With all the euphoria and joy that greeted the Barack Obama’s presidential win last year, it’s easy to forget that huge amounts of Americans didn’t actually vote for him, especially right wing Republican voters. Even now many are still struggling to come to terms with his victory, and conspiracy theories are increasingly being used to undermine the new president, the latest one being that Obama wasn’t even born in America and therefore shouldn’t be president!
During the election campaign some Republicans tried to portray Obama as being ‘un-American’ one theory I heard on a number of occasions was that Obama was really a Muslim who converted to Islam during his time in Indonesia as a child. On top of that his middle name is Hussein, which must make him a Muslim! I’ve now been hearing a new conspiracy theory which states that Obama is an ‘illegitimate’ president as he wasn’t really born in America at all, but instead was born in Kenya!
There’s a movement, which has developed in the US around this theory, which is known as the ‘birther movement’. They believe that Obama was born in Kenya and then later smuggled into America by his mother. This conspiracy supposedly developed because there was no paper copy available of Obama’s birth certificate, but in Hawaii where Obama was born they digitalised their records some years back. Print outs of this digital version show that Obama was born in Honolulu in 1961, but for many this is still not good enough.
What’s amazing to think or maybe more worrying, is that many Republican voters either don’t believe or aren’t 100% convinced that Obama was actually born in America. Senior republican politicians and right wing TV and radio commentators are now promoting this belief further.
One of the most high profile commentators is the radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh who is quoted as saying that Obama is:
‘yet to prove that he is actually a citizen’
If you choose to believe the conspiracy, then you have to except that Obama’s mother travelled to Kenya whilst pregnant to give birth to him. Why would she leave America to give birth in a poor African country? Secondly how would she have got Obama back into the US when he wouldn’t have had a US passport? None of it makes any sense, and how would she know she’d just given birth to a future American president?
In this country we look at America as being our closet political ally, we like to think we have a similar culture and outlook, but conservatism in America particularly right wing Republicanism is something from another planet! I’m constantly amazed at the views and opinions that emerge from such people.
Whether it’s on abortion, gun control, religion, stem cell research the list is endless. I constantly shake my head in disbelief! It would be easy to laugh off many of the views on such topics along with this Obama ‘birther’ conspiracy if you thought it was just a small extremist minority, but it isn’t! It’s ordinary Americans, and many senior politicians.
It’s as if after 8 years of Republican rule under George Bush, they just can’t except that the majority of the American electorate have voted for an alternative. During the election campaign it didn’t surprise me that various conspiracies started to emerge that Obama was a Muslim, or some sort of ‘Trojan Horse’ communist. Fair enough that was during the election campaign, politics is a dirty business.
But even now after losing, Republicans still can’t except that they lost and are thinking up even more ridiculous and outlandish conspiracy theories to prove that Obama shouldn’t be the President of the United States.
It’s funny how they’ve quickly forgotten that in 2000, George Bush didn’t even win the majority vote against Al Gore, but still managed to get elected. They never questioned the legitimacy of Bush’s first term in office.
To be honest none of this comes as a surprise, because the Republican right acted in exactly the same way during the 1990’s constantly plotting against the Clintons, particularly during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
In trying to impeach Bill Clinton, their actions increasingly looked like a classic witch-hunt to oust the then president from office. I wouldn’t surprise me that the longer Obama stays in power, the more desperate Republicans will become to find ways to discredit him.
It’s as if even when Republicans lose an election they still seem to think that they should be in office. To them having a democratically elected Democrat president is actually some sort of Liberal Coup!
The more I read and hear about US politics the more I find right wing Republicanism nasty and distasteful. To think in this country the Conservative Party used to have a reputation as being the ‘nasty’ party of British politics. They’re like cuddly teddy bears in comparison.
I’m just grateful Obama won the election last year, but you just know that the Republican right, will be coming at him even harder as his presidency unfolds.