Birther Control

By Bill Maher

Chris Matthews dressed down RNC Chair Reince Priebus last week for Romney's playing the race card with the birther joke, and the party doing it with the false welfare ads, constantly bringing up that he's a "European-style socialist," etc. At first, Priebus didn't have much of a response at all, because he knows it's true. By the end, he just seemed contemptuous of Matthews, but had no legitimate defense.

But Tom Brokaw chimed in that he disagreed with Chris, and thought it was just an "awkward joke," adding that Republican leaders should have corrected the record when people started calling Obama a Muslim and a socialist, but "both sides" do it. Bullshit. Half of Democrats don't believe Romney was born in a foreign country. On another planet, maybe, but not a foreign country. That was the whole point of Romney's "joke," wasn't it? "Nobody's ever asked to see my birth certificate" -- yeah, because you're a white guy, you dipshit, and you're not the victim of that kind of racism. When people say he can't empathize with ordinary people, that's part of what they mean.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has an amazing essay in this month's Atlantic called, "Fear of a Black President." He writes, "Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others. Black America ever lives under that skeptical eye." True dat.

The first time I ever saw Obama’s citizenship questioned was in a chain email well before the 2008 election. I thought, "Wow, this is obviously racist," and dismissed it as a fringe rumor that would end with white supremacists. How did it grow to the point where half of Republican primary voters believed it? It wasn’t just the silence of Republican leaders, it was the failure of people like Tom Brokaw to just dismiss it as racism from the beginning. People like him are always championing "balance" over objectivity. They have to bring everything back to a discussion about how "both sides" are guilty, instead of doing his job as a referee. If every single journalist just simply labeled birtherism what it obviously is -- racism -- the cancer wouldn't have infected half the party. Maybe 25% or so, but most would be like, "Okay, this isn't socially respectable."

Every journalist knows it comes from a racist place, so why can't they all be as no-bullshit about it as Chris Matthews?