I find myself wondering whether it was a good idea for our president to dignify the silly “birther” myths by publicly refuting them — and thereby acknowledging their existence.

I am reminded of a time, many years ago, when a false rumor started that MacDonald’s had rats in their food. MacDonald’s was in a tough spot. If they said anything, even to say it wasn’t true, it would only increase the visibility of the rumor.

So instead they ran a series of ads about how clean they were. It was very clever. They were floating a countering meme into the public consciousness, without ever having acknowledged the existence of the false rumors. If you watched carefully, you knew what was going on — but that’s not at all the same thing.

What is the best course of action when one is falsely accused of something completely nonsensical? Does it ever do any good to acknowledge idiocy, even to refute it?

4 thoughts on “Birthers”

  1. What I wonder is what triggered this surprise document release?

    I can understand not dignifying disrespect with a response. I can understand not wanting to not punching down. But also, until now avoidance has been a very effective way to supply rope to a self-hanging opponent.

    So why this now? What’s this politician’s strategy and what has the triggered the reversal?

    I know you asked how best to respond to a nonsensical attack. So far non-response has allowed the president to raise himself above his critics, to seem a target of a fringe element, an adult. So what political opportunity or concern has motivated this shift in tactics? What is the political cost/benefit analysis?

    It will be interesting to see how this tactical shift provides insights both toward your question and as to what motivates this president.

  2. Obama is a pragmatist, and I think this is just part of a focus on getting re-elected. He’s calculating that the awkwardness of getting a little mud on his feet now is outweighed by an inoculation against future below the belt mud-slinging by his opponents.

  3. You answered your own question. McDonalds showed the truth about how clean they were. Obama needs to show the truth about his documents.

  4. Thanks Jeff, I needed a good laugh. For a moment I thought you were serious, and then I realized you couldn’t possibly be that much of an idiot.

    By now we know that the purpose of the little show our administration set up around the birth certificate nonsense was to allow the President to make fun of Donald Trump at the annual Correspondent’s dinner. And of course that entire highly entertaining show was engineered to create a distraction during the invasion of Osama bin Laden’s compound.

    But of course you already know that. Again, congrats on your great sense of humor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *