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Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Drudge is promoting Jerome Corsi's forthcoming book Where's the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President with a lot of usual Drudge hype: "It's utterly devastating," reveals a source close to the publisher. "Obama may learn things he didn't even know about himself!" The book is published by WND Books, the publishing house for Joseph Farah's WorldNetDaily. Farah is a fundamentalist publisher and former ghostwriter for Rush Limbaugh who was a major player in the Clinton Body Count paranoia (though he tried to avoid the issue when I confront him in a Washington Post online forum).
Of course, all this Birther hype is nonsense and Richard Hofstadter's theories explain why people believe this kind of absurd stuff. However, Hofstadter's theories don't explain why about half the GOP base believes batshit stuff like this as well as easily discredited things such as the belief that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama or that Obama is a Muslim.
I think this can be explained in cultural and economic terms. Both Democrats and Republicans appeal to people whose economic interests do not correspond with each party's legislative agenda--I'm speaking of rich people who vote Democratic and poor and working class people who vote Republican. Democrats appeal to rich peoples' better angels and the rich people who vote Democratic realize that it is ultimately in their overall best interest to have a strong middle class in this country.
On the other hand, Republicans appeal to the reptilian brains of poor, uneducated, and working class people. Also, in the past thirty years, the GOP has sought religious fundamentalists (as I pointed out, it was no big surprise that many of the people responsible for the Vince Foster conspiracy theories in the 1990's were involved in the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980's). Most Republican operatives know that the Birther issue is bullshit, the way that the Clinton Body Count was bullshit; however, these conspiracy theories keep the GOP base psyched up during low-turnout midterm elections because these people are convinced that not only are Democratic presidents the wrong man for the office, but they are illegitimate.
However, there is one big difference between the anti-Clinton conspiracy theories of the 1990's and the anti-Obama paranoia. In the 1990's, the GOP had a good situation: they were able to narrowcast their paranoid message through the Rush Limbaugh show and Jerry Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour. It also helped that the Clinton administration's response to right-wing ratfucking was inept and feckless (e.g., here and here). However, the case is different now. With the advent of groups like Media Matters for America, the hard right can't narrowcast their paranoid message anymore. With issues such as Birtherism, the GOP is paying a price with independents who rightfully view the GOP base as increasingly nutty.
Addendum: I've corresponded with Corsi; the one thing I got from our correspondence is that Corsi loves to dish it out but he can't take it.
UPDATE: The fair and balanced Foxs News is promoting Corsi's book.