Will The Birthers Kill Health Care Reform?

Bill Scher

The Weekly World News reports this week: “The official copy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate was stolen this week by Republicans wishing to halt his health care reform … A growing movement among conservatives known as ‘Birthers’ believes Barack Obama was actually born in Kenya and wants legislation passed requiring Presidents to provide an official copy of their birth certificate. Earlier this week a group of conservatives stole the Presidents birth certificate, and are now holding it ransom to stall talks on Health Care reform.”

Granted, the Weekly World News are the people that brought you “Bat Boy.” But they may not be that far off.

The Birther movement has received renewed attention in recent days, after video of a Birther-dominated congressional town hall surfaced, and CNN’s Lou Dobbs attempted to legitimize the conspiracy theory.

Less noticed is the propensity of Birthers to also believe the other conservative conspiracy theory: President Obama’s health care plan is a socialist takeover of our medical system.

The long-standing high-traffic conservative website World Net Daily regularly leads its front page with the latest Birther news, but that is directly followed by the latest “socialized medicine” news. (Well actually, sandwiched between the two sets of conspiracies are the all important “Special Offers!” — such as “Turn $200 investment into $1 million. Sound impossible?”)

Beneath its Birther fever swamp, World Net Daily offers the “Breaking News” that Congress plans mandatory “counseling” for seniors that will “attempt to convince seniors to die,” (the latest smear job from the discredited Betsy McCaughey) and the “Exclusive” that congressional members have exempted themselves from the public plan option (it’s so “exclusive” to WND becuase the opposite is true.)

And at that infamous town hall for (non-Birther) Rep. Michael Castle, the loud Birther crowd also gave cheers and applause to an audience member who ranted: “if we let the government bring in socialized medicine, it will destroy this thing faster than the twin towers came down.”

I am no fan of guilt-by-association attacks. Just because crazy or vile people embrace a particular position of yours, it does not mean you embrace all the crazy positions of them.

In turn, I do not contend that all opponents of the health care legislation pending in Congress are fringe conspiracy theorists. I’m sure many, probably most, opponents are simply ideologically opposed to any involvement by our government in solving our health care problems.

But I am suggesting that many the feverish folks who are burning up the phone lines of congressional offices, and ranting at town halls may well be of the Birther movement.

And Congress should not interpret such intense opposition as being reflective of the nation as a whole.

Representatives should recognize that these Birthers appear more inclined to raise their crazy voices than other citizens.

The best way to counter the possibility that Birthers are distorting the health care debate within the Beltway is to speak up yourself, and make sure that the polls showing big support for a public plan option are backed up with grassroots intensity.

Campaign for America’s Future has partnered with Health Care for America NOW! to make it easy to call Congress and do just that.

If you haven’t called Congress, you haven’t done all you could to pass health care reform. And you’re letting the Birthers run wild, unchecked.

UPDATE: Dobbs himself weaves together the birth certificate and health care issues on his radio show today. Following a clip of President Obama from his health care press conference, Dobbs railed (via Media Matters):

DOBBS: Where’s the American Medical Association? Why isn’t every doctor in this country outraged at such a statement by the president of the United States? You know, I just can’t figure out what’s going on.

You know, these — he’s speaking to an audience that — the only part of which that would respond to that kind of nonsense is the limp-minded, lily-livered lefties — who, by the way, are also attacking me in a concerted form, as I actually raise a question of this great president.

I mean, think of this. I actually had the temerity to inquire as to where the birth certificate was and why the president of the United States would not turn over that birth certificate to the national media and end the noise.

Comments