Tuesday, May 31, 2011
In other news, Vanity Fair's "Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” Tour Is a Secret Publicity Tour?" is interesting.
She's finished in Iowa before she gets there: "Sarah Palin calls to eliminate energy subsidies."
She's sure she can beat Obama: "Palin confident she could beat Obama." So why have some of the big-name Republicans -- full-term governors! -- announced that they won't run? Wouldn't they have a better chance of beating Obama than Palin?
And what now? Sarah Palin is in the presence of The Donald!
Am I imagining things or does Sarah Palin's voice go into a high-pitched, i'm-about-to-scream tone as she recites her "frivolous ethics complaints" lie?
Palin's going to be asked that question again and again, should she decide to run. People are concerned that she'd up and quit the presidency.
Later, about the 2:00 minute mark, when Palin's asked about the Republican candidates, she's sure a "more strong" candidate will jump in. And, at about the 1:00 minute mark, she says that if she runs, it would be a non-traditional campaign. Facebook and Twitter? Good luck with that. People will then also want to know, "Why's Sarah hiding?
Monday, May 30, 2011
George Will said that there is no "undecided" vote for Palin to pursue. People have already made up their minds about her. Will also said that people would answer a "Should Palin's finger be on the nuclear trigger?" question negatively.
Mediaite's "George Will: Everyone Knows Sarah Palin Should Not Be Trusted With Nuclear Weapons" has a story and a shorter video.
Palin's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" tour may be the height of her role as America's number one celebritician.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
A senile, old-man quip may occur to you after learning that John McCain said that Palin can beat Obama in 2012.
A good introduction to film editing can be found on the Blu-Ray of Bullitt. After seeing that, you may understand how all films -- successful ones, anyway -- are manipulative. So is Andrew Sullivan testing Godwin's Law? He's implicitly compared Palin's The Undefeated with Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of The Will. Sullivan claims to be "terrified" for America, and, again, makes a Triumph of The Will comparison at the end of this video:
That feature-length video on the Bullitt Blu-ray has some footage of Riefenstahl's film, along with some of the same film's footage after being edited by an englishman to make a point quite different than Riefenstahl's.
Are you miffed at the notion of "Sarah Palin Is A Social Conservative?" But before anyone tries to make hay out of this, it might be wise to recall that some thought that when Bristol Palin's pregnancy was announced that it would be a disaster for McCain/Palin. It wasn't; convention goers understood and sympathized with Palin's "plight." Levi Johnston's life with the Palin family was told in a Vanity Fair story, "Me and Mrs. Palin." If you read carefully, you may realize that Levi's story was fact-checked.
Update: The L.A. Times has an interesting story about Palin's ride, with video. "I love the smell of emissions" -- in the morning? -- is reminiscent of "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" (from Apocalypse Now). Does that scare you? If so, why? Frankly, I think that raw fear of Palin isn't a rational response to her.
Update: George Will responds to Palin with what may be, instead of raw, emotional fear, a rationalization of Palin's unfitness for the presidency. He doesn't need to say he's "terrified."
Friday, May 27, 2011
While her just-announced national bus tour would seem to place Sarah Palin a step closer to a 2012 presidential run, her bosses at Fox News are not yet ready to cut ties with her.
“We are not changing Sarah Palin’s status,” Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming for Fox News, said in a statement Thursday.
Fox News, where Palin earns $1 million a year as a commentator, does not appear convinced that she is making plans to run. The network, which has suspended other political pundits once they started pursuing presidential bids, is keeping her on the air — for now. ...
It's possible that Palin has told her employer that she isn't running.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
... A Palin confidant said he is 95% certain she won't run. Ms. Palin's image among the broader public has dimmed in recent months, polls show, particularly after she used the term "blood libel" to rebut accusations from critics that attempted to link her assertive rhetoric to the Arizona shooting rampage that killed six people and seriously injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.).The Journal's article also mentions Palin's upcoming tour of the "historical sites that were key to the formation, survival and growth of the United States of America. The tour will originate in Washington, D.C., and will proceed north up the East Coast."
The April Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 25% view her favorably while 53% view her unfavorably. Only 9% of those polled felt very positively toward her, a low in Journal polling, while 41% viewed her very negatively, a new high.
The confidant said Ms. Palin is well aware of those numbers. She doesn't want the negative scrutiny that would come from a run, and she doesn't want to jeopardize the lucrative speaking, broadcasting and book-writing career that has followed her unsuccessful run for the vice presidency, this person said. ...
