[Click above to embiggen: one of Trump’s tweets, where he took credit for forcing Obama to release his certificate of live birth, after refusing to do so for years and years…and thus needlessly keeping controversy going, as that controversy always benefitted him.]
In the last few weeks, several websites have been pushing the theory that Birtherism originated in the Clinton campaign back in 2008. Lester Holt also decided to make Birtherism a big focus of the First Presidential Debate. I lived and breathed the 2008 Hillary campaign on the ground in Chicago…and actually started HillBuzz.org in February of 2008 because someone on the campaign who I had been working with told me to start a supporter website for her, as nothing like that really existed at the time and her supporters wanted someone to call out the Media for relentlessly attacking Hillary and trying to drive her out of the race and hand the nomination over to Obama. My job was to watch what people like Chris Matthews and Tim Russert were doing to Hillary every day and then rebut them…and also to get information about Obama out to the public that people here in Chicago fed me about him, but the Media refused to report about him because, of course, the Media didn’t want to ever say anything negative about him because they wanted him to win. Everyone working in the Media was committed heart and soul to electing that man and covering up his past. The Clinton campaign’s efforts to expose Obama were 100% centered around Jeremiah Wright, his radical connections to Wright’s hateful “church,” Obama’s connections to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, the mystery of Obama’s mother’s relationship with Frank Marshall Davis, and the truth about Obama’s adoption by Lolo Soetoro in the 1970s (which included Obama becoming an Indonesian citizen and gaining an Indonesian passport) and how that factored into Obama’s admission to Columbia University (where I believe that Obama applied to this college under his Indonesian credentials in order to secure admission and benefits he would not have received if he used his American identity when filling out all the paperwork; in short, Obama gamed the system like he always does and to this this day he’s never been exposed for it because people for some reason didn’t find this scheme of his interesting enough to look into).
It is an absolute lie that Birtherism started in Hillary’s campaign. In that primary race, there were scores of other things that Team Hillary wanted to go viral to defeat Obama (as noted above), but claiming he was secretly born in Kenya was NOT amongst them. What follows below is what REALLY happened eight years ago, as I remember it. This is one of those instances in life where the truth is not as much fun or as useful for some people as they would like it to be and the lie they want to believe is more interesting…but the truth is that the only person who ever benefitted from Birtherism is Barack Obama himself and the Obama campaign itself pushed Birtherism as a false flag/red herring to discredit Obama’s critics and silence all criticism of his strange and mysterious past. That’s because Birtherism kept everyone from ever talking about all bizarre things about his life before he entered Columbia University that, to this day, he never wants anyone to ever talk about. So, here you go.
All About Birtherism: the Ingenious Red Herring That Has Successfully Kept All of Obama’s Real Secrets Hidden to This Very Day
Not many people seem to remember how much Birtherism helped Barack Obama back in his 2008 primary race against Hillary Clinton and the subsequent general election against John McCain. To this day, what is called “Birtherism” — the conspiratorial belief that Barack Obama was secretly born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and that fact making him somehow ineligible for the presidency — prevents any sort of conversation about the very real possibility that Frank Marshall Davis is actually Barack Obama’s biological father or that Obama may have fraudulently obtained favorable treatment from Columbia University in New York City by claiming he was Indonesian, not a black American, when applying to college there. Those are just two of the unlimited potential scandals that Obama artfully dodged because everyone and their brother was caught up in Birtherism and didn’t want to talk about anything else in 2008.
Has anyone ever stopped to think that maybe the Obama campaign itself created the whole Kenyan Birtherism red herring to keep people from digging into all the real secrets that Obama’s handlers wanted to keep hidden? After all, who other than Barack Obama ever benefitted from all the smoke and mirrors of Birtherism?
