What Shall We Call the Next Bit? Transcripters?

The birthers are dead (kinda), so long live the transcripters!

As we all knew would be the case (and as we here at OTB have noted several times over the last several days), but the release of the long form birth certificate by the President has hardly quelled the insanity.

To wit:  an editorial in WaTiBirth certificate isn’t Obama’s only secret.

First, the piece confirms its own birtherism, even in the wake of aforementioned document release (emphasis mine):

Barack Hussein Obama II was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. For over two years, the president has resisted pressure to divulge this simple biographical information, which proves he’s a natural-born citizen.

Except, of course, that is not true.  We have known the entire time that “this simple biographical information” had been confirmed.  To pretend like there was a withholding of information is profoundly dishonest.

And now we have this new “controversy”:  the question of transcripts.  Now, the actual issue is not that new, it dates back to the 2008 elections, but its emphasis is new (apparently, thanks to Trump):

Mr. Obama’s hostility to openness drives the public’s curiosity about the most basic facts of his life. For example, he has refused to release his college and law-school transcripts, information recent presidential candidates have openly shown the public despite some embarrassment over decades-old bad grades. What is there for this president to hide? Maybe he flunked government classes or got busted for dope. He has openly discussed his past drug use, but is there more to it? Secrecy breeds speculation.

This is all utter nonsense.  First, given that the man has written two books about himself and the simple fact that in current media environment we probably know as much, if not more, about Obama’s bio than we ever have about a given candidate.*  Second, it is not the case that recent candidates have “openly shown the public” their transcripts.  See here for some details on Bush and Kerry—where much of the information was leaked, not freely shared (Kerry did, after some hounding, agree to release his transcript).  In other words:  it isn’t the case that it is a normal course of action for candidates to release transcripts (the way we tend to expect tax returns and even medical records).  I don’t even recall transcripts coming up in any major way (especially over two years into an administration) prior to the 2004 cycle.

And the issue is not secrecy breeding speculation, it is petty politics breeding speculation (or, more accurately, using speculation as petty politics).

It is curious as to why people are so willing to jump on an issue like this.  I do understand that a) this is easier to focus on than complex policy and b) it is based on a need to declare Obama illegitimate in some capacity.

But, let me note, even to our resident transcripters:  this is a pointless endeavor.  It has no political utility and it makes you look like, well, an idiot (to use the social science term).  Are people really going to say the following:  “What!?  his GPA was only a 2.8?  Well, in that case, I am voting for the other guy!”

At least if the birthers were right, Obama would have been constitutionally barred from office.  The stakes for the transcripters are what, exactly?  That he might be stripped of his “magna cum laude” status at Harvard Law School?

Let me be clear about my own position on transcripts and politicians:  I don’t see a need for politicians to release them.  It isn’t as if I am going to choose to vote for a candidate based on who had the higher GPA two or three decades ago.  Now, I will admit, if the documents get leaked, or if a politician releases them of their own volition, then I will read them.

To me, the operative information is the institution attended and the degree earned.  It seems to me that wanting to know individual grades is about looking for embarrassing tidbits rather than trying to figure out actual qualifications. Further, grades tell me nothing about the now.  If my lawyer has done a good job for X number of years, and then I find out he got a “B” in contracts doesn’t mean that I will then fire him (likewise, if he does a lousy job, I am going to fire him even if he received a 4.0 in school).

I did not call for Bush and Kerry to release their transcripts and I see no point in hounding the current occupant of the White House to release.

Beyond any of that:  can anyone believe that someone who wrote the first paragraph written above (specifically the bolded portion) actually just wants information for information’s sake?  I think not.

Seriously:  if the best one can do as a critic of any candidate is their college/grad school transcripts, then I would argue that there must not be much to criticize—especially after a given candidate has served as President of the United States.

—-

*Heck, we even know he once dressed up like a pirate as a child.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    Afterbirthers.

  2. James Joyner says:

    This is doubly true when we’re dealing with a sitting president.

    In a hypothetical world where Trump is right, it might be mildly interesting if Senator Barack Obama was actually a poor student who got to Harvard and the presidency of its Law Review through sheer tokenism. It would undermine his narrative and make people question why someone so young and inexperienced should be trusted with the presidency. His presumed intellectual brilliance and precociousness was, after all, what overcame that concern.

    But Obama’s now POTFUS. At this point, who gives a rip what he did beforehand? We’re judging him exclusively on his performance as POTFUS.

  3. Jack says:

    We should call them “racists”.

    That’s what they are.

    They just can’t stand that there’s a nigger in the White House who isn’t there just to clean the toilets.

  4. mantis says:

    Did you hear about Barack Obama Sr.’s immigration documents the AZ Independent acquired? They provide additional confirmation of his son’s birth in Hawaii, but the more interesting parts are about the efforts by Immigration and Harvard to have Obama Sr. sent back home (successfully, in the end). When you read them, you realize even more how utterly ridiculous the birther’s “theory” that President Obama was born in Kenya and through a complex execution of subterfuge his parents and grandparents fooled the government into thinking he was born in Hawaii so that he could be president someday is. Let’s just say his were rather complicated and inauspicious beginnings, hardly fitting the delusional story the racists have touted.

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    I think people might be more interested to see his commie flavored homework. That’s how it seems to me.But, like you said he wrote two books full of that, plus gives speeches on it daily.

    I doubt even if he was shown to have plagiarized Marx that it would do any good to change his kool-aid zombies minds, they love them some Marxism.

    But Obama’s now POTFUS. At this point, who gives a rip what he did beforehand? We’re judging him exclusively on his performance as POTFUS.

    🙂

    Let us see anti Palinish devotion to covering him.Just picture him in a skirt and glasses….he already talks funny and acts like a girl:)

  6. jwest says:

    The critical difference between past presidential candidates and Obama is that with the former, people could look at an actual record of actions and accomplishments as opposed to projecting their hopes onto a blank (hidden) page. Since the press not only failed to ask any questions concerning Obama’s qualifications, but actively participated in an effort to cover up and minimize any detrimental information, the basic knowledge most Americans would like to know about the person occupying the White House is still lacking.