ABC News may have some more information about Palin's tour. It's said to be a bus tour. Palin may be more interested in publicity than in American history, but it could be entertaining. Who but Sarah Palin could go to Philadelphia and say something like, "I just love that this old liberty bell cracked as Ben Franklin rang it to warn folks in Massachussets the British were coming."
At any point in 2009 or 2010, news that Sarah Palin was taking "concrete steps" toward launching a presidential campaign would have sent the political world into an absolute frenzy, with Democrats rejoicing, Republican leaders panicking, and cable news channels shifting into "all Sarah, all the time" overdrive.
But things are a little different now, and while a report in Thursday's New York Times that Palin is sending fresh and unmistakable signals that she may join the GOP's 2012 field is certainly generating conversation, this hardly feels like the earth-shattering, campaign-altering development we once assumed it would be.
What's changed? ...
Republicans may have realized they had a problem when Palin (correctly) blamed the Bushes (and implicitly Ronald Reagan) for wrecking the economy.
... Palin faces a lot of challenges in a potential candidacy, says CBS News Political Correspondent Jan Crawford. On "The Early Show," Crawford said the fact Palin quit as governor is problematic even for some of her staunchest supporters.A rorschach test is a projective test. A lot of what people think about Palin is nothing more than a projection of their own hopes, expectations, fears and anxieties. It's how some come to think, for example, that she's a fiscal conservative when she's not.
"What does that say, kind of, about her fire in the belly to lead going forward -- whether she was able to win the presidency?" Crawford remarked. "You know, this really reminds me, though, when we're all looking at these clues, and of course people since 2008, November '08 after the election, have been wondering, 'Is Sarah Palin been going to run for president?'
"When you start seeing all these clues, it's kind of like those ink blot tests, where one person can look at all these dots and see a face and another person can look at them and see, you know, a vase. We have all these clues today that, yes, she's going to run. So it makes some people think she is. ... [emphasis added]
I don't think she'll run, because I expect her to do what is in her own interest.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I don't think any of this means that she is going to run, and, today, The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart doesn't think so either. In "Palin movie: ‘The Undefeated’ or ‘Hangover 3’?" Capehart writes:
Y’all are well acquainted with my view that Sarah Palin will not run for president, despite doing little things here and there to make the political press corps think otherwise. The latest example is the news broken by Real Clear Politics that a feature-length flick on Palin’s life and career will premiere next month in Iowa. “The Undefeated” is the stirring title. “Hangover 3”might be more apt. ...As usual, Capehart has stuffed his column with a lot of links in support of his view, and concludes with a chart showing that Palin's unfavorable/favorable is in a long-term trend that doesn't bode well for Palin. People have made up their minds about her, politically. When would she quit as President?
The movie is titled, "The Undefeated." Undefeated champion of whining?
Update: The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes, in "Sarah Palin, celebritician:"
... The reality is that Palin is as much celebrity as she is politician — call her a “celebritician” — and only by evaluating everything she does in that light is there a possibility of properly understanding the motivations and goals of her actions.Update: The New York Times' "Signs Grow That Palin May Run" mentions the movie and offers some starting points for speculation about what may be motivating Palin.
Viewed that way, the Palin movie is not a radical departure but rather entirely consistent with her transformation from small-state politician to worldwide celebrity.
Dating all the way back to her decision to resign from the governorship in 2009 with 18 months left on her first term, Palin’s life choices seem to be dictated far more by a desire to build a personal brand in the culture at large than to carve out space for herself in the political world. ...
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
... The real signal that Palin isn’t running — and, thus, playing with the political press like a cat toy — was highlighted during a rhetorical victory lap by Lawrence O’Donnell on May 16, the day Donald Trump bowed out of running for president.There is video of O'Donnell's "victory lap" at Capehart's column (link above).
According to O’Donnell, the March 2 announcement by Fox News that the contributor contracts of Newt Gingrich and former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) had been suspended because of their plans to run for president should have been the tip off. Palin and former governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) were rumored then to be considering a campaign. Yet, their names were noticeably absent [from the list of suspended Fox News contributors]. ...
Palin may be playing a very dangerous game with the political press, especially so when part of that press employs her. Is Palin stringing-along Fox?
Capehart's column also has a link to his Palin is not running for president column of April 13th.
