Cockamamie Conspiracies and Crazy Crackpots
One hundred years from now there will still be people who think the moon landing was faked, Elvis is still alive, and that Barrack Obama is not an American citizen. Conspiracy theorists are naturally drawn to the political sphere mostly because the things that go on in politics, and our government, tend to play out like the worst B movie you could ever dig up from the 1950’s. But that doesn’t mean stupid people should be allowed to have their views validated by other stupid people, all the while leaving us rational folk locked in the asylum.
Obama birthers are a curious lot. Thanks to the paranoid myth that President Obama is not an American citizen, perpetuated by the likes of Fox news and bloggers such as Joseph Farah, millions of sheeple around the country actually think that a non-citizen could ever reach the highest office in the land without some serious behind the scenes scrutiny done before hand to ensure that could never happen.
Did anyone demand a copy of John McCain’s birth certificate when his own citizenship was in question during the election? What about Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee? Of course not, because all of them are white. Heck, Hillary is a woman and she didn’t even get as many conspiracy theories thrown at her during her campaign as did Barrack Obama.
He’s not a citizen. He’s a Muslim. He’s a Manchurian candidate. He’s the Easter Bunny. He drinks the blood of white babies.
The irrational fear that Obama is not an American citizen is nothing but a proud expressions of veiled racism, ethnocentrism, and outright stupidity disguised as legitimate inquiry. And what makes it so bad is that these fools touting this nonsense—almost exclusively good wholesome conservative folk like U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook—are the same people who would swear that the recent revelations of illegality perpetrated by the Bush administration are conspiracy theories, warn that the government is trying to destroy Christianity, and would agree with any of the million other nonsensical claims made by bigoted, racist, conservatives that are designed to make it look like they are the victim while they lampoon and attack others for their non-conformity. If you need an example of the conspiracy pot calling the kettle black, just check out Walker Texas Ranger.
If the conservatives have one thing going for them it’s that they’ve mastered the art of making everyone else seem like lunatics while they manage to disguise their hate-fueled insanity beneath a veneer of benevolent justice. They’ve mastered the ability—usually through the staunch, stubborn ignorance of their constituents—to convince legions of people to believe utter nonsense in the name of Democracy. It never ceases to amaze me the depths conservatives—and by that term I mean the people most likely to be afraid of a gay couple living a thousand miles away they’ve never met—are willing to go in order to justify their ignorance. The birth certificate argument is as idiotic as the socialist argument. Funny how no conservative ever pointed out that Sarah Palin was the governor of a socialist state.
Posted by Michael Falino at July 22, 2009 8:12 PM
Since inevitable that the birthers will come out and deny the released birth certificate, here’s a FAQ on the birth certificate that was released.
The birth certificate we’ve been shown is the real thing. The document is what Hawaii provides when a birth certificate is requested, it is legally valid and has been stamped and validated by the state, and it is is prima facie evidence in court for birth and citizenship. Also, it is corroborated by birth announcements in newspapers at the time.
Birthers claim that if Obama would just provide the birth certificate that they would accept it. Well, he did that and they keep complaining. Now, they insist that he needs to provide a document which isn’t available to anyone, for anyone. He met their standards, so they moved the goalposts to the impossible.
There’s nothing to this supposed conspiracy.
I’m with you on the conspiracy nuts. They get more coverage that they ought because they are entertaining. The fact that the coverage has been of poor jounalist integrity by the conservative media is to their detriment. Keep it up and they will be the equivilant of the tabloids at the check-out.
But as a conservative, I do take some umbrage to the following statement: “It never ceases to amaze me the depths conservatives—and by that term I mean the people most likely to be afraid of a gay couple living a thousand miles away they’ve never met.” While it may apply to some/ many “conservative” people in this country, it does not apply to all of us by any stretch of the imagination. Just as the Republican’s turned “liberal” into a dirty word in the last couple of decades, there seems to be real intent to do the same with the word “conservative.” This villifying of swaths of people may make good political sense; however, it doesn’t do anything to heal the deep divides in this country. I would challenge you to pick up the message of the Democratic Party’s leader and look for ways to make your points with words that don’t also seek to further our great political divide.
Rob, I can’t quantify every statement. You know if my broader statements encompass you, and if you don’t, they probably do! The fact of the matter is that the widely accepted public face of either political party tends toward the extreme. Marginal members, and more soft-line partisans tend to be grouped in with the hard-liners mostly because the average person has no use for specifics.
Rob: I see your point that the word ‘conservative’ is being used by some of us Dems and liberals as a pejorative. I agree that it’s not appropriate. We have been upset to find that the word ‘liberal’ which originally simply meant ‘socially accepting’ has been turned into an insult by certain right-wingers, and we should avoid making the mistakes that we accuse others of. I will be careful in my posts to try and avoid using the word conservative in the way that you describe. You don’t mind if I use ‘batshit loony’ to describe Sean Hannity though, do you? ;)
To be blunt, I don’t think you need to really get too angry in order to denounce this paranoid trend in Right Wing Politics. If you state it plainly enough, the nuttiness of it fills the room with the fresh honey-roasted aroma of WTF.
But here’s the thing, I think: these myths aren’t meant for the mainstream. They’re desperate measures to insulate the far right from any admission of the party’s fall from grace. To wit, they sort of follow a few thematic patterns:
1) Somebody cheated! ACORN and the Birthers fall in this category. The essential narrative is that Obama didn’t really win, or wasn’t qualified for the office in the first place.
2) The Dropped Coffee Cup. All of a sudden, a candidate who seemed middle of the road turns into a Marxist-Leninist Tyrant, who nationalizes everything and turns the country communist. Again with the help of ACORN. It’s the essential narrative of the bad guy being the guy you least suspect.
3) Yes We Can is Thank You Satan Backwards. You thought backmasking was as dead as Paul McCartney, but if you play Obama’s victory speech backwards and garble it up with a lot of audio filters, you can turn the whole thing into a black mass. Yes, it’s that damn silly.
