Monday, February 4, 2013

Week of 02/04/2013

Is The Loony Fringe Helping Obama?
– by David Matthews 2

Once upon a time, there were two political advisors; one on his way to retirement, and one just starting.  The elder advisor decided to take the younger one under his wing and show him the ropes on how to manipulate and mold a politician’s career.

So one night after a glass or two of scotch, the old advisor challenged his protégé to ask him any question about any campaign he worked for that he couldn’t figure out himself.  The younger advisor scratched his head and said that he could figure out pretty much every tactic that his mentor employed, but that there was one “controversy” that always perplexed him.

It involved a governor that the elder advisor worked for as his “press secretary”, and a scandal involving a “secret parakeet”.  The elder advisor beamed as he recounted the tale.

Not long before the governor took office, rumors were abound of a parakeet that the governor would talk to and supposedly get feedback from.  Everyone in the incoming administration would immediately dismiss the rumors, of course, but they continued to persist.  Pretty soon members of the media would ask about the parakeet and if it was advising the newly-elected governor.  When the governor denied there ever was a parakeet, the press would then ask when the parakeet died and if it was replaced with another bird.  Newspaper editorials would talk about “Bird-Gate” and cartoonists would draw the governor with a little bird on his shoulder, supposedly whispering things into his ear.

And rather than to die out over time, the rumors of this “secret parakeet” would continue to get even louder.  Former staff members would talk about smelling bird droppings near the governor and brushing off bird feathers from his shoulder.  A member of the cleaning staff would claim that there was a room that was “off limits” to them that had weird bird-like noises coming from the other side.  Eventually the governor invited the local media into that room to show there were no birds there.  But the rumors persisted, and the governor eventually left office as “Governor Bird-Man”.

The younger advisor asked if any of it was true, and the older advisor laughed.

“Of course it wasn’t,” he proclaimed.  “Who do you think told them about the parakeet in the first place?”

The younger advisor was perplexed about that and asked what possessed his mentor to come up with such a lunatic rumor.  The elder advisor explained that he knew that the media and his political adversaries would quickly zoom in on the governor’s close ties to lobbyists and to certain questionable businesses if they didn’t have something else to worry about.  So he whispered in the right ears about the governor having a fictional bird “advising” him on certain activities, and every so often he would renew such rumors with even more accounts of the fictional bird.

“You didn’t hear anyone ask about those no-bid contracts he awarded, did you?  Not a single challenge on any of his nepotistic appointments.  Not one word about the pilfered pension funds, or the sweetheart deals in lieu of criminal charges for his top contributors.  He was even able to have sex in that very room with his long-time mistress without anyone batting an eyelash because they were so focused on a bird that did not exist!”

Now the story I just provided you was, of course, fictional.  But it makes one wonder if something similar is going on involving President Barack Obama.

Ever since Obama took office, an extremist faction publicly known as the “Birthers” have been making continual claims about Obama not being a native-born American as required under the U.S. Constitution.  This rumor actually started during the 2008 Democratic Primary campaigns, supposedly from the campaign team of then-Senator Hillary Clinton, but was quickly latched on by conservative extremists after Obama was sworn in as President.  The “Birthers” would then barrage the media with claims that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii, that there was no birth certificate to prove his required native-born citizenship, that an elaborate charade of fabricated newspaper articles and “Short Form” documents were created to deceive the public into thinking that Obama was born in Hawaii when he supposedly was born in Kenya, or the Philippines, or the Lost Moon of Poosh, or anyplace other than the United States.

And they don’t stop, do they?  Show the supposed “long form” and make it available and the “Birther” crowd not only claims that it’s not real, but they then claim that “nobody’s ever touched it”.  Yes, Hawaiian officials, judges, and governors, they’re calling you all liars; but that’s just par for the course.  And when media interest wanes, they find something else to focus on, don’t they?  School transcripts, scholarship applications, enrollment forms, anything that had a name that could be linked to Obama.

Yet for all of the hair-brained schemes that make asses out of people like Donald Trump, one has to wonder what else has been going on during that time.  What questions are not being asked while the focus is on an issue that was already resolved over and over again?