Rebecca Mansour is Sarah Palin's web guru, aggressive online defender, and maybe a little bit of a troll. She's somewhat elusive, and the subject of much fascination among people in the part of the Venn diagram where interests in Palin minutae, Twitter, and gossip overlap. The Atlantic Wire falls into that space, naturally, and that's why The Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong's collection of Mansour's private messages is so fascinating. She indicates her boss was planning to run for president last summer, and that she thinks Mitt Romney is a joke, a conservative blogger is a jerk, and that Bristol Palin is a little bit embarrassing. ...The second link, above, takes you to another story by Reeve about Mansour; the third to the Daily Caller's story, which omits some of Mansour's tweets about Palin family dynamics.
Is this a story of betrayal? Does Mansour have any direct knowledge of the family dynamics?
This story reminds me of what the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza recently wrote about the fire in Palin's belly: 'We take Palin at her word that she has the requisite “fire in the belly” necessary to run. But does she have her mind wrapped around the mechanics of how (and if) she could turn intrigue over her and her family into actual votes?'
In any case, it's interesting that Reeve has used a Venn diagram to get a better understanding of someone's fans. Update: Reeve is considering people interested in Palin as a set of people. Like any set, that set may contain subsets. Reeve has identified three of those subsets: those interested in Palin minutiae, those interested in Twitter, and those interested in gossip. Reeve's "overlap" is the intersection -- in set theory terms -- of those three subsets.
Update: Mansour last tweeted on the 20th, after a tweet on the 16th. It appears as though her tweet rate has fallen dramatically.
Update: Politico's Andy Barr has written "Heat from tweets for Palin aide," which indicates that it may be some time before anyone knows whether Mansour is still a Palin aide.
Update: Politico's Ben Smith has written, "Don't talk to strangers, Palin edition," in which he tells how he was offered Mansour's tweets last fall by one "Toki de la Vega." Don't you think that he (or she) must be some sort of Spanish explorer -- conquistador? -- with a name like that?
Anyway, Smith also writes, "[W]e and most other outlets would also have printed them [the tweets] had we obtained them, as story does shed light on the inside of Palin's small circle." Did Reeve miss a subset?
Monday, May 23, 2011
... In Palin he [Bailey] found a leader who elegantly fused faith and politics. She exuded charm, energy and idealism, and, most important, she inspired trust. Bailey was politically smitten: “In my mind, God had chosen her, and this was His will.”Bailey's book promises to be a good read and goes on sale tomorrow. More than anything else, it may paint the best portrait of Sarah Palin, the mean and vindictive. Jeanne Devon and Ken Morris, who co-authored the book with Bailey, have recently written about the book, here, and here.
But God had his own plan for Frank Bailey. The political novice spent nearly four years at Palin’s side only to wind up disillusioned by his “Ronald Reagan in high heels.” In “Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin,” his political kiss-and-tell based on more than 50,000 Yahoo! account e-mails that he wrote or received as a campaign and administration staffer, Bailey paints a portrait of an erratic, vindictive, unethical politician. Palin emerges as a woman far more interested in power, fame and fortune than in the day-to-day grind of governing. “I am convinced,” Bailey writes, “that her priorities and personality are not only ill suited to head a political party or occupy national office, but would lead to a disaster of, well, biblical proportions.”
I hope the book quotes Sarah Palin saying, "I hate this damn job!" The reviewer, Steven Levingston, The Post's non-fiction editor, got the impression that Palin wasn't interested in the "day-to-day grind of governing." But a governor -- or president -- has to be able to handle the executive as well as the ceremonial duties of office. We should never forget that once Wasilla hired a city manager, Palin's mayoralty became a ceremonial post, with the city manager responsible for the day-to-day grind of governing.
Fox has already shown Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich the door, because they were thought to be serious about running for the nomination. As for Palin, the article states:
... [Ailes ...] had little choice but to force the hands of the candidates on his payroll. In late February, Shine [Bill Shine, the network's programming chief] made calls to Palin and her husband, Todd, to ask if she was going to run for president. The Palins told him they hadn’t decided. “I’m not sure Sarah has made up her mind one way or the other,” a Palin adviser told me. The network is working hard to get a definitive answer out of her. ...About two weeks earlier, Huckabee had been called into a meeting with Shine and Dianne Brandy, the network's general counsel, to be quizzed about his intentions, and, apparently, the network concluded that Huckabee wasn't seriously considering a run. They kept him, and, recently, Huckabee publicly said that he wouldn't run.
