REVEALED! The Conspiracy Theory Behind the Birther Conspiracy Theory

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

I’m not one of those media types who dismisses the so-called birthers – those who believe President Obama wasn’t born in this country – out of hand. I take them very, very seriously. Heck, according to some polling, half of Republicans might be birthers.

It just seems impossible to me that such a large group of people would persist in making the same, thoroughly discredited claim over and over if there weren’t something else going on. I mean, every public record, including his birth certificate, show he was born in Hawaii. (And by the way, as a Little League coach, I’ve had to become an expert in birth certificates—the umpires check them all the time these days – and I can tell you the Obama one isn’t a forgery). The birthers have been mocked up and down the dial and across the political spectrum. It’d be crazy to keep going once you’ve been so thoroughly debunked, right?

So the birthers can’t be crazy. They must be a front for something else.

I smell a conspiracy behind the conspiracy.
What could it be?

I pondered this question during a recent reporting trip to Imperial County. It was 110 degrees. I had forgotten to bring water. I was really thinking out of the box.

Here’s how I broke it down.

-The birthers seem crazy.

-The birthers say they are defending the U.S. Constitution

-In particular, the birthers say they are defending the “natural-born citizen” clause of the constitution. That’s the requirement that a U.S. president be born a citizen. Everyone born in the U.S. is, under the constitution a citizen.

All of which leads to the inescapable conclusion: The discredited birthers, by associating themselves with the “natural born citizen” clause, must be part of a conspiracy to discredit the clause itself.

Which means: whoever is behind the birther movement is someone who wants to make the natural born citizen clause seem crazy – and thus allow any citizen, regardless of birth, to serve as president.
As a policy matter, that makes a lot of sense actually. Too much sense, actually.

Who would be behind such a conspiracy? To figure that out, we must then see who would stand to gain.

Perhaps some foreign power is planning something? No, too obvious. And it’s too hard to send someone over and get them Americanized and elected president. No one thinks that long term, not even Putin.

Perhaps it’s some fringe American group that wants to destroy the existing order? Like the Larouche people. No, this is just too complicated for them. Complicated—hey, maybe it could be the mortgage brokers or maybe the investment bankers? Oh, that’s right. They’ve overthrown the system already.

No, this birther conspiracy feels more immediate, more urgent. More personal. Someone must need to terminate the “natural born citizen” clause soon. Perhaps someone who already holds high office, but is prevented by the clause from rising to the presidency.
Who could that possibly be?

Oh, my God! The answer might be right here under our noses. In this very state.

Now, I don’t want to say who. After all, I have no evidence, no proof, no reporting and not even a single fact to buttress my theory.

But why should that stop anyone these days?

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