But it amounts to one thing: there are people who think that they are not only entitled to win, but that they can’t lose unless unfairly sabotaged.
It illustrates the degree to which many on the right consider the outcome of last November unacceptable. The Republicans have become their own Superfans. Defeat is unthinkable, even if it happens repeatedly.
The culture is souring on itself, crippling its own ability to relate to everybody else. Party identification is down for the Republicans in nearly every category but old folks, so that’s not a Democrat’s gloat.
If the Republicans want to get out of this trap, they’ve got to realize, in the way that any healthy sports fan does, that the team doesn’t always win or deserve to win, and that simply catering to a few cult personalities doesn’t guarantee success. The Republicans need to broaden their base, not concentrate it and purify as they’ve been doing. They think the cure for their ills is to purge the party of contaminants. Unfortunately, you can’t be both pure of outside influence and good at it at the same time.
The problem is that all this rhetoric is aimed at the people. The politicians either obviously don’t buy it, or are as dumb as a vast majority of the people. There are people at my job who are nice, upstanding citizens and decent people who swear up and down that Obama is a Muslim and not an American citizen. That’s the danger. Enraging the masses and giving legitimacy to fringe groups who do buy into conspiracy theories and could very well act on them.
Did I miss something in the news? “You thought backmasking was as dead as Paul McCartney”
It’s a pop culture joke, relating to backmasking (which to be clear is the alleged hiding of messages in recordings by laying them down backwards).
The urban legend is that Paul McCartney died a long time ago, and was replaced by a body double. Somebody supposedly revealed this shocking secret by a a backwards “Paul is Dead” message laid down in one of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’s tracks. (That’s also supposedly the real meaning of the famous Beatles lyric “Come together, right now, over me.”
Sorry if I was a bit obscure. Maybe I should have put in a link to elaborate, for those curious about things.
You said, “The fact of the matter is that the widely accepted public face of either political party tends toward the extreme.” So it gave you no problems at all when the right used the excesses of animal rights activists, environmental activitists, and Michael Moore to smear the word liberal over the past decade because you knew they didn’t mean you right?
Jon, you can do whatever you like with Hannity, I have no real use for the man or his ilk. The talk show hosts have distorted political dialog and weakened the integrity of the Republican Party. I agree with those posting in the blue column heare on that completely.
Stephen, I was surprised to hear the phrase “echo chamber” come up in reference to a Democratic group: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19846.html. Looks like the Democrats are willing to glom on to some Republican ideas. Do you think this will help the Party?
My suggestion is that we reasonably demonstrate the wrongness of it, and get conservative figures put on the spot when they flirt with this BS.
I think openness is good, but the trouble is, the Republicans aren’t fielding new ideas. They’re relying on pretty much their pre-2006/2008 playbook. I think it would be easier for the party if they were to relax the blockade, but unfortunately, for some that would be the real loss, rather than the two elections they lost the majority with.
We already have Obama on record as admitting that he was born on the planet Krypton. The Republicans would have more gravitas with that evidence than the other stupid noise.
Rob, I take no personal offense because I do not consider myself left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, or Republican. I am someone who has unique views and will never abide by labels. I get annoyed when specific positions I agree with are misrepresented, but I in no way take attacks or generalizations personally. I simply point out falsehoods, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy. Groups do exist, and many people choose to align themselves in accordance with stereotypes whether they recognize so or not.
Somebody cheated! ACORN and the Birthers fall in this category. The essential narrative is that Obama didn’t really win, or wasn’t qualified for the office in the first place.
Because we know that no one in the Democratic Party would EVER attempt that narrative, right Stephen?
All of a sudden, a candidate who seemed middle of the road turns into a Marxist-Leninist Tyrant, who nationalizes everything and turns the country communist.
Again, running as a middle of the road conservative suddently becoming a fascist, destroying all government, etc. Nothing a good Democrat would ever do.
Horrible article, of course. I’not not even a Republican and I shudder at the inclusion of Republicans in a group like that. Do you want us to label the truthers as the mainstream of the Democratic party? Because I think we can accomplish that just as easily as putting the birthing as the mainstream of the Republican party.
But that’s not the real point of it, is it?
But I will point to the real issue, who’s job is it to ensure that the candidate passes the requirements? As I pointed out before, no one apparently. The US citizenry is not even allowed to question it.
No doubt, the ‘birther’ conspiracy brings out the nuttiest in whackjobbery the country has to offer- and boy, do we have a lot to offer.
Recently I was having a beer with a group from work, and much to my amazement, two people started talking about the totalitarian government, and how teabaggers would soon be rioting. The thing is, I would never have pegged those two for over-the-rainbow right wingers.
What bothers me isn’t so much that there are nutjobs and conspiracy theorists. Sometimes conspiracy theories can be pretty entertaining. But is there a point where the right wing whackjobbery results in something awful? How long will the most gullible and easily led take before incitements set up a powerful, destructive storm of stupid?
rhinehold, I believe I mentioned conservatives, not organized politicians who refer to themselves as Republicans specifically. I was pointing out that the only people who buy into this drivel are conservatives; not all, but it seems exclusive. Voters, as well as politicians have been known to self identify as “conservatives”. And you’re little quip about not being able to even question his citizenship is moot, because it’s a ludicrous point. There’s more validity in questioning his religion—something that, technically, can never be “proven”—than in questioning his birth, which has been debunked ad nauseum.
I agree that it is odd that there’s not a formal process to ensure validity. In theory, I wouldn’t be opposed to the bill that some in the GOP have proposed to create such a process.
The problem in this case, though, is that Obama has provided the very document that would be required for such a process, and there’s a loud group who are saying that it’s invalid.
I’m not sure that there’s much to be done about it (baseless conspiracies never really die), but it’s mightily annoying.
