(From New America Media)
Forgotten in the furor over Orange County GOP Central Committee Member MarilynÂ Davenportâ€™s vile, vicious, and blatantly racist depiction of and his family as chimps is the reason that she did it. The caption underneath the photo read, â€œNow you know why no birth certificate.â€ The timing for the â€œsatire,â€ as Davenport lamely explained in her bogus defense, was no accident. It came within days after real estate mogul (and would-be presidential candidate) Donald Trump continued to harp on President Obamaâ€™s alleged status as an “illegal alien.”
Over the last year or so, the birther issue had largely receded into the netherworld of fringe, kooky ideas. But Trumpâ€”who has the name identification, media allure, and money to make an impactâ€”single-handedly pushed the issue front and center once more. Trump is shrewder than GOP party regulars and much of the media realize. He quickly understood that, to gain attention as a potential 2012 candidate, he had to have some issue, a hook, that would get the media and GOP party tongues clucking and establish him as a force to be reckoned within the. Talk of the debt, tax reform, deficit reduction, jobs and the economy would not do it. Mainstream GOP leaders and would-be candidates, all with much more political experience and credibility than Trump, had already staked out that turf. The only surefire issue that could get the requisite media attention and the publicâ€™s ear was birtherism. The strategy worked.
Trump pounded on the issue and the media took the bait. Then the mogul slyly backed off for a moment and talked about the familiar, substantive issues of trade, China, and the economy. But birtherism was never far from his agenda. He returned to the topic at a recent Tea Party pep rally in Boca Raton, Florida; and in an interview the day after the filing deadline for federal taxes, he thundered that heâ€™d publicly disclose his tax information if Obama would produce his â€œrealâ€ birth certificate. The gambit worked again. The media reported his remarks as a real story and ran with it. That touched off shudders among mainstream GOP leaders, who publicly scrambled to denounce Trump comments and distance themselves from him.
GOP leaders seem to have finally woken up to the Frankenstein monster that they created by either ignoring the White House. Unfortunately for the Republicans, the monster that Trump unleashed again is back on the prowl. A legion of bloggers, websites (including the conservative WorldNetDaily), and rightwing talk show hosts, including Foxâ€™s Sean Hannity, are once again relentlessly pounding the issue. These conservatives are read, watched and listened to, andâ€”sadlyâ€”believed by millions of Americans.or tacitly egging it on. The issue could turn the GOP presidential nomination derby into a freak circus. This would wreck any chance that a GOP presidential candidate has to snatch back the
Polls have consistently shown that a near majority of Republicans either believe Obama is not an American citizen or have doubts about his citizenship. Birtherism also has resonance among the general public, with some polls showing that a significant number of voters openly wonder about the presidentâ€™s true place of birth. Trump was well aware of the number of Americans who doubt the Obamaâ€™s citizenship. And he is even more aware that the inflammatory issue is driven in part by naked racism and in part by the GOPâ€™s loathing of Obamaâ€™s economic policies and moderate . Trump also has support in , who publicly declared that he “is not just throwing stones from the sidelines, he’s digging in, he’s paying for researchers to find out why President
Obama would have spent $2 million to not show his birth certificate, so more power to him.”
In the days since Trump began riding the birther issue hard, heâ€™s forced GOP leaders to acknowledge that heâ€™s a party thorn, either by denouncing himâ€”as former President George W. Bush chief strategist Karl Rove didâ€”or by praising him, as Palin did. Trump even got Obama to stoop down and publicly comment on the issue of his birth, something that he had scrupulously avoided.
A recentshowed that Trumpâ€™s birther crusade has paid off. He now tops the most favored list of potential GOP presidential candidates. The straw poll is, of course, just a popularity poll at this stage of the political game. But it does provide evidence that the birther issue is again a â€œlegitimateâ€ talking point issue and concern for millions.
Thatâ€™s bad news for GOP mainstream leaders, who now say they want the debate over Obamaâ€™s birth, and Trump, to go away. Thatâ€™s not going to happen anytime soon. Trump and the birther issue are just too juicy and irresistible for much of the media â€” and worse still, for millions of Americansâ€”to ignore. The GOP has only itself to blame.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He hosts a national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington D.C. streamed on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on blogtalkradio.com and wfax.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson