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Is Sarah Palin a Birther? No, But the Left Wishes She Was

December 4, 2009

Is she a crackpot conspiracist? Only in the Left's dreams.

You know that this snippet from an interview which Sarah Palin gave to a talk radio host had to have sent tingles up the legs of every leftist polemicist (like those at Salon) who heard it:

HUMPHRIES: Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?

PALIN: Um, I think the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think enough members of the electorate still want answers.

HUMPHRIES: Do you think it’s a fair question to be looking at?

PALIN: I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past associations, past voting records, all of that is fair game. You know, I gotta tell you, too, I think our campaign, the McCain-Palin campaign, didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We didn’t call out Obama and some of his associates on their records and what their beliefs were, and perhaps what their future plans were, and I don’t think that was fair to voters, to not have done our jobs as candidates and as a campaign to bring to light a lot of things that now we’re seeing made manifest in the administration.

HUMPHRIES: I mean, truly, if your past is fair game and your kids are fair game, certainly Obama’s past should be. I mean, we want to treat men and women equally, right?

PALIN: Hey, you know, that’s a great point. That weird conspiracy theory freaky thing that people talk about, that Trig isn’t my real son, a lot of people say, “Well, you need to produce his birth certificate, you need to prove that he’s your kid,” which we have done, but yeah, so maybe we should reverse that and use the same type of thinking on the other one.

[Emphasis added on particularly troublesome statements.]

This was enough for Salon to pronounce Palin a birther. And honestly I don’t blame them for it based on the interview alone.

But is Palin really part of the cult of crackpot conspiracists who know for certain that President Obama was born in Kenya or, is at the very least, “hiding his birth certificate”?

Palin clarified on her Facebook page:

Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask… which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.

(Hat tip to Hot Air.)

So, no, Palin is not a birther. She was just caught off guard in an interview and chose her words poorly.

(Andrew Sullivan, who has predictably picked up on the story is apparently unaware of Palin’s Facebook clarification of her anti-birther position. Watch for how long it takes for him to come up with some creative explanation for why Palin actually still is a birther in spite of it.)

But the point remains: nothing would make the Left happier than to see Palin as a birther. Why? Because it would be the end of her political career. She would immediately be neutralized as a serious fighter against their agendas. Everything she said could then be dismissed, “Oh what does she know? She’s so nutty she thinks Obama was born in Kenya!” She would never be able to develop the centrist and independent support she needs to be a viable political force. She could never be a Reagan, forging an effective alliance of the Right and the independent center.

And that is why serious conservatives concerned about the Left’s agenda need to have a no-tolerance attitude toward birtherism. If allowed to thrive it will only continue to undermine the Conservative movement and allow the Left more power. It can only be announced for what it is: poisonous crackpot conspiracism.

Update 12/5/09, 4:25 PM EST: This post was mentioned and linked at Progressive Alaska and then reprinted at Andrew Sullivan’s blog. The Progressive Alaska blog had two lies about this post and one pathetic typo which was correct in the Daily Dish reprint:

David Horowitx, excoriating Sullivan, fails to mention Palin’s lie.

First, Horowitz didn’t write this post, I did. My byline is at the top and anyone who has ever read a Horowitz article would not mistake my writing for his. Second, as can be seen clearly above, I in no way “excoriated” Sullivan by predicting what has in fact happened. Palin has clarified her poorly chosen words to demonstrate conclusively that she is not a birther. She does not believe Obama is ineligible to be president and does not support the Birther Movement’s efforts. Yet Sullivan shoulders on with the Palin-is-a-Birther meme because he detests her so much.

Sorry, Progressive Alaska, for not “mentioning Palin’s lie.” I’m not really concerned with refuting the crackpot “Trig Birtherism” conspiracy theories. Just as leftists hope that the Birther conspiracy continues to exist to dog the Right, I fully endorse Sullivan’s efforts to keep Trig Birtherism alive. By all means, please continue to pursue this, Andrew.

  1. BlackRepublican permalink
    December 4, 2009 11:59 am

    She is blowing the dog whistle of racial politics very loudly here.

    As a Black conservative, I am saddened to see her promote racialist views. I hope she provides greater clarification; she has done a disservice to all children of immigrants.

