Local lawyer Phil Berg is convinced the president is an illegal alien.
Fortunately, Berg has a whole new bunch of friends in the talk radio/Internet echo chamber of the far-right, which, again not surprisingly, applauds the courage it takes for a lifelong Dem to file eligibility lawsuits against a sitting Democratic president, and takes great pleasure in parading Berg around like some special prize in a partisan hostage swap.
“I think that by pushing on, terrible things are going to happen,” Savage warns gravely. “We are dealing with the most dangerous people on earth. Wait until the Smear Machine fires up after we get off the air. Look out, because the loony left is coming after you.”
Berg shrugs off the warning. “People ask me if I fear for my safety, but if anything happened to me it would be front page news,” he responds. “I believe we can get him to resign by the end of the year, even if the legal process takes longer.”
Although all three of Berg’s cases have been thrown out of court, and the Birther controversy has been dismissed as a groundless partisan witchhunt by every major media outlet and debunked by every credible non-partisan truth squad—Factcheck.org, Politifact, Snopes and McClatchy News have all looked into the Birther controversy and determined it to be nothing more than a far-right fantasia—don’t expect Berg or the Birther movement to go away any time soon. Not even if Obama were to release his complete birth records, as the Birthers and, as of late, even some on the left, including The Atlantic ’s Andrew Sullivan, have demanded.
“Paranoia is the most political of mental illnesses in that it requires enemies,” says Dr. Jerrold Post, Director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University and the author of 11 books, including Political Paranoia: The Psychopolitics of Hatred .
“The paranoid’s position is that it is better to be the center of a plot against you than to be totally ignored and insignificant. A sense of powerlessness leads to compensatory delusions of grandiosity which sends people into a blind pursuit of confirming data. It is very hard to get people out of paranoid belief system because it is very comforting to them,” says Post.
In other words, the long national nightmare that keeps Birthers up at night—Googling furiously through the shadow of a doubt, fingers crossed, literally hoping against hope—has only just begun. And the rest of us should probably get some sleep. ■
Jonathan Valania is the editor-in-chief of phawker.com.
In today’s Washington Examiner, David Freddoso responds to outrage against the birthers by noting that Democrats have their own conspiracy wackos: But before liberals begin to smirk, here’s a poll from 2007, in which 35 percent of Democrats said that President Bush knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks, and 26 percent were not sure. [...]
But not everybody thinks so. Why is that? That’s the question Ben and I take on in this week’s Scripps Howard column. My take: First, some praise for mainstream Republicans: They’ve been as vigorous as anybody in smacking down the false rumors about Barack Obama’s origins. National Review, the conservative bible, emphatically denounced the “birther” allegations [...]
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Dinner with Luke Palladino