Just say for a moment that you were running a presidential campaign and you knew that your candidate had unique vulnerabilities that could cause everything to come crashing down around you if anyone poked around in his past, investigated his radical associates, evaluated how he misrepresented himself at various points in his life and career, and fact-checked his much-celebrated autobiography? What if you knew for a fact that your candidate was a sociopathic fraud and that he had aggressively lied through the years, inconsistently telling whatever useful lie he felt that he needed to tell in each critical moment to get ahead? If the campaign would have imploded if the right people started asking the right questions then the only way to win was to preemptively obliterate anyone’s abilities to ask those particular questions. In this mental exercise, remember that you are a Democrat, you care nothing about the truth, you believe that the ends always justify the means, and you think Saul Alinsky was someone commendable who should be revered and admired.
I argue that the luckiest of all breaks that Barack Obama had back in 2008 on his road to power was the whole Birtherism fixation on Kenya. Once Birtherism captured people’s wildest imaginations, even the demented ravings of Reverend Jeremiah “Chickens Coming Home to Roost!” Wright and Obama’s obvious connections to domestic terrorist William Ayers were lost in the background and no criticism at all of Obama’s past dealings was allowed. Anyone questioning anything at all about the suspicious and irregular holes in Obama’s biography, particularly about his sketchy time in Indonesia and stretch at Occidental College in Los Angeles before heading to Columbia, was lambasted as a “Birther,” with the net result being that Obama mostly sailed through the 2008 election without the kind of scrutiny that would have dredged up inconsistencies or oddities in his published life’s story.
The ridiculous Kenyan Birtherism conspiracy story allowed the Media to mockingly point at someone asking legitimate questions about Obama’s strange and elusive past and label that person “a Birther.” Once that mocking started, no one was willing to publicly entertain the thought that Obama was really hiding something horrible in his past from the American people…something that could have (and should have) ended his campaign for the presidency. People were much too afraid of being lumped in with the Birthers and so they kept their mouths shut about anything strange they would have otherwise talked about regarding Obama.
The Media was collectively committed mind, body, and soul to electing Obama as the historic and unprecedented first black president and “Birtherism” was a cudgel that everyone in the Media seemed to swing aggressively at anyone who tried poking any holes at all in Obama’s shady life narrative. A national psychosis manifested from coast to coast, where Americans committed themselves to electing a man to our presidency who they willfully knew nothing about…all because the Media convinced everyone that asking probing questions about Obama’s past and about who he really was and where he really came from amounted to being a “Birther,” which the Media repeated over and over again was the most vile and loathsome creature anyone could be. (You were also a racist if you questioned or criticized Obama in any way as well, so all Birthers are inherently racists though not all racists are Birthers in this Media logic.) This was a brilliant political strategy, because to this day Barack Obama remains a man of considerable and deliberate mystery whose past is sealed and radioactive, completely untouchable by anyone in politics and off-limits for the next few hundred years.
The period in Obama’s life between his living in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather and Obama matriculating at Columbia University is a flashing, neon question mark that was completely pushed off the radar by Birtherism’s fixation on Kenya and the Media’s maligning of anyone it deemed even remotely “a Birther.” In my opinion, the people who started Birtherism and encouraged people to obsess about Kenya did so in hopes that Americans would take the bait and spend all their energy on an African goose chase…leaving whatever the Obama campaign really didn’t want people to uncover about Obama safely hidden in Indonesia and/or Los Angeles and/or New York City. There was something shocking and damaging in Obama’s past during his teen years and early twenties and the best way for his presidential campaign to ensure that no one ever figured out what that really was just so happened to be the wholesale discrediting of every single person who would have otherwise actively questioned Obama’s past.
Remember that Barack Obama is an opportunist and a narcissist above all else, a man who has thrown anyone and everyone under the bus whenever it suited his rise to power (or his exercise of power in the White House). His political career began in earnest in Illinois by back-stabbing Alice Palmer and having her and other candidates disqualified from the ballot so he could run unopposed for the seat that Palmer held in the Illinois state senate. He would have never won that election if he hadn’t found a way to alter the playing field so he could run unopposed and be guaranteed his win. A few years later, his back-stabbing of Palmer allowed him to maneuver himself into position for the United States Senate in 2004. Conveniently for Obama, his Republican rival Jack Ryan was forced from the race after his sealed divorce records were somehow mysteriously unsealed and released to the public, much to his career-ending embarrassment. Obama would have likely lost that Senate race to Ryan, so in keeping with Obama’s astonishing luck, Ryan was removed from the chess board as if by magic so that Obama could essentially run unopposed again (with the GOP only half-heartedly carpetbagging Alan Keyes into Illinois at the eleventh hour to replace disgraced Ryan).