    The GOP is losing me to the far right fringe more and more. They must distance themselves from Palin if they want any chance of regaining their standing as colorblind public servants, a la Ronald Reagan.

    • Michael van der Galien permalink
      December 4, 2009 5:07 pm

      Eh, what? Where in the name of Infinite Intelligence do you hear a “dog whistle”? Paranoid, much?

      • David Forsmark permalink
        December 4, 2009 6:51 pm

        I think this post may actually be Kathleen Parker. LOL.

        • Michael van der Galien permalink
          December 5, 2009 7:02 am

          LOL that explains it.

  2. Marylou permalink
    December 4, 2009 12:58 pm

    I think a lot of the conspiracy ideas are quite fascinating but….they won’t fly with the general electorate and they do make us look like crackpots. Therefore, we need to focus on actual issues which involve our daily well-being: national security, economic issues, things like that, things that appear as if we are trying to address the issues that concern us all.

    This was a concern I had with tea-party goers. Many of the signs, though clever and we know (maybe) what the point was, they were often really odd in the eyes of the electorate.

    What are we trying to do? Express ourselves, yes. Produce change!! more so. I think it is well to consider the impression we are making and keep our crackpot, unproven ideas on the back burner, as they can produce little in the way of constructive progress for our cause.

  3. Cynthia Thornburg permalink
    December 4, 2009 1:48 pm

    I see absolutely nothing wrong OR controversial in what she said. People who are asking questions do not need to be labeled. That’s a tactic that is below you, Mr. Swindle.

    • December 4, 2009 1:59 pm

      “Birthers” are not just “asking questions.” They are promoting conspiracies and sabotaging the Conservative Movement. Those who were “asking questions” about whether Obama was a natural born citizen or not have had plenty of ample evidence to demonstrate that he is and are no longer “asking questions.”

      The only people who are still “asking questions” are those possessed of the crackpot conspiracist mentality.

      • December 4, 2009 3:33 pm

        So why won’t Obama release his full birth certificate? The logical conclusion is that there is something on it that he doesn’t want people to know about. Why does asking him to release it make someone a crackpot conspiracy theorist. That’s absurd. If his full birth certificate doesn’t show anything that would invalidate his presidency then perhaps it shows something that would damage it. Perhaps his full birth certificate shows his religion as Muslim. That’s not an unreasonable inference. His father and his step-father were both Muslim. If he was adopted by his Indonesian step-father then his religion would be recorded as Muslim.

        But the bottom line is that John McCain produced his full birth certificate to silence doubters so why won’t Obama do the same?

        • December 4, 2009 5:00 pm

          My NewsReal colleague Calvin Freiburger has a great explanation for why Obama hasn’t released whatever “long form birth certificate” the birthers are whining for

          When the house of cards all but collapses, the Birthers play their trump: “All Obama would have to do to satisfy us is release his original birth certificate. Why doesn’t he? That proves he’s hiding something!” Hawkins gives the answer, which should be obvious:

          Well, why would he at this point? He has a significant number of conservatives wasting enormous amounts of time on a side issue that can never bear any fruit and, as an added bonus, it makes them look somewhat unhinged to many Americans. When your political enemies are making fools of themselves, why stop them?

          Heck, that’s what I’d do in this situation if I were Obama! The Birthers undermine the Right’s credentials on honesty, intellectual rigor, and moral seriousness, which we need to maintain if we are to stand up to the Left’s real lies.

          • Brad permalink
            December 5, 2009 7:49 am

            David, you talk about: “a significant number of conservatives wasting enormous amounts of time on a side issue.”

            Aren’t you the one who started this conversation with this article?

            Didn’t you start another conversation yesterday with your post “From the Pen of David Horowitz: December 5, 2009 Dec 05, 2009 06:49 am | David Swindle?”

            If it’s such a waste of time, why do you keep bringing it up?

            • December 5, 2009 8:02 am

              I didn’t bring it up without cause. The Left is trying to marginalize Sarah Palin by painting her as a birther. I blogged in her defense and chose that DH quote of the day because efforts are still underway to use the Birther issue to attack the Conservative Movement. It made sense to put DH’s denunciation of the movement front and center since new energies are being devoted (by people like Sullivan) to claim that Birtherism is now the mainstream position of conservatives. This needs to be fought.