    Because Obama’s election hinged on the meme that he was intelligent, most would like to know if his IQ was higher than John McCain’s (133) or even George Bush (138). Was Obama’s LSAT’s lower than Sarah Palin’s? Was his performance at Occidental and Columbia sufficient to deserve admission to Harvard Law?

    Now that most of the public has come out of the ether of electing the first black president, and according to the polls being unimpressed with his actual performance, they want to know if he is just battling tough circumstances or if he is truly in over his head.

  7. Loviatar says:

    Steven,

    Just call them what they are; RACISTS.

  8. Boyd says:

    The key point Steven, James and others make is: even if all your dreams come true, and these school records show whatever it is you hope they show, what difference does it make? No one who currently or potentially supports the President for reelection will care about these records. As James said, he’s POTFUS! He has a record now, regardless of how thin you may think his record was before the election. We can judge him on his performance, good or bad.

    It’s time to move on (see what I did there?) to other things, folks. And Steven, I might suggest that you’re just feeding the crazies with posts like these. Better to ignore them, moreso than with the COLB. Even if they’re right, it just doesn’t matter.

  9. mantis says:

    jwest is having fun imagination time. Don’t disturb him.

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    Just call Obama what he is;COMMIE PUPPET.

  11. ratufa says:

    Well, the birth certificate “issue” isn’t totally over yet — WND is now delving into the mystery of the registration number and the Nordyke twins.

    I agree with James that, at this point, job performance is how one should evaluate Obama, and college transcripts are pretty much irrelevant. But, people aren’t asking for college transcripts to help evaluate Obama’s qualifications. They are doing do in order to push a particular political narrative. For example, when Bush was president, the narrative pushed by some people was that Bush is stupid, so they brought up his grades, dug up faculty members to badmouth him, etc.

    In Obama’s case, there is also a narrative being pushed that he is stupid. That’s pretty clear by the frequent statements one hears about him being helpless without his teleprompter, pointing out his various verbal slips (“corpse man”), etc. Of course, there’s another narrative that gets pushed with talk about his grades and affirmative action, and the 30 second summary of *that* narrative is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIyewCdXMzk

    (To save you the trouble of watching the video, it’s the Jesse Helms “Hands” ad)

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    Intelligent +indoctrination=stupid

  13. Kylopod says:

    >if his IQ was higher than John McCain’s (133) or even George Bush (138).

    Would you kindly tell me where you got that information?

  14. G.A.Phillips says:

    jwest is having fun imagination time. Don’t disturb him.

    er, me too.um I mean I am a realist, this crap don’t matter anymore, the election is over, er, wait,hmm 2012, er, um, ah, BEER PARTY!!!!!!!

  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    >if his IQ was higher than John McCain’s (133) or even George Bush (138).

    Would you kindly tell me where you got that information?

    Intelligent +indoctrination=stupid

  16. mantis says:

    if his IQ was higher than John McCain’s (133) or even George Bush (138).

    Or Sarah Palin’s (3456)! She’s the smartesterest ever! Obummer’s a big dummy!

    Is it just me, or have we become a nation of children?

  17. Janis Gore says:

    Just a note, the LSAT is a pre-law test. Ms. Palin could have, I’m sure, gone to law school. Might have bored her to death, but I’d bet she could have.

  18. Jay Tea says:

    Except, of course, that is not true. We have known the entire time that “this simple biographical information” had been confirmed. To pretend like there was a withholding of information is profoundly dishonest.

    In 2004, John Kerry pledged to release his military records. Instead, he showed them to three carefully-vetted journalists — including the Boston Globe reporter who was writing Kerry’s biography. That was supposed to be good enough for us proles.

    In Obama’s case, he showed it to a few journalists, and we were supposed to accept that. Sorry, after (too many examples to list), I don’t trust journalists enough to take their word for something this important.

    That being said, Obama’s releasing the record didn’t change my mind in the least. I was 99 and 44/100% certain Obama was born in Hawaii and legally qualified to be president, and I still am. I think most of the birther crowd are hyperpartisan conspiracy nuts who need to be ignored and just go away. (Sadly, CNN and MSNBC have put a LOT of energy into keeping them in the public eye.) But I was glad to see him finally do — in two business days — what so many people said for so long simply couldn’t be legally done.

    Oh, and mantis? “Afterbirthers?” Cute, appropriately insulting, but it isn’t quite as self-explanatory as a good catchphrase or epithet should be. I lke it, but I don’t think it’ll catch on.

    J.

  19. Herb says:

    “But Obama’s now POTFUS. At this point, who gives a rip what he did beforehand? We’re judging him exclusively on his performance as POTFUS.”

    I read this with Ron Swanson’s voice and couldn’t agree more. (Obama’s 2012 slogan: I’m POTFUS. I was born ready.)

    He’s President Obama, not candidate Obama. All of these people whining about birth certificates and college transcripts are ignoring the elephant in the room: Obama’s first term.

    Maybe deep down they realize that the alternative is no better and, depending on who we’re talking about, may even be worse.

  20. Boyd says:

    In Obama’s case, he showed it to a few journalists, and we were supposed to accept that.

    What the hell are you talking about, Jay? The Obama campaign released the birth certificate that they got from the State of Hawaii back in 2008. They didn’t have the certified copy of the original certificate until recently, which they just released. Where are you getting this “they showed it to carefully vetted journalists” from? This is the first I’ve heard of that.

  21. mantis says:

    In Obama’s case, he showed it to a few journalists, and we were supposed to accept that.

    He should have hand-delivered a certified copy to each citizen personally, right Jay?

    Anyway, tell us more about how Obama didn’t get special permission from the State of Hawaii to release his long-form as part of a devious strategy to keep the birthers going and benefit politically. You’ve made that assertion many, many times. Now that it has been released, and the birthers continue unabated, as I and others predicted all along, how does that square with your theory? If Obama was just stringing them along by not getting the long-form, how come none of them have accepted it? Maybe because it has nothing to do with that document, and nothing to do with facts, and everything to do with a vicious, ugly strain of racism in this country?

