Last week, Orange County Republican Central Committee member Marilyn Davenport distributed an email that transposed President Barack Obama’s face onto a small chimpanzee’s head, as part of a chimpanzee family portrait.
Beneath the amateurish Photoshop job was a caption that read, “Now you know why no birth certificate!”
It gets better. Not only did Davenport, a Tea Party activist, try to laugh the whole thing off, she then played the religion card to try to diffuse tensions once she realized the incident wasn’t going away,
Just before the GOP committee met for its monthly summit at a hotel in Irvine, Davenport released a statement to her colleagues, apologizing for the email and assuring America she is merely “an imperfect Christian lady who tries her best to live a Christ-like honoring life.”
Setting aside Davenport’s racism, bigotry and shameless attempt to cover vile ignorance with a wafer-thin veneer of religion, Davenport should be fired because she can’t be left unsupervised at a computer.
But Birtherism extends far beyond lackeys like Davenport.
The man who has shaped the modern-day Manhattan skyline, Donald Trump, is a Birther. He is so convinced he has dispatched private investigators to Hawaii to dig up the “inevitable” dirt on Obama.
Birthers seem to think Obama somehow fooled everyone, into thinking he is a mysterious shape-shifter who no one had ever seen until he turned 30. They’ll be disappointed when they go to Hawaii and, as The Atlantic documented just last week, find Barack Obama’s birth announcement on microfilm in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, to the left of ads for Acme Termite Service and a general contractor named Ernie.
If that’s not good enough, they can seek out the Live Birth Certificate released by the Obama Administration and stored by the Hawaii Department of Health. Several legitimate, governmentally approved articles of proof exist to show Barack Obama was born in the United States. Game over.
But, Birthers.org insists Obama is withholding his “vault copy,” which will prove he is not a United States citizen.
Given Birther supporters include the likes of Michelle Bachmann, who thinks the Founding Fathers fought slavery, at what point do you reconsider your beliefs? Even Karl Rove has denounced Birtherism as both ridiculous and a potential roadblock to Republicans contributing to U.S. politics in a meaningful way.
When underhanded political smear-tactics like Birtherism fail both the test of empirical fact and the Karl Rove sniff test, it’s time to pack it in.
Teddy Minch is master of public policy student concentrating in civil infrastructure finance.