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What changed? First, the president was much more on the defensive politically in April 2011 than he had been two years earlier—for many reasons, ranging from $5-a-gallon gasoline to Obamacare to an unpopular military intervention in Libya. (Finishing off Osama bin Laden gave the president a boost, but Osama’s death certificate was released a few days after Obama’s birth certificate.) The more dissatisfied voters are with Obama, the more receptive they are to questions about his legitimacy, even silly and baseless ones.
Second, the president’s claim about the media, while overwrought, was not entirely false. Even before Trump latched on to it, birtherism got entirely too much attention from journalists. The attention it got was hostile—commentators portraying birthers as nuts, and reporters demanding that Republican politicians alienate the nuts by renouncing birtherism—but the effect was to keep the question alive.
THE ORIGINAL birth certificate was Obama’s trump card, to be played when this dynamic ceased working to his advantage. Sure enough, polls showed that the percentage of Americans, including Republicans, who disbelieved or doubted the president was born in the U.S. declined dramatically. Yet as I predicted, the hard-core birthers, including Corsi and his publisher, WND Books, stuck to their guns and refused to accept that the certificate was genuine.
Hence that May 18 promotional e-mail. The twist is that it came not from WND but from the Obama campaign, which decided to use Where’s the Birth Certificate? as part of a fund-raising scheme. Donate $15 or more to the 2012 campaign, and you’ll get a “Made in the USA” coffee mug with an image of the long-form birth certificate. In keeping with campaign finance laws, purchasers of the mug are required to affirm that they are American citizens.
Also on May 18, Esquire magazine reports: “In a stunning development…World Net Daily Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah has announced plans to recall and pulp the entire 200,000 first printing run of the book.”
Make that “‘reported.’” Less than two hours after writer Mark Warren posted the story on the Esquire website, he added a disclaimer:
For those who didn’t figure it out yet, and the many on Twitter for whom it took a while: We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that has had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication. Are its author and publisher chastened? Well, no. They double down, and accuse the President of the United States of perpetrating a fraud on the world by having released a forged birth certificate. Not because this claim is in any way based on reality, but to hold their terribly gullible audience captive to their lies, and to sell books. This is despicable, and deserves only ridicule. That’s why we committed satire in the matter of the Corsi book. Hell, even the president has a sense of humor about it all.
As you can tell from this shrill disclaimer, Warren does not have a sense of humor about it, which is why in attempting a satire, he ended up perpetrating a hoax. This columnist was among those who were taken in by it. After reading Warren’s piece, I immediately went to Amazon and ordered a copy of Where’s the Birth Certificate?, figuring it would now be a collector’s item.
Fortunately, I read the disclaimer in time to cancel my order. That was a close one.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?