If Palin were running, she would have had to have left Fox News. If she does intend to run and is stringing the network along until she announces, then she may pay a price in terms of campaign coverage. Palin's may be an unusual case, however. Ailes is said to think, "Palin is an idiot," according to a Republican close to Ailes.
The article also describes how Ailes became disillusioned with Palin.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
... Arizonians should brace themselves: The Queen of Mean [apparently Sarah Palin] is coming to town, following the footsteps of daughter Bristol! To Scottsdale, Arizona, to be precise - according to a report of news outlet "azcentral" ...But notice that what he links to asks at the outset, "Has Sarah Palin bought a house in north Scottsdale?" It never once answers the question! Patrick's assertion that Palin has in fact bought a house in Scottsdale is typical of his response to many questions about what Palin is doing, has done, or might do. He believes and asserts as fact that she does or has done whatever he expects she might do. It's known as an expectation bias. Of course, he may be right (about the house in Scottsdale). A stopped clock is right twice a day.
But what if Palin has bought that house in Scottsdale? Does it have any meaning? In Arizona, there are what are known as "snowbirds." Those are people from cold climates who vacation in Arizona during the winter. There are even smart "snowbirds:" They have a summer house in northern Arizona and a winter house in southern Arizona. There is nothing unusual about "snowbirds."
Does anyone begrudge Palin's ability to buy a million-dollar-plus house? She has said that she's operating a public speaking business and, apparently, has had some success doing that. I don't mind if Palin buys a million-dollar house, but do think that Patrick is like a guy in the street asking passers-by to fight with him. I once heard -- didn't read -- that the very definition of a psychopath is someone who fights and fucks too much.Of course, there will be speculation -- Is that what "Patrick" is looking for? -- that Palin is "moving" to Arizona to grab John Kyl's soon-to-be-vacant senate seat or run for Congress in what may be a new district in -- gasp! -- an area in which Bristol Palin recently bought a house. Isn't something nefarious going on? Probably not. The article at The Arizona Republic's website also stated:
... The Arizona Democratic Party's website asked, "Is Sarah Palin moving to Arizona?" and used the rumors to try to raise money.How would she win an election in Arizona, considering those poll numbers?
The speculation was enough for Public Policy Polling, a Democratic company based in North Carolina, to include some questions about Palin in its most recent automated telephone survey of Arizona voters. One question asked respondents whether they would like for Palin to move to Arizona. Fifty-seven percent said no. Another 27 percent said they would like her to relocate to the state, while 16 percent were not sure. ...
I should add, if anyone is unfamiliar with how a U.S. President is elected, that Arizona isn't a good choice for a "home state" when considering a presidential bid. It is one of the least populous states and, therefore, isn't allocated as many electoral college votes as the more populous states are. Did being Arizona's "favorite son" win the election for John McCain in 2008?
Update: The Atlantic Wire's Ujala Sehgal writes:
... [T]here are many reasons why Palin might leave Alaska that have nothing to do with a bid for 2012 or a run for a seat in the Senate. Joshua Green described in The Atlantic that Palin's popularity in her home state is rapidly dwindling. A rumored Democratic poll showed her to be less popular in Alaska right now than Barack Obama. Green writes that though Palin, "still lives in Alaska, she has all but withdrawn from its public life, appearing only seldom and then usually to film her reality-television show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska."Maybe she's just sick of the cold weater, or wants to be closer to family, or would find it is easier to get to speaking engagements from Phoenix' airport. Then, too, Arizona's real-estate market is depressed at the moment and may seem to be a bargain to some.
If Alaska "has moved on" from Palin, as Green suggests, she may very well be ready to move on from Alaska. As a public figure, no doubt it is difficult for her to fly back and forth from Alaska to appearances around the country, and Arizona would be a more convenient location. There seems to be little keeping here in state. Her son Track is still in Alaska, but he recently married his high school sweetheart, People reports. Palin may also want to keep an eye on Bristol in Maricopa. Or maybe she's just sick of the cold weather. ...
Friday, May 20, 2011
... Asked by host Greta Van Sustren if she has the "fire in the belly" for a run, the former Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska governor responded, "that's a great question."
"I think my problem is that I do have the fire in my belly," said Palin, a Fox News contributor. "I am so adamantly supportive of the good traditional things about America and our free enterprise system and I want to make sure that America is put back on the right track and we only do that by defeating Obama in 2012. I have that fire in my belly."
