Birtherism Ain't Dead

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 28 2011 9:08 AM

Birtherism Ain't Dead

I tried, really I tried, to wrap up the history of birtherism and bury it as deep as I could. That's the subject of my new, long piece today.

This was the first Era of Birtherism in which Obama's staff had to field regular questions about an issue they knew was baseless. And this was why it came to an end today. The next era of Obama conspiracies starts with the president in a much more exposed position. Now, conspiracy theorists know that all kinds of people will listen to them if they toss an idea out there—even if the idea is proved to be baseless. Now, Democrats are on the lookout for the next big fantasy, and Republicans think they've found an Obama weakness. Why, after all, would he climb down to the gutter and duel with Donald Trump if the issue wasn't hurting him? What else is bubbling up on the Internet ? What else can get under his skin?

Advertisement

The new Survey USA poll definitely suggests that birtherism has evolved, not ended. Only 14 percent of people tell the pollsters that "they had doubts, but now are satisfied that the President was born in the USA." And 10 percent of people -- 18 percent of Republicans -- say the document is a forgery.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Sports Show by and About Women

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Crime
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.