And you’re little quip about not being able to even question his citizenship is moot, because it’s a ludicrous point.
Ludicrous? How do you figure, are our elected officials (if they are Obama) above questioning about the facts?
As I pointed out in my article that you didn’t take the time to read, there was a candidate on several state’s ballots who is a self-admitted foreign born person who cannot be president. Yet he was on the ballot and when we ask the question, no one is able to say that there is a process, anywhere, to actually make that determination. The federal government says its up to the states, the states say the federal government. And when a US citizen sued to have the determination made, they were told by our Supreme Court that they ‘had no standing’.
Ludicrous? I don’t think that word means what you think it means…
I was pointing out that the only people who buy into this drivel are conservatives
And I pointed out that it wasn’t just conservatives, how many people STILL say that Bush wasn’t elected?
BTW, Michael, if you don’t want to be identified as a Democrat, you might want to think about writing for the independant/third party column… You’re sending mixed messages.
First, Obama’s election was nowhere near close. He won by seven points, and lapped his opponent on the electoral votes. Bush, by contrast, won by a single state state each time, the first one by just a few hundred votes.
Though I do not believe personally that Bush lost 2000, I think its fairly easy, with the Brooks Brothers Riot, the obviously biased Secretary of State, who was later rewarded with public office, The 5-4 ideological split of the Supreme Court that cut the recount short, an so on and so forth, for people to feel that a resolution had been forced in Bush’s favor, despite lingering questions.
Once upon a time, people cared about the appearance of impropriety, the solidity of one’s legitimacy. The contempt shown for concerns about the nature of that outcome in Florida is a large part of what motivates people to think the election was stolen.
Contrast that with the hub-bub about Obama. What’s the motivating factor there? Was it a close contest? No. In fact he beat McCain by several points, a number of states, and lapped him on the electoral college. Could ACORN actually have achieved the kind of fraud the right alleges? No. It would have been a massive undertaking, and it would have been extraordinarily unlikely for that to be pulled off without somebody blowing the whistle from the inside.
You ought to quit with the tu quoque arguments while you’re ahead. Obama is not Bush. He did not win a contested election, with a few hundred votes differences, and millions of votes involved in the count.
And, so far, Obama has not politicized the Justice Department to encourage it to make politically damaging prosecutions, or dredge up more voter fraud cases where the prosecutors found few to bring to trial. He didn’t have government employees colluding with partisan operatives despite the fact that such cooperation was explicitly illegal.
Or to sum it up: The Bush Administration gave people good reason to worry about his legitimacy and his willingness to use the government to skew the election directly. Obama, on the other hand, won handily, and is only challenged on partisan grounds that are easily proven without merit.
Republicans in Washington simply say things just for the convenience of argument, perhaps not realizing the problem they will have in people taking what they say seriously.
Unfortunately, critical thinking about what one says is seen as weak, too politically correct. It’s not a bad thing to be concerned about what impression you give people.
Stephen, so much to say here…
The contempt shown for concerns about the nature of that outcome in Florida is a large part of what motivates people to think the election was stolen.
Are you admitting it was on both sides? That’s the real thing here, Stephen, it wasn’t just the Republicans trying to steal that election. In fact, the Republicans couldn’t steal something they always had, Bush was never behind on those recounts. It was the Democrats trying to steal that one in clear violation of the 14th amendment…
Contrast that with the hub-bub about Obama. What’s the motivating factor there?
I don’t know personally. I suspect it is a different story for many, not something as easily identifiable as you or Mike want to suggest ‘those crazy conservatives’. Some may be upset about the hypocrisy that the left are displaying, some are worried about the loss of freedoms (their own hypocrisies in this case usually), the advance of socialism (ie, owning businesses, are you going to suggest we aren’t owning more business now than we did before January?), fear of race (which is an irrational hatred of one’s self, but that’s another story), loss of power or perhaps a gut feeling that something isn’t right. Or something else I haven’t identified.
But you’re suggestion that these motiviations are wholly conservative or characteristically not liberal is laughable.
You ought to quit with the tu quoque arguments while you’re ahead.
As long as people keep making the assertions, I’ll counter them.
Obama is not Bush
Nope, but in some ways he is worse so far. Not only is Obama continuing some seriously questionable programs that Bush starte, even Bush didn’t try to assert some of the powergrabs concerning wiretapping that Obama’s administration has made. And now we find that while the numbers of troops is supposed to be going down (is it? I will have to go look that up…) the number of mercenaries (Blackwater!) is increasing by 30%! Weren’t you guys the ones screaming about using mercs?
Or to sum it up
It was right for liberals to treat Bush badly because he was evil, conservatives shouldn’t be questioning Obama because he’s righteous?
I know, I paraphrased, but that’s what your argument really sums up to… Had the liberals been a LITTLE more accepting of the 2000 election and tried to work with Bush in those first several months, perhaps you might have a leg to stand on in trying to shout down and point out every perceived slight since January? The democrats were not as out of power as the Republicans are now and the screams from the left were deafening…
And it really didn’t take long for that to change, at one time Bush’s numbers were higher than Obama’s are now. It might be a wise idea to drop the haughtiness and lecturing tone that I hear and see on CSpan…
I didn’t see the Democrats trying to interrupt the recount on a near constant basis, nor did I see them succeed.
Even if we’re supposing some kind of convenient equality for your sake here, such tactics alienate people. Can you not concede that? And the Bush folks revelled in them. It became a sport practically to do something to outrage the Democrats.
I warned you about tu quoque arguments. Trouble with these critters, besides being a fallacy, is that when you employ them, you’re conceding that you’re doing it, too, and two wrongs don’t make a right.
All you’re basically arguing is moral paralysis. How lovely. We’re just going to keep on doing things the wrong way, because we’re all doing things the wrong way.
It’s a rhetorical construct, used with the hope that nobody realizes that you’re giving up on defending yourself, and are instead implicating others around you to make them look like hypocrites. Even if you’re right, it’s bad logic.
