this inaugural edition of LogoPhere's exclusive Hump-election Flame-outs
want to have a closer look at the present did-she-or-didn't-she sideshow: Donald
Trump's claim that the Obama birtherism fiasco was a political stunt by
Hiliary Clinton and/or her campaign that was launched as a preemptive, ad
hominem attack on Obama when she was diving in the polls of the 2008
So let's clear this nonsense up once and
for all. And the best way to do that is with Socrates' good ole'
FAQWAT (frequently asked questions with answers thereto) technique.
Given how's LogoPhere is pretty much a
gratuitously pedantic farce, do you have a recent authoritative summary
of the present status of this "controversy?"
Yes, of course. Do you think I'm
makin' this stuff up? Here's Kyle Cheney's Sep16|16 Politico
piece titled No, Clinton didn't start the birther thing. This
Is there any evidence of Hillary
herself stoking this birther BS?
It depends on what your definition of
My definition of "stoking" includes
keeping your mouth shut when you should be standing up and calling
bullspit "bullspit." That's why I'd answer this one "Definitely."
If you read closely all of the
foaming-at-the-mouth MSM and blogosphere articles, including Cheney's,
they say there is no evidence that Hilton or her campaign had anything to
do with this. But the absence of evidence is not proof of the
absence of the thing itself. Look closely, no one seems to be saying that
there is any proof that Hilton was not involved or did not
promote the birther meme.
What would such proof look like, you
ask. It's proving a negative. Very simple, if Hilton had come
out in 2008 and taken this issue on publicly and told the public that the
allegations are ad hominem bullspit, today we would be in a strong
position to conclude that she had nothing to do with it. But she
didn't, and we aren't. Writer's like Cheney and HuffPo's
Paige Lavender are spinning this thing for Hilton by neglecting to
tell their readers that Hilton never complained about the birther story;
consequently, Trump may be closer to the truth than Hilton is.
Whilst I can find no
birther claims attributed to Hilton, neither can I find a single statement
by Hilton during the 2008 primary saying, in effect, "This is
nonsense." That's what an honest and ethical politician (ha,
ha, ha, x10) would have done if someone was screwing with the political
system by spreading lies. Recall that at the time Obama was beating
the pants-suit off of Hilton and she was diving in the polls, so the
possibility certainly exists that she would do whatever was necessary to
turn the tide of history around. Consequently, one could conclude
not standing up and doing the right thing, she was being
self-serving and expedient. In her silence, she was the one who exploited the whole
issue and gained more than anyone else from it. It's a cui bono
sort of situation.
I would also note that in 2011 it was no
longer expedient or self-serving for the then Secretary of State to keep
silent on the matter; after all, someday she might need Obama's support.
So after the Duck attacked Obama's citizenship in 2011, both Hilton and Bilton came out with lines about how
disgusting the attack on Obama was. Anyone
who went to grade school knows that the one who farts is the first to
start pointing at others.
Was Clinton's campaign involved in
starting or spreading the birther attack?
Depends on what your definition of
First ya' gotta' recognize that this has
all the markings and smell of a
classical Rove-style dirty trick; consequently, one has to look closely at
whomever was going to benefit the most from it: Hilton & Co.
Second, there are no denials of the
fact that Hilton "supporters" were spouting this nonsense --
that's even admitted by Hilton's own people, like the HuffPo.
Undoubtedly, they are worried about what Emails may be out there and they
are not willing to take the risk of denying it. One more serious slip for
Hilton and she's gone.
And so, given these two indisputable facts,
it doesn't exactly take a troubled imagination to connect them. If
Hilton's "supporters" gave this nasty rumor legs, then the
campaign is the first place I'd look to find the source of the
rumor. It sure as hell wasn't the Obama campaign. Moreover,
one would have to look at who those particular "supporters"
were. "Supporter" includes individual members of a
campaign, for a campaign, almost by definition, is comprised of
And there are plenty of smoking guns here,
which is why this new version of the birther fiasco has legs of its own.
For instance, smoking gun #1 is what Patti
Solis Doyle, who was Hilton's campaign manager in 2008, told
So we ó absolutely, the campaign nor Hillary did not start the
Birther movement, period, end of story there. There was a volunteer
coordinator, I believe, in late 2007, I believe, in December, one of our
volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa ó I donít
recall whether they were an actual paid staffer, but they did forward an
email that promoted the conspiracy. [Bold
OK, let's check this. Eight years after the
fact, Doyle recalls that the only person she identifies as floating this birther
claim was one of
Hilton's volunteer coordinators; she remembers that person was in Iowa; she
remembers they were working at the county level. But Doyle
conveniently forgets whether they were paid, which to my mind amounts to
an admission that they were, given the principle that a selective memory
equals guilt when the bits "forgotten" would be harmful to the
forgetter while the bits remember would not. Either way, we've got one
Hilton-staffer sending a birther Email. To whom and to how
many? And how many of them passed it on?
The second smoking gun is Mark Penn
, who was Hilton's chief strategy guy in the 2008 campaign. MSNBC
Penn's advice was to throw Obama's "American roots" into
question -- man, I mean how tight could the circumstantial evidence
get? Ya' got the tricks and stunts advisor saying throw Obama's
roots into question and ya' got a staffer sending birther Emails. Well, the timeline makes it
If Penn's advice came after Hilton's
birther supporters got going, then it would be irrelevant to this
issue. But, no . . . it came in an early strategy memo during the planning
stages of the campaign. In 2008 Joshua Green writing for The
Atlantic dated the memo as Mar19|07, more than a year before the
Hilton staffers started passing the birther Email around. You can read
at The Atlantic. Here is Green's lede:
Penn Strategy Memo, March 19, 2007: More
than anything else, this memo captures the full essence of Mark Penn's
campaign strategy--its brilliance and its breathtaking attacks. Penn
identified with impressive specificity the very coalition of women and
blue-collar workers that Clinton ended up winning a year later. But he
also called Obama "unelectable except perhaps against Attila the
Hun," and wrote, "I cannot imagine America electing a
president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally
American in his thinking and in his values." Penn proposed
targeting Obama's "lack of American roots."
Contemplate this: this nematode advisor to
Hilton's losing campaign predicted that Obama was unelectable and then
went on to set up a polling firm. Why would anybody listen to him after
proving himself capable of going so far off the mark that he ended up in
But the point is that in this memo we have hard
documentary evidence that compliments Doyle's admission that the Hilton
campaign was, if not the originator, then at least an early promoter of
the birther movement.
Third and final smoking gun, at least for
now: Sidney Blumenthal, who is Hilton's spooky best (male) bud who
got her into a heap 'o trouble when Gufficer hacked his Email
James Asher is a former editor of
McClatchy DC's bureau. He claims that Blumenthal raised the birther claims
with the newspaper in 2008, and McClatchy has backed up Asher's
assertions. They say they actually sent a reporter to Kenya to see
what the hell was going on. The reporter returned with no story.
But this places the birther story not just
in the out-box of some Iowian "supporter's" Email client, but in
the hands of a top Hilton adviser in D.C. in 2008. A top adviser known for
Rovian-style dirty tricks.
According to Peter Baker and Jeff
Zeleny of the NYT,
Blumenthal was just full of wild attacks on Obama during the 2008
campaign, and when Hilton wanted to reward ole' Sid with a job in the State
Department, Obama's people, namely Rahm Emanuel, went ballistic --
ergo, no job.
And so, there is no doubt here that
Hilton's 2008 campaign has "birther" scrawled all over it and
she had plenty of Rovian characters working for her for whom such a dirty trick would not be
beneath their dignity. I mean, there are more smoking guns here than there were in
Dodge City at noon. Even if the Hiltonites didn't invent the dufus story,
one would have to be incredibly naive to buy Hilton's line that neither
she nor her campaign had anything to do with it.
If truth is relative, my guess is that
Trump's accusations are closer to it then Hilton's denials.
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