You can either believe that Barack Obama is the luckiest man alive who always seems to innocently benefit from opportune twists of Fate…or you can see him as I do: the closest thing to the character Eve Harrington from All About Eve that’s ever manifested itself in presidential politics.
That would of course make Hillary Clinton the tragic Margo Channing figure, as played by Bette Davis in that classic movie. For those who’ve never seen the film or don’t quite remember it, Eve Harrington (portrayed by Anne Baxter) was a creature of equal parts ambition and manipulation. She cleverly hid her true past and concocted a new biography expertly designed for her own quick advancement…and then endeared herself to powerful people who promoted and positioned her for greatness. She made people want to help her and convinced them that they were happiest in life when they were helping her get ahead. Margo Channing was the old star on the scene at the peak of her power, oblivious to the threat that the smiling upstart Eve truly was to her. Despite all her experience and her own formidable cunning, old Margo was completely floored when Eve yanked the rug right out from under her and took the golden prize that Margo long-coveted.
I believe David Axelrod, who ran Obama’s first run for the White House, is actually who encouraged talk about Kenya Birtherism as part of the most ingenious and effective political red herring of all time. What Obama did to Hillary (with, I believe, Axelrod’s coaching) was a better magic trick and usurpation of power than anything that Eve Harrington did to Margo Channing in that movie. Even now, eight years later, I am still stunned by what the Obama campaign was able to get away with doing to the Clintons and how people still don’t seem to have figured any of it out.
It helps to look back on that 2008 election through the lens of All About Eve, but this time don’t give Obama’s campaign the benefit of any doubts. For sake of argument here, let’s not attribute any of his good fortune to luck or Fate, but instead view everything that benefitted him as something that David Axelrod or others on his campaign team purposely set in motion to benefit him.
Think for just a moment about everything positive that the “He was really born in Kenya!” Birtherism achieved for Obama and how it crippled both Hillary’s and McCain’s efforts to ask any real questions about where Obama came from politically and ideologically before this man miraculously appeared on the national scene as a blank canvas (onto which the Media gleefully painted anything that it wanted, like they were mini-Michelangelos frescoing a new Sistine Chapel in his honor…and to our horror).
To this day, no one is seemingly ever allowed to talk about how much Barack Obama looks exactly like Frank Marshall Davis and how the two of them could easily appear to be father and son. Davis was an avowed communist and a man who by all accounts appeared to have had an intimate relationship with Obama’s mother Stanley Ann Dunham around the time that Obama was conceived. The theory that Dunham lied and said Barack Obama’s father was a man from Kenya that she barely knew and not Davis, whom she spent considerably more time with, was never explored…because Birtherism sucked all the oxygen out of the room before questions about Obama’s true paternity could ever be asked (let alone answered). How convenient for a presidential candidate who would have never wanted to address such questions! Imagine a world where Birtherism never existed and instead a messy conversation was had about whether or not Barack Obama’s father was really a man from Kenya (whom his mother barely knew) or if his mother had only lied about the paternity of her child because Davis was married at the time (and his being the father would have been an unforgivable scandal, while an absentee father in Kenya raised fewer eyebrows). Think how much mileage Obama had gotten out of having a Kenyan father all those years…and how that carefully crafted narrative would have been blown to smithereens if any industrious investigators had spent the time looking into Obama’s true paternity instead of that red herring birth certificate.