I don’t support the use of Mercenaries as a main protection force in a war zone, but in case you haven’t realized, these sort of operations don’t exactly stop on a dime, and the logistic hand played out long ago. Given that we’re beginning the withdrawal, the question is whether we suddenly yank these people now, or move them out later is largely a moot one. But I seriously doubt Obama will give the company he’s working with (not Blackwater or Xe as it’s now called, for the most part) the kind of long leash that Bush gave his mercenaries.
It was right for liberals to treat Bush badly because he was evil, conservatives shouldn’t be questioning Obama because he’s righteous?
Your “paraphrasing” fails to capture the distinction I made between allegations made with evidence and factual reports, and those made simply for the sake of rhetorical convenience.
Democrats have worked with Republicans plenty. who do you think has the problem with cooperation, the folks that are going out of their way to negotiate, or the folks going out of their way to be a roadblock to legislation? I know your fallback position is that Democrats are as bad as the Republicans, but would you mind picking an argument which actually supports that assertion with some evidence?
rhinehold, first off, I did not have much of a say where I was placed on this blog. It was suggested that I write for the Democrat/Left column. As for Bush’s possible non-election, there was ample evidence of tampering and peculiar coincidence. And besides, we’re talking about the birther issue, please try not to support your posibition on one issue by citing another non-relevant issue. “liberals” had a problem with Bush’s presidency as “Conservatives” have with Obama’s.
The fact of the matter is this, and I’m a self proclaimed Republican and have been for quite a few years. Obama’s birth certificate, or birth record, or whatever the State of Hawaii deems to call it denotes Obama’s place of birth as Hawaii. There is no evidence/paperwork/official corroboration which states his birth as elsewhere. The paperwork, which is all that matters as hard evidence says he is American. All other “evidence” of his foreign birth thus far has been heresay, and circumstantial. Burden of Proof is upon prosecution, not defense.
“And you’re little quip about not being able to even question his citizenship is moot, because it’s a ludicrous point.”
really, being able to verify someones elegibility to be president, is ludicrous? how so? BTW i’m not a “birther” as you put it, but i do believe the people of this country have a right to proof that the person that is elected is legally eligible to hold that office. hardly a minor technicality IMO.
I never said it couldn’t be questioned. But the point is that there is no legitimate gripe in this case. Why has this issues never been brought up before with any other president? You can’t say it’s because no record of his birth exists, because it does. This is a witch hunt, nothing more. I’m not sure what these birthers are looking for because all the proof you could ever have is right there for them to see, and still they refuse to accept it. You’re argument that we should be allowed to question our president’s birth is moot because this has never been an issue. It is only an issues because people who don’t like Obama for whatever reason have found something to “legitimize” their hatred of the man. You’re trying to play the devil’s advocateb by defending a position that has no merrit.
McCain had his questioned to because he was born in a Military Hospital outside the U.S. You talk about witch hunt, you sure your not from the red column?
The conspiracy theory is not that nutty to us who believe in strict reading of the constitution. We need to be sure he wasn’t born in britain and is not loyal to the king.
McCain was born at Coco Solo Naval Air station in Panama. This is noted on his birth record. Barack Obama was born in the Kapi’olani Medical center on Honolulu Hawaii. This is likewise noted on his birth record. There is no piece of evidence, no birth record, no medical bills, nothing of the sort to lead anyone to think that he was born elsewhere. Noone has dug up any paperwork saying he was born in any nation other than America. Why has he, all of a sudden become the one President who has been questioned unceasingly about his heritage. “Mr. Obama were you actually born in Hawaii?” Why yes, yes I was. “Are you sure?” Oh no you’re right, no I absolutely wasn’t, how could I have forgotten…
A modicum of proof is required to continue questioning isn’t it? At what point does the questioning become so repeated that without the introduction of new evidence, or in this case, any evidence; at what point does this become unquestionably unethical?
I just pointed out that McCain’s birth was questioned to because he was born outside the U.S. So both candidates were questioned. It becomes questionally unethical when both sides act like 2 yr olds fighting over a toy.
what more proof is needed to prove he was born in the u.s.? once again an honest person can not get thru to the republicans. you won’t hear or see the truth. was hawaii a state in 1960? yes. if the question is was he born in the u.s. - then we know the answer - yes. state issued legal proof is submitted, and can be viewed and reviewed as many times as you want. i think it is racial. rightwingers are saying look at him he’s not one of us. when proof is shown - it is fake.
and the truth is…al gore won the popular vote. that is not conspiracy that is fact. and we would have been better off as a country had it went the other way - the way MORE americans wanted. sorry, took the bait.
look bottom line is this is another repub distraction. instead of looking into who is taking americans to the bank (rx companies, insurance companies) you want birth records looked up. how conveinent obama is put in a position that he shows his record of birth, and it is a fake. crazy.
it truly is so offensive to some “americans” to help or assist other americans that they are willing to call our president by any other name but american. you have heard the names, and you know the names.
and the truth is…al gore won the popular vote
And in the US that wins you a piece of bubble gum, if you are willing to pay 5 cents.
Other than that your statement is useless. You want it both ways but can’t have it so, without making yourself look like the hypocrite you are.
hypocite? don’t think so. just like you are not a republican. yeah right. at least you understand that americans wanted al gore.
useless? maybe to you, but it sure makes me feel better putting it out there.
i don’t want it both ways. he has a birth certificate authentic and he’s american. case closed.
First, I never said that he didn’t meet the qualifications of the president. If you could look up where I suggested that, I would appreciate it.
Second, Bush won the electoral college, cased closed. Did *YOU* give him that same ‘case closed’ fair shake you are demanding now?
Hypcrite? I think so. Unless you never once suggested that Bush wasn’t our duly elected president in both 2000 and 2004… And given your suggestions so far in these comments I would doubt that.