    Maybe he knew all along that the birthers, whose lies you have been happy to repeat for a long time now, would never accept any form of proof whatsoever. Maybe he knew it was a total waste of time until Donald Trump and the media made it headline news for weeks, and it started to seriously embarrass the United States.

    Go ahead, explain it all to us, Jay. I’m sure you have a fascinating explanation.

  22. mantis says:

    What the hell are you talking about, Jay?

    Not about, but from where. The answer is out his ass, per usual.

  23. jwest says:

    McCain:
    “Included in the records is a 1984 IQ test. His score, 133, would rank him among the most intelligent Presidents in history. “

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,992860,00.html#ixzz1KvTOsmsm

    Information on Bush to follow.

  24. mantis says:

    Oh, Jay’s making claims over at his birther swamp.

    OK, President Obama released his “long form” birth certificate this week. Apparently the polling that had been showing the issue as a plus for Obama finally turned, and became enough of negative that he decided it was time to put an end (mostly) to it. I say “mostly” because there will always be enough nuts to keep it somewhat alive, but this should shut down most of those who’ve been pushing it.

    No, it won’t. Here’s a challenge: find one prominent birther who is no longer a birther as a result of the document release this week. I’ve been looking, and haven’t found one. Can you?

  25. Jay Tea says:

    mantis, I’ve said from the outset, on numerous occasions, that the whole birther mess was a load of crap, and the birthers should just STFU and GTFO. I just did again today, at Wizbang.

    What the FLICK more do you want?

    No, don’t bother answering. I already know what you want — me to shut up, on pretty much everything.

    Sorry, ain’t gonna happen.

    J.

  26. Jay Tea says:

    Here’s a challenge: find one prominent birther who is no longer a birther as a result of the document release this week. I’ve been looking, and haven’t found one. Can you?

    Find them yourself. You’re far more interested in them than anyone else here. I have no interest in reading their ravings, and “doing so at mantis’ behest” makes it even less appetizing.

    J.

  27. mantis says:

    mantis, I’ve said from the outset, on numerous occasions, that the whole birther mess was a load of crap, and the birthers should just STFU and GTFO. I just did again today, at Wizbang.

    And your swamp is full of birthers. Look at your damn comment threads, Jay. I’d estimate about 75% of your commenters are birthers. If you dislike them so much, don’t you get tired of them? And don’t tell me you’ve always said ” the whole birther mess was a load of crap,” because you repeatedly trafficked in demonstrable birther lies, even after they had been repeatedly pointed out to you as such.

    What the FLICK more do you want?

    Stop trafficking in birther lies. You did it again right here on this thread, claiming the COLB was only released to a few journalists when it was posted on the goddam internet, a fact of which you can’t be unaware.

    Also, I want you to explain your “Obama’s keeps birthers going by refusing to release his long form because it helps him politically” theory. He released it, and nothing changed for the birthers. So what was the point of his not releasing it? Does your theory hold water or not?

    No, don’t bother answering. I already know what you want — me to shut up, on pretty much everything.

    I never told you to shut up about anything. I call you on your bullshit. I call you on your two-faced repetition of birther lies. I call you on your tacit support for political violence. Don’t want me to call you on that shit anymore? Don’t do it. (Or, I guess, just don’t come here, since I don’t comment at your birther swamp anymore).

  28. mantis says:

    Find them yourself. You’re far more interested in them than anyone else here. I have no interest in reading their ravings, and “doing so at mantis’ behest” makes it even less appetizing.

    Ok, so once again you admit to writing things when you have no idea if they are true, and affirming that you have no interest in finding out if they are true. Thanks for confirming that yet again, you two bit hack.

  29. Jay Tea says:

    It’s your theory, mantis. It’s your challenge. I’m rejecting it, first — but not hardly only — because I see absolutely no upside to taking it up.

    As far as “repeating lies,” here’s what was stuck in the back of my brain:

    FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship.

    And yes, I’m standing by my parallel to John Kerry’s military records.

    As I’ve said all along, this whole stupid issue needs to die. But folks like you, CNN, MSNBC, and others like keeping it alive, don’t you? Why else would you be so obsessed on making certain every single detail is examined and reported accurately?

    Unless it isn’t the issue you’re obsessed with, but little ol’ me…

    J.

  30. G.A.Phillips says:

    I’m POTFUS. I was born ready.)

    Herb they are to dumb to use a cool slogan like that, not commie or unicorn enough… but props:)

  31. Boyd says:

    Jay, that would make sense if it were the only information we have on the birth certificate, but it’s not. We have the computer-generated form that Hawaii currently releases when a birth certificate is requested (which is every bit as valid as the original, mistakenly called the “long form”). We have numerous state officials and Republican politicians in Hawaii who have stated that the original exists and shows that Barack Obama II was born there. FactCheck.org doesn’t even come into my conclusion (made over two years ago) that President Obama was born just as he said he was.

    In fact, now that I look at FactCheck.org’s claim that you linked, I suspect them of lying. It would have been illegal for them to have seen the document that claim to have seen, and there’s no reason I can imagine that someone with access to that document would have risked their job (and maybe criminal punishment for all I know) for revealing that document to them.

    I think you’ve been listening to the crazies for too long over there, pardner.

  32. mantis says:

    It’s your theory, mantis.

    Really? What’s this on your site I already quoted?

    but this should shut down most of those who’ve been pushing it.

    Really? Should it? I haven’t seen a single birther change position. They are all doubling down.

    As far as “repeating lies,” here’s what was stuck in the back of my brain:

    At your link are images of the birth certificate, which is available all over the internet, and has been for years. You claim only a few journalists saw it. Care to explain that?

    But folks like you, CNN, MSNBC, and others like keeping it alive, don’t you?

    The media does, for their own reasons (ratings/traffic). I don’t. I respond to birther bullshit on the internet. If the birthers all shut up tomorrow (fat chance), you wouldn’t hear another word about it from me.

    Why else would you be so obsessed on making certain every single detail is examined and reported accurately?