How about the folly of turning to so-called “economic advisors” that have made their money exporting jobs instead of goods?  How about the sweetheart deals brokered with the financial institutions, where they pay a pittance of a fine instead of going to prison?  How about the promises that were outright broken?  How about the screwjobs that continue to be played out on the American people, despite assurances to the contrary?

All of that takes a backseat to the “Birther” noise.  The controversy that supposedly “cannot die” because too many people behind the noise are making money and getting attention over it.  And as long as the “Birther” people are busy making noise, the media is not focusing on the real things that are going on under Obama’s watch.

Of course it’s not just the “Birthers” involved with the insanity.  You also have the people that believe that Obama is a “secret Muslim” and a “Manchurian Candidate”-style sleeper agent from the Soviet Union programmed to overthrow America by… sustaining pretty much every Bush-era policy and program.  Revolution by status quo?  Genius!  Who would have thought of that?

No, it’s not supposed to make sense.  It’s just supposed to hit upon the fears and prejudices of a small but very vocal portion of the populace.  People that aren’t afraid to spread this insanity through email postings and forum messages and phone calls to talk radio stations and billboards that then get the attention of the media.

And how about the elections?  That’s probably the most ingenious part of it all.

The lunatic fringe have pretty much taken root inside the GOP.  No big surprise, really, when you realize that many of them consider themselves to be conservatives or so-called “Tea Party” people anyway.  Bear in mind that not all of these conservatives or neo-conservatives or even so-called “Tea Party” people are members of the lunatic fringe.  But there are just enough to taint the whole group, especially when the rest of the faction stay silent.

And clearly the GOP has been stymied by their “friends” in both the 2008 and 2012 Elections.  Between John McCain being told in an open microphone by an elderly woman that Obama was “an Arab” and Mitt Romney being (finally) called out on his claim that Obama engaged in a non-existent “apology tour”, the GOP has given Obama the edge by comparison.

It is one thing to fabricate an issue when none exists, but even when there are legitimate issues that the GOP could have used to sink Obama’s 2012 campaign, they stick with the lunacy. In fact the “Birther” issue has seemingly taken a life all its own.  When facts are presented to debunk their fiction, they just amp up the fiction, and then claim that there’s some other document, some other form that would supposedly validate their claims.  They just have to force the White House to “release” it.

So that makes me wonder… and this one will probably blow your mind…

What if - and this is pure speculation here - what if the whole “Birther” issue was fabricated by Obama’s campaign people in the first place just to make the GOP look bad?

It certainly would explain how the issue just would not die, even when the myth is busted.  It would explain why the subject keeps coming back up like a bad TV commercial and take time and energy away from the legitimate issues.  It would explain how attention-mongers like Donald Trump could put on the antics like he did on the “Birther” issue without consequences.  Why be punished if it’s all just part of a show?

Let’s get brutally honest here… whether they know it or not, the lunatic fringe have been working for the benefit of President Obama.  They have made his positions appear to be that much more legitimate, and they have denigrated the credibility of Obama’s biggest critics simply by mere association.

The backlash to this has already begun.  Members of the GOP are already started to figure out that they cannot expect to win on a national level if they’re seen as the big party with all the crazies in it.  Governor Bobby Jindal says that the GOP has to stop being “the party of the stupid people”.  Fox News executives decided that this means getting rid of Sarah Palin.

Both are good starts.  But for every Congressman Todd Akin being bounced for his exposed lunacy, there are still others like Paul Braun or Michelle Bachman still waiting in the Congressional wings for the next verbal bomb that will reinforce the idea that the GOP is the “Nutcase Crazy Party”.  And in the process they make Obama look that much saner in comparison.

It is said that those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.  Maybe this is what finally does in a dominant political party like the GOP.  Maybe they just spin off into utter insanity to where the masses just say “no more”.  As a libertarian, I would certainly welcome the demise of either of the two dominant parties.  I just would be bothered by the idea it would have to be done at the expense of the United States itself.

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