1) The argument that McCain was not qualified died a quick death, and few bought into it anyways.
2) Having died, it remains dead.
3) The Birther argument, despite the provision of good evidence to the contrary, continues to be pushed, the debunked myth repeated, almost as if in defiance to the mainstream media and government establishment that backs the other sides claims.
4) Even if there was substance to the equation of one side’s argument with the other, your argument is a fallacy of logic. Hypocrisy does not diminish the merits of the argument, especially in this case, where few Democrats can actually be said to be hypocrites in this fashion, and the Republican argument persists in the face of hard evidence.
5)The real purpose of any such argument is not to dispute the veracity of claims about the Birther’s persistence in their error, but rather to allege a similar such persistence in error on Democrat’s part. And the purpose of that, of course is moral paralysis, to deny the need for Republicans to do something about their extremists, by claiming the other side has people of equal extremity.
We took care of our errors, and discouraged people from pushing the issue further. What have folks on your side done?
Message, not messenger.
Let me ask a question: when is the Right going to own their problems, rather than continue to try and blame everybody else for their situation and ours?
I’m sure Republicans, Libertarians, and others, have plenty to offer, but as long as they try to convince themselves that it was a center-right country that rejected them for impurity, rather than a center left country that rejected them for their disastrous policy results, they will be digging themselves in deeper.
I never said either candidate was unqualified. I said both had their birth certificates questioned, so why all the BS Stephen you must see something that I don’t. Read the last sentence in comment 284883. I think you need to get off the republican kick and start looking at the blunders of the democrats O but I know you will blame republicans for their blunderts.
I don’t know, Stephen, how long are Democrats going to try to push the notion that this is a left leaning country? Do you know why there is a big rush to get something done on healthcare NOW?
53 percent now oppose congressional healthcare reform.
Of course, that is just one in a line of many showing that support is waning for much of the agenda that has been pushed…
How about this one?
Cost, not universal coverage, is top health care concern for voters.
53% Say Obama is ‘Partisan Democrat’
31% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction
Just 20% Say Health Care Is Obama’s Top Priority
Republicans Take Four-Point Lead on Generic Ballot
Voters Trust GOP More than Democrats on Eight of 10 Key Issues (Voters not affiliated with either party trust Republicans more to handle the economy by a 46% to 32% margin.)
Just 25% Now Say Stimulus Has Helped The Economy, 31% Say it Hurt
Most Voters Fear Government Will Do Too Much to Fix Economy
2012 Match-ups: Obama, Romney Tied at 45%
I’m just trying to help you like you are trying to help Republicans, Stephen…
(all can be found here)
wow how did you ever lose? oh yeah, palin. great job picking right down the center. chuckle.
as far as bush goes, did i like him? no, but he was my president, and prayed for him nightly. are the republicans doing the same for this president? doubt it.
let’s just hope that we as democrats do not follow the republican lead by calling you UNAMERICAN, UNPATRIOTIC, and COMMUNISTS if republicans dare disagree w/our policies. i won’t, and it shouldn’t have been done to me for just questioning the bush doctorine. or, having been told “did you thank our troops for your right to speak” (palin - campaign stump - when ever any one spoke up against her).
it feels like a veil has lifted, and we can actually have converstations like this with out someone questioning my loyalty to my country. and i would hope in the future no one’s patriotism is ever questioned for political gain. that was wrong. and believe me, for having just questioned wars, weapons of mass destruction, etc i WAS called a communist, and unpatriotic by many on the right.
Liberal used to mean small government and less interference too. It still does in most places besides the U.S. I have no problem with the socially accepting part of liberalism, although I think you give yourselves too much credit. I have seen the liberals descent on smokers, for example.
There is a certain number of people who will always believe in conspiracy theories and most people believe in some of them. It is not a liberal conservative thing.
The problem is that people naturally look for patterns. If they cannot find one, they impose one of their own. The fictional formulation almost always makes more sense than the reality. Reality is often random or too complex to make a good story.
I find liberals as prone as conservatives. How many conspiracy theories have we heard right here about Bush, Cheney , Palin etc, not to mention all those ghost stories about election fraud in Ohio, Florida etc. That is why we demand strong rules of evidence for actual proof.
The Obama birth thing is not really a conspiracy theory, BTW. It is just a one-shot deal. It doesn’t have enough texture to be a real conspiracy theory.
Finally, I follow a simple rule that makes me less likely to believe in conspiracy theories – people just cannot keep complicated conspiracies a secret. Most people just are not that smart. The truth is usually nearest to the simple explanation.
And – never attribute to malice and conspiracy what is probably the result of chance and stupidity.
wow how did you ever lose?
Well, my candidate wasn’t allowed to speak at the debates or get his message out. I would think that had a lot to do with it.
As for the Republicans? They were winning until Fannie Mae needed bailed out. Had the housing bubble waited two more months to burst, it is a likelyhood that McCain could have won. Would he have? No way to know for sure. Do I care? Not really, neither candidate or party in the top two represent me in any meaningful way.
let’s just hope that we as democrats do not follow the republican lead by calling you UNAMERICAN, UNPATRIOTIC, and COMMUNISTS if republicans dare disagree w/our policies. i won’t
Sorry, they already have. Anyone not wanting to pay more taxes have been called unamerican and unpatriotic by this administration. I don’t think it will stop any time soon…
And yes, if you do your research, you’ll find I defended the left on these blog pages when the right was winging out words like ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘unamerican’. Because I know exactly where the liberal mindset goes when it tries to attack ideas and never mention them, but instead go after the individual to discredit them…
I would prefer to stick to the facts and issue myself. Unfortunately it’s a hard thing to do when those you talk with are just interested in discrediting and shouting down. The sad thing is that the left knows how it feels but keeps doing it as if it is some sort of ‘winning an election right’.