    I understand that establishing the facts in the face of widespread delusion is unimportant to you, but some of us feel differently. You can try to pretend that the years long birther delusion is all the fault of people on the left like me, but nobody with a brain would buy that load of shit.

    Unless it isn’t the issue you’re obsessed with, but little ol’ me…

    When I stopped commenting at your swamp, I meandered over to the Washington Independent when Dave Weigel was working the birther beat, and jousted with the birthtards there for a while (you can check if you want). I never mentioned you once, and didn’t do so here until you showed up and started challenging me. So, considering the reality here, I think you’ve got it reversed. It seems far more likely that you’re obsessed with me.

  33. Boyd says:

    Actually, let me walk back my last statements on FactCheck.org. They mistakenly refer to the computer-generated birth certificate as the “original.” That may have made sense at the time, but we know now that they weren’t talking about the original certificate, they were talking about the computer-generated one, which they regarded as valid against claims it was photoshopped.

    So, your FactCheck.org quote is meaningless in this context, Jay. They weren’t talking about the original certificate, a certified copy of which was released earlier this week.

  34. george says:

    No one who currently or potentially supports the President for reelection will care about these records. As James said, he’s POTFUS! He has a record now, regardless of how thin you may think his record was before the election. We can judge him on his performance, good or bad.

    That is of course the reasonable way of looking at things. But you’re pissing into the wind. Most of the birthers aren’t going to give it up, partially because they’ve already invested so much into conspiracies about Obama, partly because its team politics and they just know they hate the opposition leader (not really that unlike what went on against Bush). And many democrats think the birther thing is golden (ie it makes the opposition seem like wingnuts) and are going to feed it as much as they can.

  35. Jay Tea says:

    Boyd, I wasn’t citing FactCheck.org as authoritative, but as where I’d seen the “we’ve seen it and it’s authentic, trust us!” bit that reminded me of Kerry’s military records. As I’ve said, I haven’t bothered cluttering up my brain with all the minutiae.

    mantis, you busted me. I have a whole blog where I can “parrot birther lies,” but instead I insidiously sneak over here and plant them in the comments section when I see others doing the same thing MSNBC and CNN do — keep the birthers BS alive to protect Obama and defame his legitimate critics. It’s all part of a grand conspiracy, the details of which I would be killed if I divulged, but it involves… ack… gasp… la;skdfjhal;nnbpaoiwnen;lajsfd

  36. mantis says:

    As I’ve said, I haven’t bothered cluttering up my brain with all the minutiae.

    Facts! Who needs em!

    I have a whole blog where I can “parrot birther lies,” but instead I insidiously sneak over here and plant them in the comments section

    You’ve parroted them over there as well.

    when I see others doing the same thing MSNBC and CNN do — keep the birthers BS alive to protect Obama and defame his legitimate critics.

    You can try to blame it all on CNN and MSNBC, but the fact (sorry, I know these are anathema to you) is that all of right wing media, many Republican elected officials and candidates, and a very large number of rightwing writers and bloggers have been beating the birther drum nonstop for years. That you ignore the fact that it is in fact they who have kept the “birther BS alive” just shows how full of shit you are. If it weren’t for them, there would be no birther BS. It would just be a mildly embarrassing footnote from the 2008 Democratic primary, and not the cottage industry the right has made out of it.

    I notice your ignoring most of my comments. I guess you just concede those points.

  37. Janis Gore says:

    Well, f88k, I’m going to have to pull the ladder down and go into the attic to find both my long form birth certificate and my SATS. Sorry, I didn’t keep my papers.

    Kids, it’s already hot in Louisiana.

  38. Jay Tea says:

    I notice your ignoring most of my comments. I guess you just concede those points.

    You guess wrong. I just don’t feel like typing “LOL” over and over and over again.

    In theory, we both want the same thing — the whole birther mess to die. But you keep insisting on attacking me, because I don’t meet your standard of purity (which I never accepted, and don’t even want to understand). It comes across that you aren’t so much interested in ending the issue, but in being seen as fiercely against the birthers, even if you have to try to make up birthers to oppose.

    I would argue that, through my (few) writings on the birthers at Wizbang, I’ve done far more to discredit them than you ever have. (An admittedly low bar, but the one at hand.) Which makes it interesting that you are so devoted to “taking me down.”

    Sorry, mantis, the birthers are stupid and borderline crazy, and I’m going to tell them so whenever the mood strikes me. Get over it.

    And get over yourself.

    J. (Who just had a miraculous recovery…)

  39. An Interested Party says:

    This all reeks of so much desperation…some people, including a few fools around here, just can’t seem to accept that Barack Obama is the president of the United States and will seemingly say, do, write, and believe just about anything to help them ease this bit of reality out of their minds…

  40. mantis says:

    But you keep insisting on attacking me, because I don’t meet your standard of purity

    Actually, I attack you because you’re a lying asshole. Pretty sure I’ve explained this.

    It comes across that you aren’t so much interested in ending the issue, but in being seen as fiercely against the birthers, even if you have to try to make up birthers to oppose.

    I can’t end the issue. The issue will never end, because the rightwing in this country has a rabidly racist base that loves this stuff. They will never give up, and the politicians they support will never stop pandering to them. My goal is to embarrass them and present the facts wherever possible. The fact that you in particular are incapable of shame does not change my goal.

    I would argue that, through my (few) writings on the birthers at Wizbang, I’ve done far more to discredit them than you ever have.

    Yeah, you repeating their lies even after they had been repeatedly pointed out to you as such did a lot to discredit them. Nice work, dipshit.

    Which makes it interesting that you are so devoted to “taking me down.”

    Bullshit. I’ve never tried to take you down, or claimed to be doing so. I don’t even know what “taking you down” would be. DDOSing your blog? I haven’t a clue. I’ll explain i to you one more time. I started commenting here. A while later you showed up and started challenging me and spreading birther lies. I now call you on your shit whenever I see you spouting it. If I really wanted to “take you down,” do you honestly believe that’s how I would do it? Stop commenting at your site, not have any interaction with you for many, many months, and wait for you to stumble upon the blog I’m commenting at? What are you, paranoid too? Do you think I’ve planted radio devices in your teeth, also? You tell me to get over myself? What a joke you are.

