Political Insanity and Journalistic Hypocrisy
This is how Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson begins his column about the so-called "birthers" -- the nut-jobs who think Barack Obama was not born in the United States and therefore is not legitimately our president:
"If there's been a more clinically insane political phenomenon in my lifetime than the 'birthers,' I've missed it."
This raises a question: Really?
Perhaps Mr. Robinson has "Newsheimer's" and has already forgotten about that other clinically insane political phenomenon, the one about how President Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks on America.
A few years ago, when insanity was in the air, I spoke to one lunatic face to face - a medical doctor no less - who not only believed that the federal government under President Bush put explosives in the World Trade Center Towers to blow them up, but was also convinced - ready for this? -- that no plane ever hit the Pentagon. It was all made up, he told me.
"Let me guess," I said to this moron, "Bush was behind it all."
"Oh, no," he said, "Bush was only the puppet."
"Acting at whose behest," I continued, hoping the doctor's head would explode before he could provide more proof that he was an idiot. "The people who wanted to get us into war for oil and money," he sputtered. Never mind that there were a lot easier ways to get us into war than to blow up two towering buildings and part of the Pentagon. But of course, to understand this, one would have to have a functioning mind, which as you can see, the doctor did not have.
This was Bush Derangement Syndrome in full bloom. The doctor hated W with an unhealthy passion. And that hatred made him truly believe - with every fiber in his body and every cell in what passed for his brain - that the neo-cons killed their own countrymen just so they could take us to war in order to fatten their bank accounts.
I bring this up not to encourage a contest over which of these two crazy ideas is crazier, the Obama thing or the Bush thing. I bring it up because there currently is an effort afoot by the Left to conflate nut-jobs on the fringe right with regular conservatives and regular Republicans. The longer the silly controversy stays alive, the better the chance, they figure, that moderates and independents will start to think that any politician with an "R" after his name is a maniac.
Here's how Eugene Robinson stokes that fire: "There are probably people out there who think the world is flat, and they're not worth writing about," he says. "The 'birthers' wouldn't be either unless you believe a poll released last week by Research 2000 revealing that an astounding 28% of Republicans actually think that Obama was not born in the United States and an additional 30% are 'not sure.' GOP officials need to order more tinfoil."
Oh yeah, the poll was commissioned by that model of trustworthiness, The Daily Kos, which makes everything in it suspect. But even if the real number is half what is reported, it is indeed troubling.
But when left-wing professors at major American Universities banded together to proclaim that 9/11 was "an inside job" did liberals like Eugene Robinson portray these paranoids as representative of the Democratic Party? No!
And make no mistake, it wasn't just a few nutty professors who believed W was behind the 9/11 terrorism. Robinson is making a point when he tells us that 28 percent of Republicans actually think Obama was born outside the U.S. -- a point that it's not only the fringe that's crazy. Okay. Then what should we make of this statistic: Back during the "W was behind 9/11" days, a poll by Scripps Howard/Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspected that federal officials helped in the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- or took no action to stop them ... so President Bush could take the country to war.
Wow! "More than a third" is more than "28 percent," right? Who does Eugene Robinson think these conspiratorial nuts are? Conservative Republicans?
No, Mr. Robinson, they're mostly (if not entirely) Bush-hating, left-wing Democrats like that crazy doctor I had the unfortunate experience of talking to. Gee, I don't remember Robinson - or any other liberal media bigwig -- ever writing that the Democratic Party "needs to order more tinfoil."
I hope this nutty "birther" movement burns itself out on its own stupidity --and the sooner the better. The longer it's out there the worse it is for ordinary Republicans who will be tarred with the nut-job brush. Be assured that elements of the mainstream media will see to that.