Let’s see Stephen, we can use the polling firm that has consistently been the most accurate polling firm in the country for the past several elections, displacing zogby after the 2004 fiasco…
OR, we can use an ‘amalgam’ of several polling agencies, many of them very biased and hope that the averages add up…
I especially loved the ‘how is Obama doing against the Republicans in congress’ question, as if the democrats in congress are, what, following in lockstep with their president?
And, from what I’m seeing, even using pollingreport as you suggest is showing much of what I have detailed… Obama’s approval rating is dropping…
OR, we can use an ‘amalgam’ of several polling agencies, many of them very biased and hope that the averages add up…
Many of them biased? Ha! I guess that explains any and all results that favor Obama!
Give me a break. Why should we buy a bias argument, without you proving first that such biases exist, and are more than just a figment of a partisan imagination?
That’s the big trouble here. For all his partisan bias, Nate Silver developed an excellent reputation for getting the numbers right. So should we just look at liberal pollsters? No.
Like I’ve told you, biased doesn’t mean wrong. We’re all biased, but some of us have a better read on things than others do.
What I wanted our readers to understand was that like Nate Silver says “…liberals’ doom-and-gloom, conservatives’ glee, and the media’s nearsighted reporting are all equally uncalled for.” Obama and the Democrats still outcompete the Republicans on many issues, and though they do not win every poll, they’ve got a much more solid base of support when they finally find themselves free to act.
If the Republican can’t filibuster, hell, even if they do, then the Democrats will get credit for doing things. I would say that the stalled gridlock is responsible for most of the negative perceptions. And I would be backed in this assertion by the early spikes of approval as Democrats started laying down the law, literally, as the energized majority.
The Republicans are having to do everything they can to put the brakes on. They can’t even afford a handful of defections. Theirs is a position of strength mainly based on the political equivalent of an amphetamine rush. They are going all out on the buzz of their partisan stimulant. But at some point, something is going to give. Some major legislation is going to go over their heads, and the fact that they were unable to prevent it will likely gut their support back home. Sooner or later, Both Republicans and Democrats are going to find it much more difficult to keep this crap up.
Then what do you have?
So should we just look at liberal pollsters?
If they have a good long track record of being accurate, sure! I no longer trust zogby, abc and gallup, they have all failed us. And there are more in that list, of course.
BTW, none of them favor Obama, they all show him dropping large numbers over the past 3 months… I don’t know why you try to gloss that over. I’m just throwing it out there for you, not expecting you to accept it, just as you toss out gems for the Republicans constantly in that backhanded insulting tone you have towards them.
Like I’ve told you, biased doesn’t mean wrong.
But you reject Rasmussen whenever I mention him because you have labelled him a ‘Republican pollster’, nevermind his track record.
I would say that the stalled gridlock is responsible for most of the negative perceptions.
ok… that’s absolutely your opinion to think so.
Some major legislation is going to go over their heads, and the fact that they were unable to prevent it will likely gut their support back home.
Like the stimulus that most Americans are now against, Cap and Trade that most Americans are against and this congress’ version of healthcare that include forcing people to buy health insurance on themselves, something that many people are not only against but may be unconstitutional and not what the president said he would sign when blasting Hillary Clinton for suggesting it?
The real problem, Stephen, is that everyone now in charge is trying to get theirs, including the president, at the expense of the taxpayer and if people rejected the spending of the Bush administration and congress, what do you think they are going to do when it is tripled by this administration and congress?
Unless Obama can become a thriftspend in the next 2 years it will be a one term presidency.
Jon Rice, the correct internet terminology is bat shit crazy, usually abbreviated BSC.
bluebuss, people have a range of opinions on different issues that don’t fit into neat categories.
On the birth certificate, this is something being promoted based on a lady at a community meeting with her congressman in Delaware. I’ve been to similar meetings with my congresswoman here, and was embarrassed by the stupidity of the audience, complaining about foreigners being allowed into the country and worrying about social security being paid to them and endlessly repeating the same thing over and over. Now, you can only request a meeting with the congresswoman’s representative.
With BHO, the oval office is now a PR office, with DAxelrod occupying the traditional COS office, and the real work being done elsewhere, while the POTUS shakes hands and delivers the speeches written by JFavreau. This is BHO in 2001:
He seemed nice. I voted for him twice, but balked at voting for him for POTUS, persuaded not to vote for him by his supporters making outlandish claims about him, substituting DAxelrod’s PR for reality.
Oh, lighten up. That G. Gordon Liddy is as honest as convicted felons come!
(The Republicans would do themselves a lot more favors if they didn’t treat their convicted felons as martyrs to the cause.)
Failed how? Come on. No poll is perfect. They all have margins of error, statistical models that need adjustment.
I don’t take polls too seriously as a measure of performance, or a measure of political opinion. There are always ways in which comprehension of the situation can slide out from underneath a poll, or in which the Poll can be a lagging indicator of political movement. Republicans cited poor poll numbers in the last election for Congress in general as a reason to believe that Democrats were going to lose seats. Democrats gained them instead.
Why was that a problem? Notoriously, poll numbers for Congress in General rarely reflect politicians and candidates in particular.
For every poll you cite that has Obama down in job performance, there’s another that still has him seen as more trustworthy and having people believe that he has a better potential to perform than the Republicans or those they represent in the special interests.
Or put another way, Obama might be one successful piece of legislation away from a rebound, whereas Republicans need Obama to stay permanently neutered in policy terms for them to win. Which do you think is more likely?
The thing to guard against in interpreting polls is the tendency towards reification- taking something abstract, derived, and making out like it’s something real. They represent a sampling of opinion, and they don’t necessarily tell you why people responded the way they do and have done. Sometimes, a question, being phrased a certain way, can produce a drastically different response from an ostensibly similar statement in more neutral terms.
Also, if you look at the poll results, you don’t always get a clear read on why people are responding the way they do. Do they hate Congress for what it’s doing, or what it’s not doing? (both are possible, actually, but which is more important?)