    Sorry, mantis, the birthers are stupid and borderline crazy, and I’m going to tell them so whenever the mood strikes me.

    And you’ll repeat their lies whenever the mood strikes you too. That’s been my point all along. You still don’t get it.

  41. It is just the aftermath of not having a fully vetted candidate. Hope and change!

  42. It is just the aftermath of not having a fully vetted candidate.

    As I said in the post:

    This is all utter nonsense. First, given that the man has written two books about himself and the simple fact that in current media environment we probably know as much, if not more, about Obama’s bio than we ever have about a given candidate.*

    Further, it would seem to me that the test of whether a candidate is insufficiently vetted is that something is discovered later that is problematic to that candidate/their party. Where is that the case here?

    Look: I am more than happy to discuss critiques of politics and policy, but all this discussion of vetting and biography is nonsense.

  43. Janis Gore says:

    McCain was not elected because of anti-war sentiment, and several others that I hold.

  44. Jay Tea says:

    mantis, I’d swear that you “challenged” me first, but — as I’ve said — I tend not to clutter up my brain with pointless details like that. (I save it for other pointless facts.) I was actually glad to see you had settled in as a commenter here after you stormed out of Wizbang (and to head off any misinformation others have tried to spread, you and I both agree you were not banned, but left of your own volition and are free to return should you wish).

    You wanna renew our mutual ignoring? Fine with me. I do find it entertaining that I can send you into frothing rage (well, at least, serious anger) without getting too excited myself, but I’ll forgo that pleasure if you wish. I won’t react to your comments, you won’t react to mine. I’ll restrain myself to sparring with anjin, michael, and a couple others, and occasionally kicking around the pathetic wr.

    Oh, and poking at Doug when the mood strikes me. But that’s a given.

    J.

  45. rodney dill says:

    Transcripter? Heh. I had that thought yesterday too.

    I guess those that don’t turn over their transcripts can be called transcryptkeepers then.

  46. jwest says:

    Steven,

    Sarah Palin has written two books about herself. Can we agree that anything concerning Palin should now be taken exclusively from those books and that if anyone disputes any items they should be classified as crazy extremists?

    Is the standard now that two books written by the politician about themselves constitutes full and proper vetting?

  47. @jwest:

    1. If Palin does run in 2012, I am not going to be making claims about how she wasn’t properly vetted for that run. Likewise, I shan’t be asking for her birth certificate nor her college transcripts.

    2.

    Can we agree that anything concerning Palin should now be taken exclusively from those books

    Since I never made any such claims about Obama, I am unsure of your point.

    and that if anyone disputes any items they should be classified as crazy extremists?

    If people run around claiming, without evidence, that someone other than Palin and her un-credited co-authors wrote the books, sure, you can call them nutters.

    3.

    Is the standard now that two books written by the politician about themselves constitutes full and proper vetting?

    I never said anything of the sort.

    I am happy to defend my positions, but it would be nice if you actually were asking me about those positions.

  48. mantis says:

    mantis, I’d swear that you “challenged” me first, but — as I’ve said — I tend not to clutter up my brain with pointless details like that.

    Facts! Who needs em!

    I was also thinking of when I was the first to start casting doubts on Brietbart’s dishonest smear of Shirley Sherrod at, among other places, Little Green Footballs. You then made a point of trying to tie me to Charles Johnson, whom you are supremely obsessed with.

    I do find it entertaining that I can send you into frothing rage (well, at least, serious anger)

    You should not mistake strongly worded writing with “frothing rage” or “serious anger.” Blog commenting is a game, a sport. I don’t really get upset about it. I just have control over my words, and use them to effect. Again, get over yourself. You’re not important to me, and you don’t have a fraction of the influence over my thoughts you seem to think you have.

    but I’ll forgo that pleasure if you wish. I won’t react to your comments, you won’t react to mine.

    No deal. If you continue to post factually challenged comments here, I will continue to call you out on it as long as I comment here.

  49. jwest says:

    Steven,

    “. If Palin does run in 2012, I am not going to be making claims about how she wasn’t properly vetted for that run. Likewise, I shan’t be asking for her birth certificate nor her college transcripts.”

    If you don’t ask those questions and many more, you should be ashamed of yourself. Perhaps you fail to understand that the person chosen to president makes decisions that can and do affect your life in substantial ways. If you feel that basic biographical questions that would be asked of someone applying for a personal assistant’s job are too far below you that you shan’t be asking, perhaps it would be better for the country if you sat out elections.

    Perhaps you believe that the precious time that is “wasted” on the basic questions could be better spent on complex policy discussions. Considering the questions and canned answers Obama was asked and provided in the 2008 election, then the subsequent reality that nothing he said was actually the policy he pursued, it might help to realize that when electing a president it is best to gage the person instead of a collection of empty promises. One way of doing that is to examine the basic information available.

    Question everything. Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama was doing either of us any favor by running for president. They wanted the job, so let them answer.

  50. @jwest:

    Nice attempt at self-justification.

    After all, you are just asking questions…

    (Although I don’t recall ever seeing you call for Palin’s birth cert)

  51. jwest says:

    Steven,

    If anyone asked for it, I’m certain she would happily provide it.

    I cannot understand the deference you show towards Obama. It’s as though once he kneeled before the Lords of Harvard and was tapped thrice on the shoulder with the sword of the Ivy League, no one was allowed to question the nobility of his being.

    Surly you couldn’t be impressed with his vision, decision making capabilities and leadership since he took office, but you’re ready to throw your body into the path of any question that might be the least bit uncomfortable for him to endure. There is precious little in his resume, so whatever there is should be fair game to evaluate. Still, your position is to accept whatever is presented at face value and move on to the next round of meaningless and quickly broken campaign promises.

    (sigh)

  52. @jwest:

    I am going to be blunt: the bottom line is that no candidate (let alone elected POTUS) has ever asked to produce documentation about their place of birth. Obama did, years ago, and it wasn’t enough.

