The Corner

Birthers v. Truthers, Again

As I wrote last year, I find it amazing that the “Birthers” are considered more dangerous and evil than the “Truthers.” The Birthers believe that an ambitious man who travelled a lot as a kid has concealed the circumstances of his birth so he could be eligible for the presidency. I don’t think they’ve made their case. And, frankly, I’m not sure I’d want them to at this point. Aside from the horror of a Biden presidency, I for one don’t yearn for a constitutional crisis. And while I am sure there are more elaborate and crazier versions of Birtherism, the basic allegation isn’t that crazy, at least in the abstract.

Now, Trutherism, on the other hand, is a really insidious and evil claim: that the White House was “in” on 9/11 and that it either passively or actively aided and abetted the murder of 3,000 Americans and the attempted murder of tens of thousands more (surely the hijackers hoped to kill far more people inside the World Trade Towers). Indeed, the upshot of Trutherism is that “the government” sought to kill countless congressmen and effectively incapacitate the legislative branch and our military leadership indefinitely. Depending on which version of Trutherism you buy into, you’d have to believe dozens or even thousands of government agents were in on the whole thing, too. Moreover, if this had been proven true, the only moral, legal, or rational response would have been not just impeachment and criminal prosecution, but literally the formal executions of the president, the vice president, and much of the national-security establishment. They’d all have to hang.

And yet, “Birtherism” is dangerous and paranoid and “Trutherism” is quirky and no big deal, according to liberals.

Here’s the New York Times on the Truthers (if you can’t get through the firewall, here’s the Newsbusters synopsis). The Times called them “a society of skeptics and scientists who believe the government was complicit in the terrorist attacks.” Skeptics and scientists! No wonder even the Truthers hailed it as favorable coverage.

And here is the latest on the Birthers from last Friday’s New York Times. In fairness, the Times doesn’t call them racists or dangerous — I guess they leave that to Frank Rich & Co. — but it is quite fed up with them. The piece is all about how the Birthers have become an outright nuisance to state officials in Hawaii. Here’s the opening:

HONOLULU — The conspiracy theorists who cling to the false belief that President Obama was born outside the United States outrage many Democrats and embarrass many Republicans. But to a group of Hawaii state workers who toil away in a long building across from the Capitol, they represent something else: a headache and a waste of time.

If only the Times could have been this dismissive of the Truthers. I guess they never created any bureaucratic-paperwork hassles for government officials, so they’re okay.

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