Rough transcript follows
The profiteers who organized the Tea Bagger convention in Nashville last week were hoping to begin adding a veneer of respectability to their movement, which has been characterized so far by the visuals of its adherents showing up at rallies with tea bags stapled to their hats, carrying racist signs and/or loaded weapons.
The organizers sabotaged themselves, however, by inviting, first, Tom Tancredo, the former congressman and GOP presidential candidate, to speak during the opening night event, and then Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WorldNetDaily, to speak the next night after the steak and lobster dinner.
Tancredo, who has had ties to a South Carolina neo-Confederate group, used his time to call for the return of requiring that prospective voters to take Jim Crow-era civics literacy tests — even though it’s doubtful that the tea baggers themselves could pass such tests.
When Farah took to the podium the next night, he went into a lengthy presentation meant to stiffen the spines of tea baggers who have strayed from the birther cause. Political types in the room were dumbfounded. The matter of the president’s birth certificate had been thoroughly vetted — by the Clinton and McCain campaigns, we can be assured, by reporters of all persuasions and in court. It was litigated all the way up to the GOP-controlled U.S. Supreme Court — a court, as recent history shows, that is not averse to overturning presidential elections.
In his speech, Farah returned to the birther demand that Pres. Obama produce a hard copy of his birth certificate — apparently finding unacceptable the state of Hawaii’s policy of releasing what they refer to as “certificates of live births” — even though these documents are, well, “birth certificates” that have been used by millions of Hawaiians, including Pres. Obama, to obtain driver’s licenses, passports and other legal documents.
Farah also misquoted a DailyKos/Research 2000 poll — which he failed to name as his source, for obvious reasons — saying, “… 33 percent of Californians either believe Obama was born outside the country or have doubts about his alleged Hawaiian birth. Nationwide it’s closer to 50 percent. Even significant numbers of Democrats have their doubts.”
The Kos poll was nationwide, not just California. (If he’s referring to another recent poll that found that 10 million Californians believe such nonsense, this Californian hasn’t heard of it and could not find it in a quick google.) More importantly, the Kos poll surveyed only Republicans, not All Americans, and, finally, the Kos poll found that just 4 percent of Democrats believe the president is foreign-born — which is close to the margin of error and hardly “significant.”
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of his speech was Farah’s breaking of tea bagger taboo with a long, laborious comparison of Pres. Obama and Jesus Christ. Although he began with a joke he credited to Rush Limbaugh comparing Obama with God because neither of them had a birth certificate, Farah began listing chapters of the New Testament that he said proved Jesus’ lineage back to Adam, Abraham and King David. The gospel-writers included this information about Jesus, Farah said, in order to prove that “[He] was in the position to claim the throne of David because he was the physical descendant through the line of Joseph. And he was also eligible through the line of Mary, his biological mother, because she had no brothers and because she married within the tribe of Judah. All these little nitpicky details had to be established, and they were.”
If you believe in the virgin birth, you also must believe that Jesus was not biologically related to Joseph. If you believe the creation story in Genesis, all humans can trace their lineage back to Adam — even Pres. Obama. Similarly, aren’t all Jews supposed to be descended from Father Abraham? And, at least in the Southern Baptist Church where this sinner learned the rules 40 years ago, God’s choice of Jesus to rule the world was all the lineage He needed.
Of course, facts don’t matter to propagandists like Farah. While it may be true that he is not a “noted homosexual” as a prankster at Wikipedia repeatedly claimed, he is one of the right-wing conspiracists who rose to fame in the 1990s fanning the flames of Clinton derangement. For example, he went on promoting the cruel and bizarre fantasy that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton had her friend and colleague Vince Foster killed long after three federal investigations — including two by Republican independent counsels, first Robert Fiske and then Ken Starr — had pronounced Foster’s death a suicide.
The made-up controversy over Obama’s birth certificate has become a non-issue among right wingers who are sufficiently sentient to understand that even if Obama were disqualified, it would be his vice president, Joe Biden, who would become president — not, as tea baggers seem to believe, his 2008 GOP rival, John McCain (who, by the way, really was born in the foreign nation of Panama) and their beloved Sarah Palin.
FARAH: You know, I have a dream. And my dream is that if Barack Obama even seeks re-election as president in 2012 that he won’t be able to go to any city, any town, any hamlet in America without seeing signs that ask “Where’s the Birth Certificate?”
It’s a simple question, and it has not been answered, despite what Bill O’Reilly will tell you. The rest of the media, they think it’s ridiculous, which makes me certain it’s one of the most important questions we can be asking.
[Crowd hoots and cheers.]
It really hits the target. You know polls now show — in California last week — a poll done in California — 33 percent of Californians either believe Obama was born outside the country or have doubts about this alleged Hawaiian birth. Nationwide it’s closer to 50 percent. Even significant numbers of Democrats have their doubts.