    The only reason that I can come up with for this ongoing insistence that Obama prove his citizenship status and now the insistence that he prove his academic record is because his skin is dark and he has a funny-sounding name. It is all born of racism and xenophobia. You can couch it all you like in notions of “just asking questions” all you like, but I am not buying it.

    Further, you do not discuss things in an intellectually honest fashion, making reasonable dialog utterly impossible. Here’s a suggestion: it isn’t legitimate to present caricatures of someone’s position and then ask them to respond to it.

    Quite frankly, I am not sure what your goals are, since they are clearly not to be persuasive or to change minds/learn anything through discourse.

    Sigh, indeed.

  53. mantis says:

    Told you it’s not worth the trouble to wrestle with that pig, Steven. He loves it.

  54. @manits,

    I have largely taken to ignoring his comments (as, for the most part if you’ve read one, you have read them all). I decided to respond to a direct question (a policy that I may have to consider revising). I have no problem with real dialog, but I expect a certain amount of honest in the inter-locution.

  55. jwest says:

    Steven,

    I would think that my goals were obvious. I strive to expose liberal posers – MSNBC conservative commentator wannabes – for the frauds they are. People who can’t explain why they think as they do, only that they believe they are the “reasonable” voice of the right.

    You decry caricatures being made of your position, but have no qualms attributing my questions concerning Obama’s qualifications to racism and xenophobia. In the next breath (or article), you will no doubt refer to how unqualified a conservative candidate is as if it was universally accepted fact, without citing any reference or explaining the rationale behind the assumption.

    As to persuading the authors or commentators here, a more futile exercise couldn’t be devised. These interactions are for the benefit of the lurkers, who learn that they should never take the political label of an author or commentator at face value. There are still idiots out there who believe Andrew Sullivan and Dave Weigel are “conservative bloggers”. We can’t allow the words of these and their brethren to go unchallenged and unexposed.

  56. Clivesl says:

    As I said about the birthers I will say about the transcripters, there is no shortage of things to bash this President for without indulging in this patent silliness. Especially when you figure that Barack Obama, for all his faults, lays far more claim to being a self-made man than the current (albeit early) Republican frontrunner. At a minimum, Obama has a massive edge over Trump in the number of times he has walked away from his debts in bankruptcy court. Anyone for a little personal responsibility from our candidates?

  57. wr says:

    jwest — You could save your fingers a lot of work if you just typed “I am a troll” and left it at that.

  58. PD Shaw says:

    I am going to be blunt: the bottom line is that no candidate (let alone elected POTUS) has ever asked to produce documentation about their place of birth.

    John McCain. He refused to produce it to the public, but showed it to a reporter. He was sued on the theory that he was not born where he said he was born, and IIRC the lawsuit became moot when he lost the election.

  59. jwest says:

    Clivesl,

    You’re absolutely correct in the fact that Trump has had bankruptcies whereas Obama has not.

    Unfortunately, that is one of the effects of our capitalistic system, where risk takers who employ tens of thousands sometimes encounter circumstances when they need to reorganize in order to continue the business and save what jobs they can. Luckily, Obama has been able to avoid the whole unpleasantness of the risk/reward world by ensconcing himself in academia and politics.

    If we could only persuade more people to go into teaching, perhaps we could avoid bankruptcies altogether.

  60. @PD:

    There were a few rumbles about whether McCain was eligible because he was born on a US military base in Panama. However, there was no argument that he was, for example, Panamanian. This is not the same thing as the birther phenomenon. There were also some questions about Barry Goldwater, since he was born in AZ when it was still a territory. Again, not the same thing.

    I am unaware of any demand for documents, let alone a secret reveal to a reporter.

  61. PD Shaw says:

    Prof. Taylor, here is a summary from Wikipedia:

    McCain never released his birth certificate to the press or independent fact-checking organizations, but did show it to Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs, who wrote “a senior official of the McCain campaign showed me a copy of [McCain’s] birth certificate issued by the ‘family hospital’ in the Coco Solo submarine base”. A lawsuit filed by Fred Hollander in 2008 alleged that McCain was actually born in a civilian hospital in Colon City, Panama

    Hollander would produce a birth certificate showing that McCain was born in Panama not on the base, that was widely believed to be a forgery. Two lawsuits were filed against McCain, both were dismissed for want of standing, rulings which were relied upon by Obama to get similar rulings. McCain lost the election and the issue was moot, Obama won and it wasn’t.

  62. PD:

    I simply don’t see that as a comparable situation.

    Thanks for the clarification on the reporter reveal, however.

  63. G.A.Phillips says:

    I would think that my goals were obvious. I strive to expose liberal posers – MSNBC conservative commentator wannabes – for the frauds they are. People who can’t explain why they think as they do, only that they believe they are the “reasonable” voice of the right.

    You decry caricatures being made of your position, but have no qualms attributing my questions concerning Obama’s qualifications to racism and xenophobia. In the next breath (or article), you will no doubt refer to how unqualified a conservative candidate is as if it was universally accepted fact, without citing any reference or explaining the rationale behind the assumption.

    As to persuading the authors or commentators here, a more futile exercise couldn’t be devised. These interactions are for the benefit of the lurkers, who learn that they should never take the political label of an author or commentator at face value. There are still idiots out there who believe Andrew Sullivan and Dave Weigel are “conservative bloggers”. We can’t allow the words of these and their brethren to go unchallenged and unexposed.

    nice:)

  64. mattb says:

    On racism… if it had just been the birth certificate — perhaps — it could be said that this was just about getting to the truth.

    If one takes a step back and looks at all of the attacks together, it’s impossible to not read race into it. To some people Obama cannot possibly:
    1. Have been Born in the US.
    2. Raised in an American Way.
    3. Deserved to be in three different high powered universities.
    4. Been the editor of a prestigious review.
    5. Taught at possibly the most intellectually rigorous university in the US.
    6. Written 2 books.
    7. Deserved to be elected to City and State Office.
    8. Deserved to be President of the US.

    Then, even those who don’t support the birthers but are still anti-Obama expect him to do things that no president before has ever been seriously asked to do. Worse, you praise the very people who are making those requests and saying those questions are legitimate.

    In other words, you are giving aide and comfort to racists.