              • Brad permalink
                December 5, 2009 8:28 am

                Are you sure that you know the “mainstream position of conservatives?”

                Do you think your views are mainstream for the entire Conservative movement, or, more accurately, mainstream to those with whom you most associate?

                Based upon this sampling of comments and the sampling of comments in the other article, there may be more who doubt than you want to believe?

                • December 5, 2009 8:40 am

                  Yes, Birtherism remains a minority among conservatives and has very little support among conservative pundits. Look at any poll and you’ll see.

                  • Brad permalink
                    December 5, 2009 8:53 am

                    I’d like to see some polls.

                    Would you happen to have the links to any?

                  • December 5, 2009 9:09 am

                    I do. But if you’re curious why don’t you just google “polls obama birth” and find them instead of demanding that I do it for you.

      • Cynthia Thornburg permalink
        December 4, 2009 4:31 pm

        I am asking questions! Am I to assume you are “calling” me a crack pot? Are you also saying that everyone at the American Center for Law and Justice is a crack pot? Where are ANY of his papers? Why has no one been allowed to look at ANY records of Mr. Obama from ANYWHERE? Why has he spent so much money (estimated to be hundred of thousands of dollars), and fought so long and so hard to keep his past totally secret? Did you know how he got elected as a Senator from Illinois? Maybe you would understand why the folks in Illinois don’t trust him as far as we can throw him.

        • December 4, 2009 5:06 pm

          I haven’t said anything about you Cynthia.

          However, those who know that Obama was born in Kenya are generally possessed of the crackpot conspiracist mentality. I’d encourage you to read my series in which I explain this irrational mindset:

          I have no problem calling people crackpots when they embrace crackpot conspiracy theories.

          • Michael van der Galien permalink
            December 4, 2009 5:10 pm

            LOL! That’s da comment of da day, imo.

          • Cynthia Thornburg permalink
            December 4, 2009 5:34 pm

            Even though you have been reduced to the exact same tactics I find reprehensible (I never mentioned you but I still call people names) in close-minded liberal rants. : Ok! So I waded through much of your irrational mindset series. I found that your elitist attitude got you beat up pretty badly there. I think you need to tone it down a bit on throwing all us babies out with the bathwater. You are sounding very mush like the drive by limousine liberals. Condescending remarks are no way to make friends. Your drivel on “experts” is also a load of malarkey.

            • December 4, 2009 5:42 pm

              Cynthia do you consider people who believe the earth to be flat to be “crackpots”?

              • Cynthia Thornburg permalink
                December 4, 2009 7:10 pm

                No, just marching to the tune of a different drummer. At one time the “experts” all believed precisely exactly that. What is your point?

                • December 5, 2009 6:11 am

                  What about people who deny the Holocaust? What about people who think that blacks and Jews are “subhuman”?

                  Are those ideas “crackpot”? Or are they just “marching to the beat of their own drummer”?

                  Furthermore if you read the dictionary definition of “crackpot” you’ll see that I’m not using it incorrectly.

                  My point is this: Not all ideas are created equal. Not all ideas are formed with the proper mental processes. Conspiracy ideas (which are pretty easy to identify when you’re as familiar with conspiracy literature as I am) can’t be engaged in the same fashion as other intellectual ideas. They weren’t arrived at rationally so they cannot be engaged rationally. They can only be debunked to the degree which satisfies most rational, thinking people (and birtherism has) and then proponents of the conspiracy dismissed from intellectual discussion. Because what was not reasoned in cannot be reasoned out. And those who still cling to birtherism are not doing so out of reason.

                  And so labeling something as “crackpot” is a dismissive gesture indicating that it’s a marginal idea which has been debunked and is advocated by those who are not thinking properly.

                  • Hobie permalink
                    December 5, 2009 11:24 pm

                    Though I probably wouldn’t agree with you on very much at all, I do appreciate your use of logic and reason on this issue.