"It's a matter for me of some kind of practical, pragmatic decisions that have to be made," Palin continued. "One is, with a large family, understanding the huge amount of scrutiny and the sacrifices that have to be made on my children's part in order to see their momma run for president. But yeah the fire in the belly -- it's there."
"That's kind of my problem is that it's such a roaring fire in my belly to preserve and restore all that's good about America that I struggle with that every single day," she added. ...
Palin attributes the fire to a desire to "preserve and restore all that's good about America," but doesn't tell us what has been lost and what may be lost. The story of America is a story of change. The CBS story hints that she may be bothered by a belief that America is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s.
Now, I'm not experiencing any heartburn, but think I would be if I believed nonsense like that.
Update: The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, who has grown increasingly skeptical of Palin's prospects over time, concludes an interesting post with: "We take Palin at her word that she has the requisite “fire in the belly” necessary to run. But does she have her mind wrapped around the mechanics of how (and if) she could turn intrigue over her and her family into actual votes?"
Update: The NY Times' The Caucus blog has a story about whether Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann will run. It appears as though Bachmann is closer to an announcement that Palin.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
... I realize that the Wasilla Assembly of God taught Sarah that Sigmund Freud was Sigmund Fraud, and that she’s believed it ever since, but that doesn’t immunize her from what the rest of us might call a Freudian slip. Speaking of Gingrich’s recent stumble out of the gate, Hannity asked her, in regard to 2012, “Is there going to be a different standard?” Meaning: will candidates be held accountable for their words? Sarah said:To his credit, McGinniss doesn't seem to know what to make of it, but several commenters expressed what may be an expectation bias with comments that essentially said, "I knew it! She's going to run."
There’s gotta be the preparation on all the candidates’ parts for those gotchas. That’s what the lamestream media is known for nowadays is the gotcha, trip-up questions, and I just have to be prepared for it and overcome it. (emphasis added.)
Why would someone who did not intend to seek the Republican nomination say “I”?
If she weren’t planning to run–notwithstanding how she makes everything about herself–wouldn’t she have said “they?”
Dr. Fraud, where are you now that we need you? ...
This is the problem: People can't believe that Palin is a liar, an unreliable narrator or speaks "word salad" and at the same time believe what she says, unless they're willing to embrace inconsistent ideas. Think about that!
Her statement may have been a failure to completely express a conditional or subjunctive statement, like, "If I run, I just have to be prepared for it ["gotcha, trip-up questions"] or "If I were running, I would have to be prepared for it." How can we know without asking a follow-up question?
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Direct mail solicitations typically get a 1% response rate, so we might expect 4000 people to respond to the PAC's letter. Even if 4000 people send an average of $100, the PAC will only raise $400,000; at an average of $1000 -- unlikely -- the PAC would raise $4,000,000. $400,000 may not seem a small amount to Joe and Jane Average, but it is in presidential politics where fund-raising ability on a large scale really matters: more than $1 Billion was spent during the 2008 campaign. One candidate spent about 3/4 of a billion dollars.
A Los Angeles Times story about Romney's fund-raising prowess notes -- while writing about last quarter's reports -- that Ron Paul raised about $3 Million with two PACs and adds, "Money raised through PACs can’t be used for a presidential bid." [emphasis added]
Can money raised by Palin's PAC be used to fund a presidential bid? A run by Palin?
Friday, May 13, 2011
On September 8, 2008, Howard Kurtz wrote in his "Piling on Palin" column at The Washington Post:
... When the McCain campaign announced last Monday that 17-year-old Bristol Palin is pregnant, there was no reason to avoid covering it, and it is one heck of a human interest story. But the reason the campaign went public is that national reporters were calling to ask about charges by an anonymous blogger on Daily Kos that the governor faked her own pregnancy and is actually the grandmother of 4-month-old Trig.
Campaign officials were deluged with questions from reputable news outlets about the governor's amniotic fluid, the timing of her contractions and whether she would take a DNA test to establish the baby's parentage, not to mention bogus charges about her son being a drug abuser. There's an important distinction here -- mainstream outlets have not given such rumors any credence -- but that is lost on frustrated McCain aides who have to ask Palin about each new line of inquiry. ...