Finally, it’s like somebody said in a webinar I sat in on as tech support: It’s more important to watch people’s behavior, watch what people are doing, what they’re getting frustrated with, than rely upon survey results to figure things out. The Republicans are looking at the poll results for Congress and the President and telling themselves that they’re making his policies unpopular. But are they? We’re not seeing changes in Obama’s apparent trustworthiness in respect to them. Job performance can be driven down by commission of certain acts, or omission.
That’s why, really, I don’t base my politics on polling. I think long term, Obama’s best bet is to fight the decline by doing his job, not by giving in to the Republicans.
As for the Stimulus? I’d like you to explain to me how the Republicans are still 24 points behind Obama on the question of who they trust with the economy, and nineteen points behind him on the Budget Deficit, if they are all so gung ho angry about Obama’s supposed socialism. Does bias explain how there are fifths and quarters worth of margin between them on these matters?
I think the Republicans have succeeded in muddying the waters, and little else.
But let me comment on something else, something fairly ironic. Diageo Hotline poll talks about a choice between a slow recovery and low deficit versus a fast recovery and a high deficit. The slow recovery clearly wins out.
Except in the real world, slow recoveries are LETHAL to budget deficits. You lose money from revenues, which makes the fiscal problem worse.
See, you can ask people anything you want to in a poll, and cite their response as a reason for policy, but that policy’s consequences, will not naturally follow people’s opinion. It will follow things the way they work in the real world.
Or put another way, for all the success that some might have in persuading people of something, they can be wrong and disastrously so for all the success of the PR campaign.
It may well turn out that had Obama had his way, the economic damage would have been less. But I guess playing politics to short-circuit the political process takes precedence over not leaving the country a mess once more.
If the Republicans had been less concerned with manipulating poll numbers, they might have held on to their jobs. Now the Republicans are just sitting around doing their best to make their opposition look bad.
They aren’t going to succeed in restoring their reputation. That’s shot. What they will succeed in doing is creating political paralysis in a time of crisis.
The last time they did that was after the 1932 election. It delivered the government, in one fashion or another, to the Democrats for the next three quarters of a century.
In one way, their politics are brilliant. But unfortunately, they’re brilliant at getting results that no longer help anybody, much less themselves.
ummm…the most accurate Steven on who they trust on the economy seems to always be Rassmusen…they seem to give the dems a 3 pt advantage…
and seeem ur presidents approval is dropping like a dead weight….
remember rassmusen was the most accurate in the election:
lets just wait and see the polls in september tho……but the polls are dropping like lead balloons….when you took the house and senate a couple of years ago…you took it with moderate dems…not far left…and the country is not far left…you far leftiess had ur day in the sun…trust me…its over…back to the center guys.
btw notice public opinion on man made climate change in those polls..i would encourage all to look for themselves and then decide!
One court case does not mean there is no means for the citizens to question birth certificates. Likely there are other issues and venues through which to pursue it, although, anyone with any common sense would understand at this point that the issue with regards to Obama is neither sensible or with merit.
They were accurate about the Presidential election. That doesn’t nail every other poll for them. Each poll is an independent variable.
Or is there some magic mystical connection? We need a broader sample of exact hits to come to your broad, generalized conclusion about how accurate Rasmussen was.
Also, we would need to examine the crosstabs, to see if they were consistent with actual results. After all, broken clocks are right twice a day.
Before you start complaining, let me tell you something: I have a tendency to verify my own claims this way, too. There was some ambiguous question as to how a particular poll question was asked. It seemed to confirm everything I wanted to say.
But you know something? If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. So I looked at the source material. Turns out the poll site mistakenly marked the question as current. Instead, it was a poll from January, which would explain the apparent contradiction.
Factchecking can be a weapon, but it can also be a defense. If you rely on just Rasmussen, you inherit both their hits AND their misses.
I don’t see the media as free from bias, but I don’t indulge the paranoid idea that there aren’t any dependable facts. I instead take the view that you can find facts all over the place. I even find facts on conservative websites, though I don’t tend to directly look there.
At the very least, I can analyze and work out who had what sources, and what their thoughts on things were.
I could say that the poll results don’t concern me, but that would be a lie. However, I’ve learned to understand poll numbers for what they are and what they are not, and that good policy recognizes that polls are a yard stick of public opinion, not its sole source.
I presented alternative polls to raise this question: if Obama’s poll numbers are down…
1) Are they really that far down? Obama’s still far above fifty percent. That’s much, much better than the Republicans who he’s competing against.
2) Does he have American’s support and trust on many issues? Polls indicate he does. His lowered Job approval ratings might be due less to his choices, and more to his problems getting the legislation through Congress.
3) Are his competitors recovering their strength? No. Their tactics have proved mutually destructive. They’re weighing down everybody’s poll numbers, including their own.
As far as us far lefties go?
God help me. I hear this BS way too often. You actually think I’m far left? You actually consider my positions that extreme?
You guys are poor judges of political relations. We’re the moderates. We’re the people who said during the campaign that we would work with you, and even now continued to try to do this with you fellows. The Republicans will have none of this real bipartisanship. They just want Democrats to act like THEY won the election.
Well, no, you folks didn’t. We don’t get to arbitrarily exclude you folks, but we sure as hell have the right, conferred on us by Democratic means, to set the agenda in accordance with our principles.
I’m sure that if we had suggested that the minority had the right to run roughshod over the majority before 2006, you would have laughed your asses off.
It’s amazing, really. Two elections with serious losses, and you folks still argue that this is a center right country. Well, that center-right country has had center-left voting habits for some odd reason. People’s behavior speaks louder than their polling. They are electing Democrats.
And have you seen how the Republicans have been doing? Not well.
There’s another problem, and I would approach this from a neutral position as a critic of rhetoric: effectively, by using lowered poll numbers as an argument against Obama, you concede the future debate on what those numbers mean in a positive sense, when they go up.