    This pattern of singling someone out, because they are different is really one of three things:
    1. If you really believe a Black Man shouldn’t be president, it’ racist. And that’s bad, but at least you’re doing what you believe in your heart is right.
    2. You convince yourself that all of that isn’t racist. Then you’re delusional or perhaps stupid.
    3. You’re not a racist and smart enough to realize the racial undertones, but see that it’s working to put your opponent in a bad position, so you exploit it. And that demonstrates a level of cynicism and banality that is, at best, just one step away from Arendtian evil.

  65. mattb says:

    BTW, within the last two weeks I’ve defended Palin from others for exactly the same reasons Dr Taylor lays out in his arguement. The idea that someone isn’t qualified to be president because they didn’t go to an Ivy or went through 4 schools is rediculous. And I don’t think she should have to release her transcripts.

    I don’t think she is remotely intellectually engaged or curious, but that is actually based on watching her performances in the recent now. And, again, I also think she is quite cagey and has a well-developed/honed sense of how to seize an opportunity when it presents itself (smart like a fox).

  66. rodney dill says:

    @Jay Tea, I kinda think you should take the challenge J. but as ‘birther’ is somewhat ambiguously defined, at least as to who is one, I’m sure mantis will gladly first provide a list of everyone he considers is a birther sorted by degree or prominence. Its the least he can do.

  67. tom p says:

    hoo boy…. glad I am working again.

  68. Jay Tea says:

    If you continue to post factually challenged comments here, I will continue to call you out on it as long as I comment here.

    Oh, cool! My very own cyberstalker! I’ve never had one before! And since it’s my first, I’m glad you’re limiting your stalking to just this blog. It’ll take some getting used to.

    So, in response, I pledge this: I intend to continue to comment when and where the mood strikes me, in utter disregard for whether or not you’re there. I will not make any sort of special accommodations for you and your ideas of “truth” and “lies,” but I will, every now and then, toss out a little “red meat” just to see if I can still make you dance like my little puppet.

    But don’t worry, I won’t abuse that. I’ll be most niggardly with my baiting.

    J.

  69. Jay Tea says:

    mattb, I gotta quibble with one aspect of your list there:

    2. Raised in an American Way.

    Obama’s upbringing wasn’t exactly Norman Rockwell. Father was a foreign national who abandoned him and his mother. Stepfather was another foreign national, who took the two to Indonesia for four years before sending him home to live with his maternal grandparents. One of the most influential figures in his life was Communist organizer and agitator Frank Marshall Davis.

    For the record, I’m not saying that any of that is in any way disqualifying for the presidency, but I can’t think of any other president who had so much non-American and (in Davis’ case) anti-American factors in his upbringing.

    Personally, I’m of the school of “let’s go after him for what he’s done as president, and ignore all this petty preliminary crap,” but as mantis would say were he inclined to be fair and balanced in his critiques, it’s essential to get every single fact precisely right, or you’re some kind of racist bigot hatemonger and kitten-igniter or something. And Obama’s upbringing is certainly unique among presidents. I’d be hard-pressed to think of another president who had both at least one foreign parent and spent several years of their childhood abroad. I don’t think we’ve ever had a son of a foreign national as president, and I think the last president to spend a significant time abroad as a child was Jack Kennedy, whose father was the Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

    Again, nothing disqualifying. But certainly unique, and hardly “typically American.”

    J.

  70. Jay Tea says:

    Crap, I borked the formatting… sorry, folks.

    J.

  71. c.red says:

    We’re in the face saving stage, most of the birthers (minus the flat earthers in the movement) just need enough time and distance to feel comfortable claiming they never supported birtherism all along, they just going along with it out patriotism, or the fun of it, or whatever reason. It will take some of them longer than others.

    Most of what we are getting now is the equivalent of a six year old walking away after losing a fight and saying “and you smell too.”

    Personally, I think it is the same solution with people claiming he is a socialist or marxist. Mostly it isn’t worth engaging them or acknowledging them.

  72. wr says:

    Jay Tea — Sorry, but if you’re going to claim that Frank Marshall Davis was “anit-American” — or approvingly quote someone who does — then you are the one who is anti-American. Our country is not defined by right-wing, racist free marketeers, and opposing that kind of politics is not the same as opposing America. You’re no different from the other eliminationist creeps who whine that only small town Republicans who hate blacks, gays, non-Christians and liberals are “real Americans.”

    The government you want already exists. It’s in Saudi Arabia. Why don’t you go for a visit and let us know how you like it?

  73. mantis says:

    Oh, cool! My very own cyberstalker! I’ve never had one before!

    And you don’t have one now. I simply said I will continue to do what I’ve always done, which is call you on your bullshit. You really took that one around the bend, didn’t you?

    And since it’s my first, I’m glad you’re limiting your stalking to just this blog.

    Then it’s not actually stalking, or anything like stalking, now is it? In fact, it is no different from before. Maybe you should break the pills in half from now on.

    So, in response, I pledge this: I intend to continue to comment when and where the mood strikes me, in utter disregard for whether or not you’re there.

    Fine. If you post factually challenged comments here, I will feel free to respond. This, you see, is different from your proposal, where you would have me ignore them, likely because you dislike being shown to be such a lying hack.

    I will not make any sort of special accommodations for you and your ideas of “truth” and “lies,”

    FTFY

    but I will, every now and then, toss out a little “red meat” just to see if I can still make you dance like my little puppet.

    But don’t worry, I won’t abuse that. I’ll be most niggardly with my baiting.

    Niggardly? Really? That’s a real sad attempt there, chuckles. I’m not going near that tar baby.

  74. mantis says:

    I kinda think you should take the challenge J. but as ‘birther’ is somewhat ambiguously defined, at least as to who is one, I’m sure mantis will gladly first provide a list of everyone he considers is a birther sorted by degree or prominence. Its the least he can do.

    I’ve checked most of the birthers I’m familiar with to see if this week’s events changed anything for any of them. It didn’t.

