Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A comedy of political errors

The White House has "released" (you'll see why I put that word in scare quotes when you follow the link) the long form of his birth certificate. Donald Trump immediately took credit for "hav[ing] played such a big role in hopefully getting rid of this issue." The CSM gives the win to Trump, saying, "In politics, anytime you force an opponent to react to you, as opposed to talk about what they want to talk about, you’ve often scored a point."

The CSM is right, but it overlooks one important point: this will not get rid of the issue. It will only fan the flames higher. There is a reason that conspiracy theories have "conspiracy" as a prominent part of their name. They are impervious to facts because "facts" can be manufactured. You don't even have to try very hard to concoct a birther-friendly explanation of the alleged long-form birth certificate. For starters, the White House did not release the document in a sane format, like an image of a PDF. They "released" it as an Adobe Flash file. So you can't look at the whole document, you can only peer at it through a teeny weeny little window. Yes, you can zoom in and out and pan around, but if you zoom in far enough to be able to read the text you can only see a tiny part of the document. Why did they do this? Obviously there can only be one "reasonable" explanation: the White House is desperately trying to conceal the fact that the document is a forgery.

So yes, Trump scored a point by making the President react. But then he conceded the game by implicitly accepting the document as legitimate! You can't have it both ways. Either you're playing for the loons or you aren't. Switching horses in mid-stream is political suicide. Trump already lost all the sane people when he signed on as a birther in the first place, but now he will lose the birthers too because he's become part of the conspiracy!

This is Trump's greatest weakness: he can't stop himself from gloating over a victory. It just cost him the White House.

[Update] Turns out they released it as a PDF too. But of course that won't matter either, they'll just come up with some other story.

1 comment:

Dennis Gorelik said...

Birthers are more fun to discuss than boring budget issues.