Two cranks don't make a right
Not long after my post on the persistence of birtherism became available today, a couple of predictable comments surfaced.
One, a comment on the post itself, said:
John, you already had the argument already won on its merits; why play the shopworn race card? It's getting old to say that anyone who questions anything about Obama is a racist . Even when you're talking about truthers.
Besides, given the large plurality of Democrats with a psychotic belief in 9/11 conspiracy theories, may I suggest that those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones?
Another, on Twitter, said:
As have 9/11 truthers and Trig Palin truthers.
I’m going to suggest a little something about proportion.
I had never heard the crank theory that George W. Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks until people started saying, “Well, all right about the birthers, but what about the rumor-mongering on the left?” Maybe I had let my lefty-Bolshie newsletter subscription lapse, but I never saw that that stuff got any particular currency.
Similarly, I was aware of only faint and scattered mentions of the canard that Sarah Palin was not really the mother of Trig. And when I did come across it, I thought it was reprehensible. Surely there is enough about Sarah Palin to criticize without dragging an inoffensive child into manufactured scandals.
The same with the second President Bush. It’s hardly necessary to go out of the way to find fault.
The thing is, the Bush 9/11 and Trig Palin rumors are like the other fringe conspiracy theories. They are out there, but they get no traction because sane, intelligent people pay no attention to them. The birther snake oil has gone mainstream. Prominent people—and I don’t mean that mountebank Donald Trump—have given it public credence.
So I’ll tell you what: When you can demonstrate that, say, half of the Democrats in America believe that George Bush was behind the September 11 attacks, or that Trig Palin is not Sarah Palin’s son, or that major figures in the Democratic Party have gone out of their way to give voice to the nonsense, then I will concede that I’ve gone overboard about the birthers.