To this day, no one has ever really asked any questions about Obama’s application to Columbia University and if he applied there as an Indonesian citizen, after he was adopted by his stepfather Lolo Soetoro. In classic Eve Harrington fashion, it seems consistent with who Obama is as a person (and master manipulator) for him to have applied to Columbia with whatever ruse he felt would gain him admission and the most advantages in that moment. This all happened before the Internet and computers existed, when Obama could have gotten away with putting anything he wanted down on his Columbia paperwork and the university would have had limited options for checking the accuracy of any of it. If not for Birtherism and people conveniently (for Obama) focused on the red herring of Kenya, it’s likely that questions about his application and admission to Columbia could have become part of the 2008 campaign. Again, Birtherism prevented this from ever being looked into. But what if it had been? What if it had come out that Obama had told Columbia he was an Indonesian citizen to either gain admission as a foreign student or secure aid or scholarships he would not have received if he presented himself to Columbia as a black or biracial American? Would Americans have viewed such deception and manipulation as a campaign-ending fraud? We’ll never know because his application/admissions paperwork for Columbia was never scrutinized…since everyone’s attention was focused on that wild goose chase in Kenya and the Birtherism nonsense.
I poured my heart and soul into Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign as a volunteer for her in Chicago and don’t remember anyone on Team Hillary ever believing that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Instead, what I recall from 2008 was the sense that the Clintons were up against something they had never in their lives crossed paths with before: a more talented liar and more masterful manipulator than Bill and Hillary put together. Team Hillary knew that Obama was hiding something horrible for him politically in his past and that immense effort was being made to keep his secrets hidden. The frustration was that Obama and his campaign were so good at lying and hiding his past that nothing the Clintons ever did could bring to light what he worked so hard to bury.
That meant the Clintons were in the new-to-them position of being outplayed and outmaneuvered at every turn by people who lived and breathed Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals better than the Clintons. Hillary seemed to live in abject terror of doing anything that would give Obama’s campaign the ability to brand her a racist, so whatever attacks she made on him had to be done with the softest of kid gloves. Let’s face it: the only person alive who could have taken the 2008 presidential nomination away from Hillary Clinton was a charismatic black man with a preacher’s voice who white people felt good about themselves voting for. As a longtime acolyte of Alinksy herself, she realized that Obama and his camp were out-Alinsky-ing her and the 2008 campaign became a personal Hell she never in her worst nightmares dreamed would befall her.
In retrospect you should be able to see how Hillary kept fighting until the bitter (clinging) end of that epic campaign, but she always had one hand tied behind her back. Just before the South Carolina primary, the Clintons were nuked with the race card anyway, despite going easy on Obama and never really using any dirt on him. For the longest time I wondered why Hillary did that. Why did she let Obama rise in prominence and why didn’t she take him down early, say in the spring or summer of 2007, when she could have used whatever opposition research she had on him to expose his secrets before he caught fire?
Why did Hillary Clinton willingly agree to play Margo Channing to Barack Obama’s Eve Harrington?
I will always believe that the Clintons got suckered or double-crossed somewhere around the New Hampshire primary and before South Carolina in January 2008. Remember at this time that John Edwards had stayed in the presidential race (despite knowing that he was soon to be destroyed politically with the revelation that he had fathered a love child with his mistress Rielle Hunter while still married to his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth) just so that Edwards could siphon enough votes from Hillary for Obama to win the Iowa Caucus. (Edwards at the time stupidly thought he’d be rewarded with some prize, like being Obama’s Attorney General, because he was too vain and dim-witted to realize his political career would be ended when his affair was finally revealed). Without Edwards in Iowa, Hillary would have probably won the caucus there…and then gone on to win New Hampshire and the nomination. It would have been hard for even Chris Matthews or Tim Russert (Obama’s biggest early cheerleaders, with tingling going up and down their legs) to loudly shout for Hillary to quit the race and hand the nomination over to Obama if he had lost the Iowa Caucus to her and then lost New Hampshire too. I feel that Hillary held back on ever damaging Obama with anything substantive because she may have been convinced that she would have to take Obama as her 2008 running mate…and may have even been told that would be the plan after Super Tuesday. Competing against a charismatic black man skilled in Alinsky methods was the one contingency that Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton never factored into her thinking in all the years that she thought about running for president.
Again, was that luck? Or was it more of the strategic genius involved in whoever it was who really decided that it was time for Barack Obama to run for president in 2008?
