Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Birthinators

In the wake of Jon Stewart's admonishment of the media concerning whether it's time to let the Obama-birth-certificate matter drop (his point being, they pick what the news is, so why not just stop talking about it instead of talking about whether to stop talking about it), I labored for a while on whether to go ahead with a rant of my own.

My determination: I'll make one comment on the matter, and then that is it.

In the wake of Obama releasing his long-form, and the birthers immediately asking next for his school records, a lot of the media has been talking about whether the whole matter isn't just a bunch of closet racism. After all, no white candidate has had to jump through so many hoops to prove themselves to people as eligible. One could probably expect the birthers to complain about having the race card played against them, if some haven't made such a complaint already. They would surely say, if a suspected foreign-born candidate came out of their party, or was white, they'd be just as hard on them.

If you hear this point put forward, I'd like you to respond that the opposite has already happened.

We only have to travel back to 2004- the most recent pre-2008 election. Ultimately, of course, the Republicans kept George W. Bush. However, in the early stages of the primary season, Arnold Schwarzenegger's name was placed into consideration for 2008. Schwarzenegger is widely known to have been born in Austria, a place equally as widely known for not being the United States.

Schwarzenegger was not merely suspected of being a foreign-born candidate. He was known to be foreign-born; the pride of Graz, Austria until the day he didn't pardon Tookie Williams. (But that's another story.)

Were there to be intellectual consistency on the part of those who would ultimately become birthers (we can reasonably assume that many if not most of them are currently over the age of 7 and thus were around for that campaign; in fact, many if not most of the same people from 2004 are still in the political arena today), you would think that Schwarzenegger's campaign would... really, it wouldn't have even become a topic of discussion at all, come to think of it.

This was the opposite of what happened. In fact, there were calls from some Republicans, including Orrin Hatch, to amend the Constitution to allow foreign-born candidates, so that Schwarzenegger might be able to run.

Contrast to now, in the wake of that 2008 election. About 30% of people on either side of the aisle supported a so-called 'Schwarzenegger amendment'. While Hatch, for once, admitted as early as 2009 that Obama was natural-born, there is no foreign-born amendment on tap, being discussed, being supported, or in anyone's fever dreams. Nobody is going 'well, if he is foreign-born, why don't we make an amendment to make it okay?' Nobody has polled it lately, but if 30% of Republicans currently support a Schwarzenegger amendment, I will eat my house.

So what changed between then and now? Given that the first debate centered around Schwarzenegger, one would have to think that what changed was the candidate involved, and little else. And there are two (2) blindingly obvious and mutually-inclusive differences between Schwarzenegger and Obama:

1. Schwarzenegger is a Republican, and Obama is a Democrat.
2. Schwarzenegger is white, and Obama is black.

There are, of course, substantial differences in policy, but those always have a measure of doubt and cloudiness from the general population. There is also the fact that Obama was actually born American, while Schwarzenegger was born Austrian, but unfortunately, some people are going to be unsure of that until the day they die. We've already covered that phenomenon here a year ago. Those two factors shown are the only differences that are indisputable to even the most delusional.

After this sentence, I for one stop giving them the time of day.

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