This illustrates something similar. Republicans, having used the Dow’s lows against Obama now see that market rising pretty high, to 9000 points.
Now, it’s debateable what that means, in economic terms. However, if we take the Republicans serious, on their fallacious argument, then that means the markets trust Obama more, that he’s doing something right. Again, its a fallacious argument, so it doesn’t necessary follow.
But that’s the argument that can be made from the Republican’s former position.
Would it hurt, really, to discuss things in terms of practical reality, instead of polling numbers that may have no meaning six months from now?
Occurences like these are among the reasons why I like Obama.
Too many politicians do stupid things simply to save face. Obama, instead of wrapping himself up in rhetoric, or attacking the officer personally, calls up the officer and has a conversation with him. He defuses the problem, rather than trying to use brute force to overpower negative sentiments on the other side.
I’m with you on this one. I truly appreciate the Obama reaction in this case. I’m not sure what you mean by the “negative sentiments on the other side” though.
By that, I mean misgivings and dissents. Obama, instead of trying to bully them into silence, made peace with those that he got into a controversy with.
It’s one of those things I hate about the way Republican politicians and pundits approached these disagreements. That Graeme Frost kid’s drubbing is an example. They could have gently taken the other side, acknowledging the boundaries of not going after little accident victims, but instead they tried to destroy the kid’s reputation.
To me, there are better ways of resolving such issues.
This racial profiling is one of the biggest conspiracy theories there is.
Gates is a person of privilege. He plays at being a victim because of his skin color, but he makes piles of money and enjoys a cushy lifestyle. We should all be so cursed of being paid a lot to work a little. He has not call to be angry.
Meanwhile, he picks on a working-class police officer.
Obama was stupid when he called the cop stupid. It took him days to figure out that the Iranians were oppressing their people after the election, but could make a judgment about an American cop w/o any thought.
Obama recovered. Good for him. I hope the two Harvard guys, the very rich president and the rich professor, can indeed have a beer with the ordinary working-class guy they wronged with their racial profiling.
Christine and Ray,
Hmmm, yeah a lot of stupid words have been spilled, but only one party (the officer) took it to a new level….arrest. Guess the DA just didn’t agree.
I think everybody has pretty much been an ass here, fortunately we have a thinking president now, who can take a step back and rethink something.
It’s a good thing that this became a story, not particularly for Obama or his poor decision to opine, but that’s what happens when you have a man who isn’t in the Good Ol boys club. Maybe this issue matters a lot to some Americans. High time it got some attention of the first order.
We all yell and rant through the written word here, without it coming to blows. I certainly hope it never comes to the internet police arresting one of us for our disorderly rants.
Obama is very adept, but he made a big mistake by calling the cop stupid.
I think there is an interesting split and I will just state it as fact w/o value judgment.
When a cop arrests someone, I assume he had good reason. This is not always true, but it is my first response based on my background.
Some people have the opposite reaction, based on their background. We see that here.
I would add one value judgment to this equation. I cooperate with the cops. If a cop came to my house, told me he was answering a burglary call and asked for identification, I think I would just give it to him and apologize for creating a misunderstanding. I would not “stand up for my rights” but I bet we would have no trouble. Beyond that, it makes our whole neighborhood safer. Cops are humans too. They may have a duty to help, but if we make it hard for them they cannot do it as well.
A. Obama did not call the cop stupid. He said the police behaved stupidly. Not the same thing. Still an intemperent remark.
B. Some people have the opposite reaction, such as Black people in Cambridge who have an issue with DWB(Driving while black) charges. I have friends in Houston who have the same issue with police. Which brings us to Sotomayer’s comment and the point of my above comment. Glad to see the country club of old white men broken.
arrrgh!!!! intemperate not intemperent.
It may not have been the right comment for Obama to make, but those who get angry that he was upset at the situation obviously don’t take into consideration that in certain parts of America black people are raised to fear and mistrust the cops. If you do not realize that being black in certain parts of the country means you are a risk of being arrested for no reason at all other than racist assumption, then you really have no leg to stand on in this argument. Sure he shouldn’t have made the comment he did, but the comment itself was not unjustified and without precedent!
Mike & Gergle
Gates is a rich and well connected Harvard professor. He can pretend he was afraid of the cops, but he obviously was not.If you are afraid of someone, you don’t act like Gates acted.
I have seen Gates on TV and read some of his stuff. He is a classic race baiter. He makes his living by setting himself as the victim cum educator. Arrogant little man that he is, he certainly reveled in his notoriety and probably provoked the arrest. Okay, does my extrapolation go too far? President Obama made the same sorts of assumptions and gave the same sort of statement. Did he apologize?
In the center column post, I linked a news article that reveals some discrepancies in the officers report with what appears to have happened. Painting the professor as a race baiter or the cop as a racist may be premature.
I have no doubt the professor is a vocal advocate for equality and an end to profiling. Is it your position that he should cower in his home? It seems you are painting him as a brave advocate. Why do you believe a white cop is more right than he is? Is that racism on your part? If so, isn’t the professor justified in his rage?
As I said before, this sounds more like two bull headed individuals pushing each other. It’s the guy with the gun arresting the other that makes this a problem, not yelling. We yell at each other here everyday.
I know Gates’ work. He is always on that edge. He is the kind of guy who likes to provoke this kind of conflict. He provoked a “teachable moment” and I hope he learned a little about his outdated attitudes.
It is true that I don’t know anything about the cop involved except what I read recently.
IMO - I don’t think he should have arrested Gates for being an a-hole, but there is absolutely no evidence to think race was involved.
Ummm… Actually John McCain was asked to produce his “actual” birth certificate publicly, and he did so, along with his medical records.
It doesn’t really matter, it’s not like Obama’s going to be removed from office or anything. There are a lot more scary things with regards to this administration than where the commander-in-chief happened to be when he filled his first diaper.