When the Obama campaign nuked the Clintons with the race-card just before South Carolina voted on January 26th 2008, the look of sincere shock from Bill and Hillary Clinton was raw and human (from two people who had always previously been expert at hiding their real emotions). For those who don’t recall, this was when race-hustling Obama surrogates shamefully revved black people up against Hillary by claiming that Bill Clinton was a racist for impugning Jesse Jackson’s doomed 1984 run for the White House. Bill Clinton is a lot of things, most of them bad, but the man is not a racist (any more than all Democrats are of course inherently racists in the way that they truly all do view black people as nothing more than reliable Democrat votes on the Party’s urban plantations). Remember how the Kennedys — Ted and Caroline — went in for the political kill right at the moment that the maximum race-card damage was being done to the Clintons in South Carolina? The stage-crafting of it all was straight out of Shakespeare. First, the Obama surrogates maligned the Clintons as racists. Then Hillary loses the South Carolina primary and Chris Matthews and Tim Russert hooted and hollered for Hillary to end her campaign. Next came the Kennedy family, passing the Democrats’ metaphoric torch to the Obamas (not the Clintons). The bewilderment on the Clintons’ faces during this train wreck showed that neither of them had any clue that all of this betrayal was being expertly plotted against them behind their backs for many months. They were absolutely clueless and shellshocked.
But, yet, even then Team Hillary didn’t embrace the Kenyan Birtherism conspiracy because they knew that particular red herring was laughable. Hillary Clinton was in the fight of her political life at that moment and she had just been expertly double-crossed (triple-crossed and quadruple-Kennedy-crossed, even) and betrayed. The dreaded race-card was played as a checkmate against her in spectacularly ugly fashion. If the Clintons had any belief in Kenyan Birtherism or felt that Birtherism as a conspiracy or concept could hurt have Obama in any way, you had better believe they would have gone all-in on Kenyan Birtherism after the South Carolina debacle. If for no other reason than pure, unadulterated revenge.
Remember that at the time the Clintons had good reason to believe that their political life was ending and they saw, with the Kennedy’s betrayal, that the Democrat Party had been taken away from them and given to someone else. The Clintons had been publicly kicked to the curb and the Media was merrily crafting their obituaries. Berths in the Democrats’ Mausoleum of Has-Been-Losers were being carved for Bill and Hillary wherever Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are kept. After South Carolina and the Kennedy family’s endorsement of Obama, Hillary’s superdelegates started jumping ship and Bill Clinton had to spend all day on the phone trying to stem that hemorrhaging of support (while Ted Kennedy and Claire McCaskill, on their own phones, were making calls on behalf of Obama spreading the word that the Clintons were toast and it was time for everyone to move over to Obama).
Yet, even in their darkest hour, at the absolute nadir of their influence, and when all hope seemed lost for them, the Clintons did not engage in Birtherism because the Clintons knew there was nothing to the Birtherism. They knew it was a red herring and they did not promote it. They, in fact, hoped and prayed that people would lose interest in the Kenyan Birtherism so that someone out there would take an interest in whatever secrets Obama was actually hiding.
The fact that Hillary kept fighting through Super Tuesday and all the many months beyond, accumulating more votes in the primaries than Obama scored (despite her superdelegate advantage being completely erased and then reversed to her deficit) and only suspending her campaign in June 2008 (in her famous “18 Million Cracks in the Glass Ceiling” speech) should show you how mad Hillary was about Obama’s Machiavellian usurpation and how she kept hanging on and holding out hope for some miracle for her to win. That woman went all the way to the Democrat convention that year hoping and praying that someone out there would be able to dig up something from Obama’s Indonesia, Occidental College, or Columbia University years that would take him out of the race…but no such miracle ever came.
The national obsession with Kenya and Birtherism prevented anyone with the ability to actually look into Obama’s real secrets from ever doing that. Everyone was of course having too much fun either indulging in the Kenyan goose chase or lambasting those who were going on and on about Kenya. I am sure that Hillary Clinton hated every single minute of this because here a man who hid more secrets than she ever did was beating her at her own game of manipulating the idiots in Media to talk about some bizarre conspiracy theory instead of the horrible things that really were being hidden. On days when Hillary Clinton does something that makes you particularly mad at her, just think for a moment about what a living Hell all of this must have been for her back in 2008…to see so many of her favorite tricks and stunts used against her (and even done better than she could ever do them).
