Loren at Brakryphal reminds us that this week marks the two year anniversary of the beginning of the birther conspiracy theory.
It started on June 9th, 2008 when Jim Gerghaty of National Review wrote this:
Having done some Obama-rumor debunking that got praise from Daily Kos (a sign of the apocalypse, no doubt), perhaps the Obama campaign could return the favor and help debunk a bunch of others with a simple step: Could they release a copy of his birth certificate?
Three days later, the Obama Campaign made available to the public the Certification of Live Birth, which is the only birth record that the State of Hawaii releases or accepts for official record purposes.
Of course, the release of that document was only the beginning of the story. Prior to the 2008 election, Philip Berg, a Democrat and self-described Hillary Clinton supporter, filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania attempting to have Obama removed from the ballot for failure to prove his eligibility. That lawsuit was dismissed about a week before the election. Then, a mere two weeks after the 2008 election, Alan Keyes and a number of other parties filed suit in California attempting to bloc the certification of that state’s election results on the same grounds. This would mark the first entry onto the field of the woman who has become the birther Queen Bee, Orly Taitz.
December, meanwhile, would be market by a number of appeals to the Supreme Court appealing cases that had been filed before the election. Without fail, the proponents of these appeals — Berg, Taitz, and another attorney named Leo Donofrio — would represent to their followers that they were only days away from getting the Supreme Court to “hear” their case when, in fact, the opposite was true.
After Obama took office in 2009, Orly Taitz took center stage in the birther circus and she started out with the seemingly dangerous practice of recruiting military officers to essentially defy their employment orders.
By July, she had found one of those officers, a reserve Major named Stefan Cook, and had filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Georgia seeking to nullify Cook’s orders to deploy overseas until Obama’s eligibility was proven. Since Cook had volunteered for deployment, the Army informed him that his services would not be needed and the case basically became moot.
In September, Taitz filed an identical lawsuit on behalf of another Plaintiff, Connie Rhodes, that was also dismissed and which resulted in a sanction of $ 20,000 being imposed against Taitz for filing a frivolous lawsuit.
Beyond Taitz’s idiotic lawsuits, though, the fact remains that the Birther myth seems to have become firmly established in the minds of a certain segment of the public. According to one recent poll, for example, 14% of all Americans, and as many as one-third of Republicans, don’t believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, and along with the “secret Muslim” myth, it seems unlikely to go away.