                    I’m glad to see that some conservatives are free to think their own thoughts. For a long time I was unconvinced that this was possible. Now, if you’d only agree with me, we’d be in business.

                    I won’t hold my breath! 😉

                • Michael van der Galien permalink
                  December 5, 2009 7:04 am

                  So wait. You don’t consider them crackpots? People who think earth is flat. Seriously.

        • JE Tabler permalink
          December 4, 2009 6:52 pm

          I’m with you. We wouldn’t even be asking question if the press or Congress did their respective jobs.

          Some of us think he was born in Hawaii to two American parents and he’s just lying about who his father is, since he and his children look exactly like Frank Marshall Davis and all.

          • December 5, 2009 7:21 am

            If you think that Obama is in fact eligible to be president and he was born in Hawaii then you aren’t really a “birther.”

            • JE Tabler permalink
              December 5, 2009 10:34 am

              Not strictly speaking, no, but he attended public school in Indonesia, so he was almost certainly adopted by his stepfather -whose last name he took – at a time when dual citizenship between the two countries was not an option. Plus, possessing an Indonesian (or non-American) passport would be the only way he could have gone to Pakistan in 1981.

              Remember that the only guy who could have testified about that was murdered last spring and the murder was never solved.

              Maybe he re-applied for American citizenship when he married Michelle and maybe that’s perfectly legal, since I think he was probably at one time a natural-born citizen, but I still have questions and he’s still spending a lot of money not to answer them.

  4. Monte permalink
    December 4, 2009 1:48 pm

    BlackRepublican, I don’t get it. I didn’t see “black” or “white” in there anywhere. Where do you get the “racist” business? If you’re in love with Obama because he is a black child of an immigrant, then your persuasion comes into question. I read Sarah’s book. There’s no hint of racism anywhere. What there is, is genuine concern for the welfare of Americans, not just Republicans or Democrats or white or black or yellow or brown.

    • BlackRepublican permalink
      December 5, 2009 12:32 am

      I think she is appealing to racialist attitudes, whether you want to admit it or not.

      • Michael van der Galien permalink
        December 5, 2009 7:05 am

        You have serious issues.

        • BlackRepublican permalink
          December 5, 2009 1:02 pm

          Poor defense of dog whistle politics, my dear.

  5. JE Tabler permalink
    December 4, 2009 3:03 pm

    Sadly, her desire to simply know the truth really only makes her a better journalist than most professional journalists. And she’s not a journalist.

    • JE Tabler permalink
      December 5, 2009 10:35 am

      Dang it. I just remembered that she was a sports reporter. Duh.

  6. KYATL permalink
    December 4, 2009 5:17 pm

    As for the comments Sara Palin made, she did not say that she herself was a “birther”. She was defending the rights of any American to ask questions that are important to them. During the election it became politically incorrect to question anything about Obama or his past associations. That was a bad mistake because so much was withheld from the public that influenced their decision making process. If it was fair game to dig up every possible item or issue from her past, why was Obama allowed such a pass? Double standard? Of course!

  7. RGG permalink
    December 4, 2009 6:14 pm

    “She was just caught off guard in an interview and chose her words poorly.”

    That does seem to happen a lot to her.

    And while she may or may not be a birther that’s besides the point. She’s pandering to them.

    Also, it’s not only those on the left who are giddy at the prospect of her being a Birther, but some on the right, too. As this blog post by frequent Frontpage guest Pamela Geller demonstrates:

  8. Mark in Everett permalink
    December 5, 2009 12:40 pm


    Why didn’t you write about her statements regarding Trig’s birth cert being released when that’s a provable lie? Isn’t that the news here? Re the birther nonsense no one’s surprised when she panders to her base. I’m more interested in Mrs. Palin’s seemingly pathologitical inability to not lie every time she’s interviewed. Those in the comments here saying Obama hasn’t provided his birth cert haven’t been paying attention; he has and he is most certainly a natural born citizen – accept it. So where’s Trig’s? Why won’t Mrs. Palin provide that and simply put this to rest like Pres. Obama has? She’s been politely asked to provide it and other medical records since August 2008. Why are you and so many on the right giving her a pass on so many things? You all could do so much better than Mrs. Palin. But hey, for many of us on the left she’s the gift that keeps on giving!