    Here’s the term defined for the purposes of the challenge. A birther is one who has publicly and explicitly expressed doubts about President Obama’s birthplace, parentage, the veracity of the birth certificate released in June 2008, or Obama’s status as a citizen of the United States. The challenge is to see if any such birther has also publicly and explicitly said that the release of the so-called “long-form birth certificate” this week has eliminated those doubts (and no, “Fine. What took him so long?” doesn’t count.).

    After all, we have always been told that it would be so simple for him to make this all go away by releasing the long-form birth certificate. It’s been released. Let’s test that theory.

  75. mattb says:

    Jay-Tea,

    First of all, totally feel the pain of “breaking” the formatting.

    mattb, I gotta quibble with one aspect of your list there:
    3. Raised in an American Way

    My great point is exactly what is raised in an “American Way”? Is there a single way?

    As far as being unique among presidents, I actually would challenge you to find a “common” presidential childhood story. Seriously. And more so, how those childhoods compare against the supposed “American Citizen.”

    Again, my point is not that any on of those single points, taken in isolation is racist. But given the idea that they continuously appear in a cluster — both by people on this site and via commentators within the blogosphere and in right wing media — is the reasons for the call of racism.

    BTW, you can do the same thing with past liberal critiques of Republican presidents — clearly the constant message of the anti-GWB stuff was “illegitimate idiot.”

  76. Jay Tea says:

    I’ve checked most of the birthers I’m familiar with to see if this week’s events changed anything for any of them. It didn’t.

    But you’re not obsessed with the birther issue. You have a stable of birthers you routinely keep an eye on, checking up on them, and know them well enough to spot changes in their behavior, but you’re not obsessed. Gotcha.

    Here’s the term defined for the purposes of the challenge. A birther is one who has publicly and explicitly expressed doubts about President Obama’s birthplace, parentage, the veracity of the birth certificate released in June 2008, or Obama’s status as a citizen of the United States.

    It’d be convenient if you shared your list of birthers, as some of the rest of us are as not-obsessed with the issue to even know of one or two birthers we follow, but that would imply we had the least interest in indulging you in a folie a deux.

    As noted, the vast majority of attention to the birther issue comes from the left. CNN and MSNBC have given it tons of attention, compared to Fox — who just put out a devastating piece on the whole non-issue. In the blogosphere, Ace of Spades did his own savaging of the whole stupid mess, Hot Air wants nothing to do with the loonies, and I myself have publicly declared that it’s a load of crap and the idiots pushing it ought to be ashamed of themselves. Yeah, I’m not in the same strata as CNN and MSNBC or even Ace and HA, but I gotta toot my own horn a little.

    But here, Doug can’t seem to stop himself from writing about the birthers at every chance. It’s one of his Big Three. The day he hears about a poll that shows most Republicans think Sarah Palin is a birther, he just might explode with glee.

    The left loves the birthers. The left caters to them and showers them with attention and flatters them by saying that they represent the “mainstream” of the right. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the right wishes they’d just shut up and go away — but sighs and recognizes that even whackjobs have rights.

    J.

  77. jukeboxgrad says:

    WaTi:

    he has refused to release his college and law-school transcripts

    Everything anyone might actually need to know about Obama’s academic career is summarized here:

    In traditional academic terms, Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years.

    The source for that and more like that can be found here and here.

  78. jukeboxgrad says:

    jay tea:

    the vast majority of attention to the birther issue comes from the left.

    Birtherism is alive and well (proof). Let me know if you think any of those statements are “from the left.”

    I myself have publicly declared that it’s a load of crap and the idiots pushing it ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    Proof of your birtherism is here.

  79. jukeboxgrad says:

    One of the most influential figures in his life was Communist organizer and agitator Frank Marshall Davis. For the record, I’m not saying that any of that is in any way disqualifying for the presidency, but I can’t think of any other president who had so much non-American and (in Davis’ case) anti-American factors in his upbringing.

    According to WSJ, Obama “was largely reared by his maternal grandparents.” In particular, he was largely raised by Madelyn Dunham. Do you know anything about her? You can start here:

    Madelyn Dunham, Obama’s grandmother, blazed a feminist trail in Hawaii banking circles in the late 1960s and early 1970s and rose to become one of the Bank of Hawaii’s first female vice presidents.

    She joined the Bank in 1960, and she was there until she retired in 1986. Yup, being raised by a banking executive is definitely a sign of “anti-American factors in his upbringing.”

  80. mantis says:

    But you’re not obsessed with the birther issue. You have a stable of birthers you routinely keep an eye on, checking up on them, and know them well enough to spot changes in their behavior, but you’re not obsessed. Gotcha.

    I understand, and am heartened by the fact that you are embarrassed enough by your behavior to start serious efforts at deflection. However, you have to keep making shit up to do so. I never said anything about “routinely” keeping an eye on anyone. You may have noticed there was some big birther news lately, and thus a lot of people commented on it, including a great many birthers. I read blogs, and check in on Memeorandum several times a day. Folks at TPM, Dave Weigel, and others, do the real work of tracking what all these people say. I just read and follow links.

    It is amusing that you think it’s ridiculous or obsessive to read blogs and pay attention to facts. Aren’t you a blogger? Oh, I forgot, you’re the kind who hates facts.

    It’d be convenient if you shared your list of birthers, as some of the rest of us are as not-obsessed with the issue to even know of one or two birthers we follow, but that would imply we had the least interest in indulging you in a folie a deux.

    So you’d like me to do something for you that you admit you have no intention of looking at. Sure, I’ll get right on that, jackass!

    As noted, the vast majority of attention to the birther issue comes from the left.

    In your dreams, pal. It’s been a huge topic for rightwing talk radio for years and years. Just because CNN and MSNBC covered Donald Trump’s stupidity more than FOX means absolutely nothing, except that FOX recognized that too much of that silliness would hurt their brand, also known as the Republican Party.

    Meanwhile, the vast majority of the right wishes they’d just shut up and go away

    Prove it. Also, if you want us to believe you want a group to shut up and go away, it would be more convincing if you didn’t repeatedly spread their bullshit propaganda for your own purposes.

  81. mantis says:

    I guess no one wants to accept the challenge. Shocking.