Hillary, Donald, and the Birthers’ Demise - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Hillary, Donald, and the Birthers’ Demise


Did you see the interview over the weekend of a listless and apparently exhausted Hillary Clinton? Supposedly she has recovered from last week’s bout with pneumonia, but you could have fooled me. Call me a hypochondriac, but in my opinion her recovery is not going very well.

From what looked like the back of an airplane Hillary droned on about what she called “the bombings in New Jersey and New York,” and then launched robotically into yet another attack on Donald Trump. This time his transgression, according to Hillary, was to mention prematurely the bombing, though it was she who had already introduced the subject of the New Jersey and New York “bombings.” If she were aware of her faux pas — or was it more serious, say a blackout? — she gave no sign of it.

It was eerily suggestive of her kerfuffle over the birther controversy a day or two earlier. That involved more players. In fact, it involved the entire mainstream media as they demonstrated once again the Taranto Principle. According to this unfailing insight, the mainstream media only encourages a left-wing politician’s worst impulses by their dispassionate approval of his lunkheaded behavior. Think of Michal Dukakis’s campaign appearance in a tank with an ill-fitting helmet on his diminutive head, or of Jean-François Kerry campaigning on his wind-surfing board or a half-dozen other he-man contraptions.

Well before her ill-planned interview in the back of her airplane, she and the media fell for Donald’s baiting of them on the birther nonsense. He announced he would have a statement on the birther matter on Friday at Washington’s opening of the Trump International Hotel. At the hotel he kept the media waiting for 45 minutes while a string of decorated warriors mounted the stage to announce their endorsements of Donald to the whirring cameras. Finally, he came on and stated tersely and slyly that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.” But he also said that “Hillary and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it.”

The media had been had but then Hillary was had too. She appeared before a black audience to announce that, “For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president,” and she went on, “His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie. There is no erasing it in history.” Unfortunately for Hillary that is true. There is no erasing it in history. Shortly thereafter her surrogates were on the campaign trail claiming Donald was a liar and Hillary’s 2008 campaign was innocent.

At this point let me explain why earlier in the column I called the birther controversy “nonsense.” Back in 2008 or perhaps 2007 I put a reporter onto the question of where Obama was born. A high-ranking Democrat — yes I said Democrat — had informed me that there was truth to this birther question. It took my reporter about 48 hours to discover that there was not much to the legend. He checked the birth notices in Barack’s hometown newspaper, and sure enough little Barack was born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961. But my reporter came up with an explanation for the ensuing confusion. Obama’s literary agent was claiming in the 1990s that he was born in Kenya. The agent later explained it as a clerical error, but with Obama and those hoping to make a buck on him one never knows about the nature of the Kenyan story. That was the beginning of the birther legend, and of course it spread.

As for 2008 Hillary, her fingerprints are all over the corpus delicti. She did not keep a private server in those days, but evidence that her campaign was active in promoting the birther legend exists even without emails. A campaign advisor working for her campaign in Iowa was fired when he was exposed for spreading the rumor, and there was word that Hillary’s confidant, Sidney Blumenthal, was also engaged in spreading the birther rumor. Last week a former editor at McClatchy newspapers’ Washington bureau came forward to say that Blumenthal had “told me in person” of Obama’s origins in Kenya. They met in his office in 2008, and “During that meeting,” the editor said Blumenthal “… strongly urged me to investigate the exact place of President Obama’s birth, which he suggested was in Kenya.” A reporter was dispatched to Kenya and came back convinced that the story was bogus.

In response to this story Blumenthal has emailed the Boston Globe, “This is false. Period.” Obviously the story is true. Blumenthal’s mendacity is as widely known as Hillary’s.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
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R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: The Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn’t Work: Social Democracy’s Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery. He makes frequent appearances on national television and is a nationally syndicated columnist, whose articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, National Review, Harper’s, Commentary, The (London) Spectator, Le Figaro (Paris), and elsewhere. He is also a contributing editor to the New York Sun.
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