'Birther' control: Praise the righteous right

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Let us now praise Bill O'Reilly. Let's not forget "Sideshow Annie" Coulter while we're at it. Both Ann Coulter and Mr. O'Reilly have done what many conservative elected officials don't have the guts to do: They've either mocked or denounced the so-called "birther" movement as an embarrassment to common sense and a threat to the long-term interests of the Republican Party.

Earlier this week, a reporter from The Huffington Post tried to get Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican from Upper St. Clair, on the record about the "birthers." But the pride of the 18th District proved too fleet-footed for the running dogs of the media.

Rep. Murphy reportedly hid in a congressional office supply store for 20 minutes rather than answer the politically sensitive question about whether Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen. How many birthers can there possibly be in the 18th District to take offense?

As anyone with a relative with a tinfoil hat knows, the birthers believe Barack Obama is a Kenyan citizen who became president of the United States through trickery. They argue that Mr. Obama's presidency is, thus, constitutionally invalid. Even CNN's Lou Dobbs has given legitimacy to their paranoid ravings by insisting on "more documentation" from the Obama White House on the issue.

Birthers want to inspect the original birth certificate and not the copy issued by the state of Hawaii. They don't believe an original exists and they're critical of the "certificate of live birth" Hawaii distributed to the media to quell the controversy.

Birthers insist that a certificate of live birth and a birth certificate aren't the same animal. They also want to debunk the notion that "six of one" comes anywhere near to being the same thing as "half dozen of the other."

Bill O'Reilly used humor to mock the birthers by reading excerpts from their self-refuting e-mails on the air. Consistent with her tendency for going overboard on every issue, Ms. Coulter compared the birthers to the Ku Klux Klan.

When the nearly forgotten Don Imus interviewed Fox's Chris Wallace this week, the subject of the birthers' toehold on Lou Dobbs' show came up. Mr. Wallace couldn't resist tweaking CNN for failing to make distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate reporting on the movement, implying that Fox does.

While conceding that Lou Dobbs was a friend, Mr. Imus insisted that throwing in with the birther movement made the CNN host look like "a grassy knoll nut."

Faux conservative Stephen Colbert embraced the birthers on his show this week, thus ensuring their destruction by conducting an excruciating, but hilarious interview with Orly Taitz, the Russian-born "mother of the Obama birth certificate movement." Ms. Taitz, who didn't realize she was being mocked, confirmed every stereotype about birthers as none-too-bright irrationalists.

As long as we're gratuitously praising conservatives, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough deserves a big "attaboy" for blasting demagogue Glenn Beck after he called President Obama a racist with "a deep-seated hatred of white people."

"Conservatives attacked the Dixie Chicks for saying much less about President Bush than what Beck said about President Obama," Mr. Scarborough responded in a Twitter message. For such refreshing honesty, I can almost forgive the host of "Morning Joe" for providing a regular platform to commentator Pat Buchanan who, though not a birther, has race hang-ups far more profound than the goofy prattling of Mr. Beck.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis deserves credit for stripping Officer Justin Barrett, 36, of his gun and shield this week for displaying in a widely disseminated e-mail the kind of stupidity and racism that won't easily be forgotten.

Mr. Barrett, a two-year veteran of the force, sent an e-mail describing Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. as a "banana-eating jungle monkey." He said he would have gladly used pepper-spray on Mr. Gates had he been his arresting officer. He also described a black Boston Globe columnist as a "jungle monkey."

In a rambling apology, Mr. Barrett said that he wasn't a racist and that his only prejudice was against "stupid people."

If Mr. Obama invites this idiot to the White House for a beer, I swear I'm joining the birther movement the next day.

Tony Norman can be reached at tnorman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1631.


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