But the media and the politicians, they keep pretending it’s all been settled. “You know, it’s all been proved.” I say if it’s been settled, show us the birth certificate. Simple.
Just this week you probably saw Barack Obama’s appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast. And he said, “Don’t question my faith and don’t question my citizenship. Now why should his citizenship be a matter of faith?
[Laughter from the crowd]
Are we supposed — we’re not supposed to see the evidence? Now some people think I’m obsessed about this issue. [Laughter] I admit it. I’m obsessed with the Constitution.
[Crowd howls in approval, applaud.]
I think every American should be. I think every office-holder who takes an oath to uphold it should be. I think every journalist who practices the profession under the Constitution’s protections should be. Does the Constitution mean what it says? Does it actually limit what the Congress and the federal government can do?
I had an interview today with National Public Radio. [Crowd groans.] Oh, no, no. The lady was — lovely lady interviewed me, and it was going pretty well, and I mentioned the Constitution, and then she said, “Well, you know, but the Constitution is a living document — [Crowd: NO!] — and that’s why we have the Supreme Court to explain to us peons what it really means. And so I said to her, “You know, if you believe that, Nichelle, I’d like to play poker with you under “living rules.” High stakes poker under living rules.
But what about this Constitution? Can it — can Congress constitutionally require Americans to buy medical insurance?
Does Obama have the constitutional power to appoint unaccountable czars to rule over virtually every aspect of our lives?
Does Congress have the power to kill or prohbit freedom of speech of talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh?
Do we have a right to bear arms or not?
You passed the test! So what’s wrong with being obsessed about upholding the Constitution? Without it, America ceases to be America. Some people …
Some people say it’s not important where Barack Obama was born. Some think the Constitution is just an archaic old document, or worse it’s a “living document,” one that changes meaning over time. And to those people I say, “There’s a process for amending the Constitution.
But it’s the basis for all our laws. It’s the glue that holds us together, that binds us as a people, as a nation state, and we abrogate it and abuse it our great peril. I take seriously its eligibility requirements for presidents. I admit it. You know, Rush Limbaugh had a funny line when he asked, What do God and Barack Obama have in common?” And his answer is, “Neither one of them has a birth certificate.”
It’s a funny line, but as with all humor, it contains only some truth. And let me preface this by saying I’m a Christian, and I make no apologies about that. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ.
[Applause, hoots from audience.]
And I recognize that there are people of many faiths here with us today and in this movement, but I want to share with you briefly how the most important birth in history — that of Jesus of Nazareth — was so well-documented. Unlike Barack Obama’s. Jesus established himself as the Messiah and saviour of the world by providing not one but two separate and distinct geneological records. One going back all the way to Adam and another tracing his kingly lineage back to Abraham.
So, even if there were no birth certificates maintained 2,000 year ago in ancient Israel, there’s no doubt about where he was born, when and his parentage. Jesus recognized those qualifications were essential to establishing his right to his earthly throne as King of the Jews.
In fact, look at your Bibles. The first 17 verses of Matthew are devoted to His geneology through the line of Mary. The next nine verses including the first verse of the second chapter are devoted to who, what, where, when and why of his birth! The rest of the second chapter is devoted to the actions of Joseph and Mary in protecting the young Jesus from efforts to put him to death. Likewise, the first 15 verses of the third chapter of Luke are devoted to Jesus’ geneology — this time through the line of Joseph, his adoptive father.
Now WHY?! Why all the geneological details? Because they were critical. Jesus was in the position to claim the throne of David because he was the physical descendant through the line of Joseph. And he was also eligible through the line of Mary, his biological mother, because she had no brothers and because she married within the tribe of Judah. All these little nitpicky details had to be established, and they were.
Tracing one’s lineage back to the time of Adam was quite an ordeal even 2,000 years ago, it would have been far more challenging than simply producing a simple piece of paper, a document, every American is forced to produce at various points in his life, to play in the Little League, to compete in high school sports, to get a driver’s license, to get a passport, to enter the Military service and so on.
But Jesus did that. His disciples thought it was important enough to include in their gospels. That’s because God didn’t want there to be any doubt about Jesus’ eligibility or qualification to be the King of Kings.
There’s a lesson in this story for Barack Obama. His nativity story is much less known. The people have many questions about it. There are many inconstitencies in the official story. No one has been permitted to see the one document that might shed light on his claim to the presidency as a natural born citizen. Instead, we’re asked to accept on faith that he is.
We’re asked to believe that a subsitute document providing none of the grainy [?] corroborating details and eyewitness testimony we find on genuine birth certificates — is all we really need…
- Section: News & Comment