    • Rogert permalink
      December 5, 2009 1:32 pm

      Let’s face it…he is NOT a U.S. citizen! He’s a Chicago politician. That’s a whole ‘nother country.

    • Rogert permalink
      December 5, 2009 1:46 pm

      And while we’re at it; why does the left attack the right so much fro daring to question them? When they demanded that “W” produce his military records…he did! When the right responded by ASKING that John Kerry produce HIS military records…he refused! Once again…the left hypocritically demands something but refuses to respond in kind!
      I would defy anyone to produce ANY evidence that I am a racist in any way shape or form, but I am sick and tired of any opposition to BO being classified as racist. Let’s face it; that accusation is, in itself, become racist…and is most illuminating on the accusers.
      I am completely against prejudice…in ANY form or direction! And I can provide witnesses!!!

  9. JustSayin permalink
    December 5, 2009 3:47 pm

    But what about the LIE? When, where did she provide all that? It was a lie. Make it NOT A LIE by showing Andrew WHEN or WHERE Palin provided the information on Trig.

    “Hey, you know, that’s a great point, in that weird conspiracy-theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn’t my real son. And a lot of people say, “Well you need to produce his birth certificate! You need to prove that he’s your kid!” Which we have done.” Sarah Palin, 12/04/2009

    Come on. Make a liar out of Andrew or out of Palin. One of them is lying. Which one? Produce the evidence of ANY kind, just as Andrew asked for.

    • Hobie permalink
      December 5, 2009 11:42 pm

      Palin says: “Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask… which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.”

      This statement is very slippery. She states that questions were raised as to Trig’s parentage, that “Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask.” So, she slants against those asking questions, which I suppose is fair. But, she never states that she answered their queries, which she didn’t.

      Rather, she changes the statement to a positive, asserting that she never asked Obama for a birth certificate. She’s not a birther, she’s not a conspiracy theorist. Bully for her.

      Ending on a positive like this tends to sway a person from considering the earlier vapid statements. They are unresolved and become positives as well. That is, she conflates one birth certificate issue with the other. This is slimy rhetoric, but evidently it’s effective.

      The author here attempts to do the same as Palin. He sidesteps the Trig birth certificate issue by stating that Palin isn’t a “birther,” which is true, but doesn’t answer the question of Trig’s birth certificate. Sorry, but you can’t get these two birds with one stone. Palin must answer her own set of birth certificate queries separate of any unrelated issue regarding President Obama.

      Just because she’s “innocent” of one birth certificate issue does not exonerate her from the other.

      If she were to answer Andrew Sullivan’s interrogatories with adequate documentation and candor and he persisted in hounding the issue, we might then question whether Mr. Sullivan has a legitimate beef or whether he is a conspiracy theorist.

      Yet, she refuses to answer his questions, just as she refused to answer similar questions put to her by the Anchorage newspaper. They were even on her side, trying to put the whole matter to rest. She dismissed them.

      To quote (or paraphrase) a great orator: “fool me once, shame on … shame on you. It fool me. We can’t get fooled again.”

  10. lizblaine permalink
    December 5, 2009 6:52 pm

    Well, isn’t that special…the birthers are on the offensive. They’ve had ample time to produce proof supporting their accusations, yet continue to denegrate the Conservative movement by their endless conspiratorial theories about President Obama’s citizenship status. Perhaps Alex Jones will devise a new conspiracy theory they can follow for the next three years.

  11. David permalink
    December 5, 2009 7:10 pm

    I’m not really in the habit of stirring the pot, especially when it’s already swirling, but, Mark in Everest is right. What about the fact no one has really addressed the “lie” that Sullivan was talking about?

    Did Sarah Palin say that they released Trig’s Birth Certificate?
    Was that false?
    If so, can you really spin that as “being caught off guard”?


  1. From the Pen of David Horowitz: December 5, 2009 « NewsReal Blog
  2. Progressive Alaska Lies about NewsReal, Andrew Sullivan Reprints; Surprise Bonus: The Revival of Trig Birtherism to Disgrace the Left « NewsReal Blog

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