitomize the narrative issue to me. First, Fareed Zakaria:
Then there is the ‘birther’ issue. I regard this as coded racism, frankly. I don’t think there’s any other word for it.

For goodness' sake, George Stephanopoulos displayed Obama's Certificate of Live Birth on network TV and this rumor still doesn't die. Put it this way: If the President was a white man named John Smith with the other background issues being the same - foreign student father, mother in Hawaii, etc. - would there be any of these dark insinuations? Trump should be ashamed of himself. But then, I suppose, he wouldn't be Donald Trump.
BTW, not sure about you but I know I've been waiting impatiently for him to finally weigh in! Finally! Next, not an awesome CNN analyst, lowly blogger Tom Maguire:
Yet back in the day, the Times did not assemble a panel to question the sanity of the 9/11 Truthers. Instead, we were given a wry, tongue partly in cheek appraisal of their "work".

I can only imagine your surprise.

ERRATA: Here we have Howard Dean pandering to the truthers on NPR, and John Edwards doing the same at a town hall.
Go to the site for his links, including polls that were almost the same as the birther polls in reverse. Yes, although it seems hardly possible the mainstream media is even more in the tank for this president than they were when they helped him get elected by not completely vetting him (in part due to a fear they would be called racists by the likes of Zakaria).


Debbie said...

I don't know if Obama was born in Hawaii or not, but why spend millions to keep the original birth certificate hidden if everything is kosher?

Right Truth

LASunsett said...

I agree with Debbie. It's odd that he hasn't put this to rest once and for all, so he could make fools of everyone who have managed to press the issue.

But more than anything, there are a million and one other things we should be talking about. I think Obama wants us talking about this birther thing so he can avoid having to answer for his enormous failures as a leader.

And btw, thanks for the plug.

A.C. McCloud said...

The money doesn't make sense. And if it's being spent to withhold it fact he was born in Honolulu for politics sake (and to play a race card) then that's the ultimate slap in the face to both Americans and the constitution.

Agree with LA that we've got a myriad of issues to slam him on, but the GOP field hasn't shown any potential to do it. They are afraid, and the press knows it. Trump is not, but we all believe he can be so bold because he's not running. It's sad.

But what if Corsi or Trump's people actually find something devastating that would disqualify him from office? Do we really want the civil unrest? Because it would most definitely occur.

LASunsett said...

//Do we really want the civil unrest? //

I think it will come even if he loses the election, straight up. The white man will be at fault no matter how it happens.