25 October 2011
Idiot of the Week Nominee: Birtherism is Fun
It may be unfair to call Rick Perry an idiot for a moment of honesty, but when he admitted, despite not considering the question of the President's birthplace a serious issue, that it was "fun" to "poke" at him about it he most likely achieved a feat only an idiot could manage. In one utterance, he's probably managed to alienate both a multitude of mainstream people and the hard-core birthers for whom, we sadly presume, the birthplace question is a matter of grave national urgency. At the same time, he's probably exposed the gratuitous spitefulness that keeps the question alive. Gov. Perry has really just said that it doesn't matter whether the birthplace and birth-certificate questions are closed or not, as long as sport can be had by continuing the question the President's nativity, citizenship and entitlement to his job. We may assume that the madmen of the Republican right attack Barack Obama because they sincerely and insanely consider him a threat to republican institutions, and we should be able to dismiss many of these people as the madmen they are. But Perry has confessed that some Republicans, and probably others even further to the right, attack the President and raise ludicrous charges against him simply because they enjoy doing so, because they get the same thrill, presumably, that an internet troll gets as he reads the responses to his comments. It may indeed be unfair to call that attitude idiotic. Given the consequences for the national temper of birther trollism, those who continue to indulge in it , as opposed to the merely weaselly Perry, might well be called evil.