One More Round for the Conspiracy Theorists

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 27 2011 12:02 PM

One More Round for the Conspiracy Theorists

There is, believe it or not, something of a mad dash to get quotes today from the discredited conspiracy theorists who originated the "birther" stuff in the first place. Suzy Khimm talked to Andy Martin , the perennial candidate and serial litigator whom I can't think of without thinking of this.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

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Martin... says that the birth certificate doesn't put to rest other questions about Obama's past and rise to power. Echoing Donald Trump's recent demands to see Obama's college grades, Martin said he wants to see the "admission files and the transcripts" of Obama’s college years. "The pressure for his college records is going to become relentless," he vows.

Martin says that he also has questions about Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour, whom fringe activists claim is a black Muslim nationalist who paid for Obama's law degree.

Of course, those are not issues that would disqualify Obama from the presidency, as the natural born "issue" threatened to. (It seemed to threaten that, at least, for the people in states introducing birther legislation.)

Byron Tau finds that Phil Berg and Orly Taitz , two of the first birther attorneys are similarly unmoved.

"I think the issue is that he's not any more natural born. I don't care if he releases his birth certificate or whatever," said Berg. "Let's see his records coming back through immigration."

Orly Taitz, once called 'Queen of the birthers' and who was responsible for a number of lawsuits, is verifying the document's authenticity and now believes that the president is using a false social security number.

"In Obama's Selective Service [document], his social security is listed as a Connecticut Social Security number," said Taitz, who has tried to have forgeries introduced into court filings before.

Taitz's 15 minutes of fame basically ended when she crashed and burned in a campaign for California Secretary of State. Berg's ended when he held a much-delayed, poorly attended rally in Washington about this "issue." It's tempting to ignore them again, and I'm certainly going to try. But the crazy, false stuff they said in 2008 and 2009 eventually found its way into the minds of some pundits and legislators, and a lot of voters. They're opinion leaders, in the loosest sense of the term.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.