Do you remember Hillary Clinton sitting with Matt Lauer on The Today Show in January of 1998, delivering her Academy Award-worthy performance that blamed “a vast right wing conspiracy” for all of the Clintons’ woes? Hillary, as a student and friend of Saul Alinsky, manipulated Lauer, The Today Show, and everyone watching by changing the political narrative and giving the Media a fun new thing to obsess over: the vast right wing conspiracy. Everyone happily took the bait, of course. Republicans who hated the Clintons fumed that she would be audacious enough to accuse them of some sort of conspiracy. Newt Gingrich became apoplectic and Rush Limbaugh (as astute as normally he is) played right along with her and gave Hillary’s outrageous lie an unlimited supply of oxygen. Friendlies on her side ideologically took Hillary’s lead and gleefully wrote about this shiny new thing she gave them all to write about…instead of whatever damaging or embarrassing fact about the Clintons they would have written about in a world where the “vast right wing conspiracy” Today Show interview had never happened.
That day, Hillary Clinton took the stage and gave a game-changing command performance as “The Sympathetic Victim,” revealing an exciting new conspiracy (a vast right wing conspiracy!) for everyone to be entertained with and distracted by for however long it took for the Clintons to get out of the mess they were currently in.
Do you see how the whole Kenyan Birtherism thing was just a more advanced and ingenious page out of the same Alinsky playbook?
It still surprises me that so many Republicans don’t seem to understand what Democrats and their friendlies in the Media do to the GOP over and over again. We are long past the point of Lucy snatching the football away from Charlie Brown and the old Blockhead being able to claim credible surprise. I think we might all be actually living in some previously undiscovered tenth or eleventh circle of Hell, where for some reason Americans are doomed to watch everyone engaged in politics suffer through a Groundhog’s Day repetition of falling for the Left’s same stunts, tricks, and willful deceptions.
At the end of the day, it really is this simple: when a Democrat is hiding something that the Democrat does not want you looking into or finding out about, the Democrat changes the narrative by inventing an irresistibly interesting story that is so exciting and imaginative to the Media for one reason or another that no one will ever be able to spend the time digging up the secrets that the Democrat really wanted to stay buried. They will all run off chasing the shiny, honking goose instead.
This stunt works every single time without fail. It is a masterstroke of simultaneously running out the clock, altering the playing field, owning the narrative, upending the chess board, and silencing/eliminating adversaries.
Remember what happened to people who took Hillary Clinton’s bait and tried to argue that there was no vast right wing conspiracy plotting against the Clintons? They were mocked and ridiculed and diminished by the Media, just like Hillary wanted. The net result was that the Clintons got away with what they wanted to get away with.
Remember what happened to everyone who took the bait about Kenyan Birtherism and went on that goose chase about the birth certificate? They were mocked and ridiculed and diminished by the Media, just like the Obama campaign wanted. The net result was that Obama got away with what the Obama campaign wanted him to get away with.
Funny how, in retrospect, when you take the time to think about who benefits from the strange things that happen in American politics, you can see how people well-versed in Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals always seem like they were behind those strange things the whole time and that it was all done for their deliberate advantage. It’s almost like there’s a predictable pattern there and it’s a big part of how Democrats typically win elections and steal the GOP’s football over and over and over again.
If you like the content and writing on this site and want to hit the tip jar, here you go! [PayPal ID: HillBuzz@gmail.com]
We also have a book available on Amazon and would love for you to read it!
© 2016, Kevin DuJan. All rights reserved.
Help HillBuzz by Shopping Amazon
I look forward to your comments. Please follow these simple guidelines:
- Please do not complain about your comment not yet showing up
- Stay on topic of the article ("This is OT, but..." = bad!)
- I will STING if you troll, spam, bait, swear or attack someone