Posts Tagged ‘politics’

The Mother of the Birthers: Did Hillary Really Create the Birther Movement?

September 16, 2016 Leave a comment

Donald Trump made news this morning for stating plainly that he believed Barack Obama was born in the USA. He didn’t stop at that. If the New York Times‘ command of facts is correct, he has also started a new and false theory: Hillary Clinton started the original birther controversy in 2008.

The Times quotes Mr. Trump as saying “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy, I finished it.”

Let’s look at news stories of the 2008 campaign.

The Los Angeles Times on August 13, 2008 ran a story headlined “Top aide urged Clinton to paint Obama as foreign” in which it quoted Clinton strategist Mark Penn suggesting that Clinton call out candidate Obama for his “lack of American roots”. Notably, he urged “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and his values.” The Clinton campaign chose not to employ that strategy, not in its entirety anyway, but rather to “explicitly own ‘American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values”. That’s right, she chose to identify herself as the American in the Democratic primary season of 2008.



In a pre-emptive defense of Michelle Obama against the attacks of the Hillary 2008 campaign, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd feared that the “lack of American roots” argument would be used to portray the Obama’s as being less American than Hillary in their values. That was in June 11, 2008–well before Donald Trump ostensibly fathered the so-called birther movement.

It turns out that the Los Angeles Times writers do not read their own newspaper. Despite critiquing substantial portions of the Penn memo of 2008, today’s story on the LA Times website attempts to exonerate both Clinton and her 2008 campaign team. “No evidence exists that Clinton or her 2008 campaign team, when she ran against Obama in a prolonged fight for the Democratic nomination, did so.”

Don’t expect the Clinton camp to man up any time soon for ever wanting to denounce Barack Obama as a person “who is not at his center fundamentally American.”

It’s a strategy that did not pay off for Clinton’s 2008 campaign, but there is evidence that she continues to employ Saul Alinsky’s rulebook. In this case it was Rule #3, which says:
“Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.

Clinton or her campaign did not explicitly say that Obama was born outside of the USA, but they did suggest that she was the American in the race. Bad enough, we say.

The real father of the birther movement, Birther #0, if you like, was Barack Obama himself. The notion of him having being born in Kenya was promoted by his literary agency Acton & Dystel in 1991. In a promotional booklet they described a young Barack Obama as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” That, the source of birther theories, also passes the Snopes test.


Trump Drops False ‘Birther’ Theory, but Floats a New One: Clinton Started It

Top aide urged Clinton to paint Obama as foreign

Donald Trump finally concedes that President Obama was born in the U.S. after years of promoting conspiracy theory

Mincing Up Michelle

Penn Strategy Memo 03-19-07

Best of Beck – Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

The Vetting – Exclusive – Obama’s Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: ‘Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii’

Book Mark