And The New York Times' Monica Davey wrote on September 1, 2008, in "Palin Daughter’s Pregnancy Interrupts G.O.P. Convention Script:"
... The Palins’ statement arrived after a flurry of rumors had made their way through the Internet over the weekend, growing and blooming, it seemed, by the minute.Reporters were asking questions; there was not a "spiral of silence," -- interestingly, a turn of phrase that itself rings of conspiracy: I am not sure whether some aren't projecting their own conspirational mindset onto journalists. Instead, the media didn't report that Sarah Palin faked a pregnancy because there wasn't evidence to write a story that she did. It's an interesting misconception -- perhaps perversion -- of journalists' responsibilities to believe that they should report rumor as fact.
Some claimed that Ms. Palin had not actually given birth to Trig, but that Bristol had, and that the family had covered it up. Various Web sites posted photographs of Ms. Palin in the months leading up to his birth this year, and debated whether her physique might have been too trim for her stage of pregnancy. The McCain campaign said Ms. Palin announced Bristol’s pregnancy to stop the swirl of rumors.
Ms. Palin’s own pregnancy took Alaska by surprise this year. Even those who worked for her in the governor’s office said they were surprised. Her announcement, in March, was reported in The Anchorage Daily News, which noted at the time that Ms. Palin “simply doesn’t look pregnant.” ...
Interestingly, both writers state that they were informed by the campaign that Bristol Palin's pregnancy was announced to stop the rumor that Sarah Palin was not the mother of Trig.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
What is it? How should I know? I don't know who the subject of any of the pictures is, old or new, because I've never seen Bristol Palin. Nor do I know anything about the camera/lens, lighting, distance, or angle of the shots, not to mention whether they've been photoshopped.
There is another possibility! Bristol has a double. It's common among celebrities, corporate executives and politicians. One reason they employ a double is out of concern for their safety: The president of a huge corporation may have to address a shareholders meeting, but some people may hate the company, so the pres. wants to make sure he (or she) can safely travel to the meeting. Out comes the double, into a limo, then the motorcade proceeds to the convention hall. All the while the pres. gets into his own car and drives himself to the meeting. Why? If anyone is planning an attack, they'll attack the double.
Doesn't that make a lot of sense? Isn't it possible that Bristol has a double? Wouldn't that explain a lot?
Sunday, May 1, 2011
No sooner had President Obama released his long-form birth certificate than Orly Taitz, the doyenne of the “birther” movement, found reason to doubt it.
“A step in the right direction,” she said, even though it was precisely the document that many birthers had been demanding of the president. And then she argued that it was still subject to authentication.
Donald Trump, similarly bouffant, blond and politically inclined, likewise breezed past the new evidence of Mr. Obama’s citizenship, pausing only to take credit for forcing the release of the document before suggesting that the president was hiding something else — bad grades.
So much for Mr. Obama’s hopes of stopping the “silliness.”
To many, those who doubt Mr. Obama’s citizenship are driven simply by racial prejudice; they are unwilling to allow that America’s first black president could hold the office legitimately.
Many scholars of conspiracy theory agree. But they also note that such theories are hardly unique to Mr. Obama; they have a long history in the United States and elsewhere, coming from left and right, covering all sorts of subjects, political and otherworldly (the twin towers were not hit by airplanes; Paul is dead). And those who doubt Mr. Obama’s citizenship fit the mold of other conspiracy theorists: they don’t loose their grip on their beliefs easily, if at all. ...
Ms. Zernike describes some other conspiracy theories, then writes,
In a way, it is human nature to want to construct a narrative to resolve anxieties, to be drawn to mystery or the perception of it.Ms. Zernike's article is worth reading in its entirety, here, and Richard Hofstadter's essay, "The paranoid style in American politics," can be read, here, at Harpers Magazine, where it appeared in 1964.
But the strong embrace of conspiracy theories is also embedded in the American experience. A fear of enemies — real and imagined, internal and external — defined those who forged this country. A place created as God’s country was bound to see the subversions of Satan behind every uncertain turn. ...
... What Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style in American politics” is encouraged by popular culture, in movies like “Birth of a Nation” and “The Da Vinci Code,” and by those whom Professor Goldberg [a history professor at the University of Utah and the author of “Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America.”] terms the “conspiracy entrepreneurs” — whether Glenn Beck or Jerome Corsi, who went from self-styled expert on John Kerry’s military record to self-styled expert on Barack Obama’s heritage. The Internet, where you never have to confront an idea you don’t like, allows these theories to grow deeper and wider. ...
Ms. Zernike makes the point that the "paranoid style" is not just an affliction of what Hofstadter called the "Radical Right" and isn't only seen in a political context.
Update: Hofstadter's essay is also featured in a collection of links at "The Paranoid Mentality."