HUMPHRIES: Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?
PALIN: Um, I think the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think enough members of the electorate still want answers.
HUMPHRIES: Do you think it’s a fair question to be looking at?
PALIN: I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past associations, past voting records, all of that is fair game. You know, I gotta tell you, too, I think our campaign, the McCain-Palin campaign, didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We didn’t call out Obama and some of his associates on their records and what their beliefs were, and perhaps what their future plans were, and I don’t think that was fair to voters, to not have done our jobs as candidates and as a campaign to bring to light a lot of things that now we’re seeing made manifest in the administration.
HUMPHRIES: I mean, truly, if your past is fair game and your kids are fair game, certainly Obama’s past should be. I mean, we want to treat men and women equally, right?
PALIN: Hey, you know, that’s a great point. That weird conspiracy theory freaky thing that people talk about, that Trig isn’t my real son, a lot of people say, “Well, you need to produce his birth certificate, you need to prove that he’s your kid,” which we have done, but yeah, so maybe we should reverse that and use the same type of thinking on the other one.
[Emphasis added on particularly troublesome statements.]
This was enough for Salon to pronounce Palin a birther. And honestly I don’t blame them for it based on the interview alone.
But is Palin really part of the cult of crackpot conspiracists who know for certain that President Obama was born in Kenya or, is at the very least, “hiding his birth certificate”?
Palin clarified on her Facebook page:
Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask… which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.
So, no, Palin is not a birther. She was just caught off guard in an interview and chose her words poorly.
(Andrew Sullivan, who has predictably picked up on the story is apparently unaware of Palin’s Facebook clarification of her anti-birther position. Watch for how long it takes for him to come up with some creative explanation for why Palin actually still is a birther in spite of it.)
But the point remains: nothing would make the Left happier than to see Palin as a birther. Why? Because it would be the end of her political career. She would immediately be neutralized as a serious fighter against their agendas. Everything she said could then be dismissed, “Oh what does she know? She’s so nutty she thinks Obama was born in Kenya!” She would never be able to develop the centrist and independent support she needs to be a viable political force. She could never be a Reagan, forging an effective alliance of the Right and the independent center.
And that is why serious conservatives concerned about the Left’s agenda need to have a no-tolerance attitude toward birtherism. If allowed to thrive it will only continue to undermine the Conservative movement and allow the Left more power. It can only be announced for what it is: poisonous crackpot conspiracism.
Update 12/5/09, 4:25 PM EST: This post was mentioned and linked at Progressive Alaska and then reprinted at Andrew Sullivan’s blog. The Progressive Alaska blog had two lies about this post and one pathetic typo which was correct in the Daily Dish reprint:
David Horowitx, excoriating Sullivan, fails to mention Palin’s lie.
First, Horowitz didn’t write this post, I did. My byline is at the top and anyone who has ever read a Horowitz article would not mistake my writing for his. Second, as can be seen clearly above, I in no way “excoriated” Sullivan by predicting what has in fact happened. Palin has clarified her poorly chosen words to demonstrate conclusively that she is not a birther. She does not believe Obama is ineligible to be president and does not support the Birther Movement’s efforts. Yet Sullivan shoulders on with the Palin-is-a-Birther meme because he detests her so much.
Sorry, Progressive Alaska, for not “mentioning Palin’s lie.” I’m not really concerned with refuting the crackpot “Trig Birtherism” conspiracy theories. Just as leftists hope that the Birther conspiracy continues to exist to dog the Right, I fully endorse Sullivan’s efforts to keep Trig Birtherism alive. By all means, please continue to pursue this, Andrew.