Sorry Alex, It's The Left That Won't Let Birtherism Die
During the height of Birtherism among Republicans, I was active in GOP politics including serving as precinct chair. I remember engaging in many heated discussions (I have witnesses) trying to convince fellow Republicans to drop the notion that President Obama was not born in Hawaii. Not only independent and corroborating facts did not support the theory that he was born outside the United States - I would argue - but it was a counterproductive line of attack. Yet the fever persisted and did not break until, ironically, Donald Trump jumped into the fray. Once he forced Obama to release the long form of his birth certificate, the subject disappeared from conversations and email chains. There were a few diehards (as the always are) but the overwhelming majority of Republicans moved on - something the Left has yet to do.
In his article, my colleague Alex Knepper, asked the question "Why today, with Obama out of office forever, is Arpaio still fixated on the 'Birther' question?" It seems to me that it was Chris Cuomo who was fixated on Birtherism. It was Cuomo who raised the question while Arpaio seemed reluctant to address the issue and only responded after being pushed. In Alex's world, unless someone prostrates before Obama, self-flagellates for offending him and begs forgiveness, he or she will be deemed to be "fixated on Birtherism". The same attitude that was displayed during the last presidential campaign when, after Trump declared that he believed Obama was born in Hawaii, the Left just couldn't let it go. "He didn't apologize", they said and added "Just proves he's still a racist."
Alex's argument rests on the assumption that there was no basis for any rational person to believe that Obama "was a leftist infiltrator who doesn't love his country and is bitter and resentful toward white people". Had right wingers not bought into such a ridiculous narrative, they would have never embraced, to varying degrees, Birtherism. Unfortunately for Alex, Obama's own actions and words gave rise to the narrative.
Let's set aside the inaccurate (he was born in America) characterization of Obama as an infiltrator and focus on the rest of Alex's statement. It was Obama who proudly declared his desire to "fundamentally transform America". Perhaps it was a poor choice of words but they were his words and not something concocted by deranged right wingers. It was Obama, in a 2001 interview, who chastised the Warren Court for not venturing into issues of "redistribution of wealth and more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society". He lamented the Constitution placing limits on what government can do - he called it a "charter of negative liberties" - and expressed a preference for a document that lays out "what government must do on your behalf". The views he articulated are standard left wing language and stances, is it unreasonable to believe Obama was a leftist who wanted to transform America?
As far Obama not loving his country, his pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright, routinely denounced America from the pulpit. He referred to Obama's country as the U.S. of KKK, blamed it for the misery of the third world, attributed 9/11 to the "America's chickens coming home to roost" and urged not to bless America but to damn it. The Left has summarily labeled anyone who opposes the removal of Confederate statues as a white supremacist but deems outrageous to suggest that Obama did not love America even though he sat in Reverend Wright's church not for 20 days or 20 weeks or 20 months but for 20 YEARS! On having an animosity towards whites, again Obama's own words betrayed him. While defending his mentor's racist, hateful sermons, he characterized his grandmother as a "typical white person" because she feared black men and used racial epithets. If someone suggests that racism comes naturally to white people, is it wholly irrational to think there might be some animosity towards them?
It is the Left that has latched on to Birtherism and just won't let it go. For them it has become a shorthand way to discern and label someone a racist. No need for long questionnaires. Just one question, "Are you a Birther?" If the answer is yes, yup a racist. Never mind that president Chester A. Arthur - a white man - was the first victim of Birtherism. He was alleged to be born in Canada and not Vermont as he claimed. It also provides the Left and quick and sure way to put establishment Republicans on the defensive. "Do you condemn (fill in the blank) for being a Birther?" The usual Republican will hurridly reply yes before running to the hills. Above all, the Left will never let go of Birtherism because it allows white progressives to virtual signal. Acting personally offended by any suggestion that Obama was born in Kenya is a way for them to communicate to their non-white brethren how much they care about the scourge of racism and that they are not 'your typical white person'.