It's quite funny in retrospect to remember how the press ridiculed the preoccupation of many people who questioned Barack Obama's eligibility to become and then to be President over the "birther" issue from late 2008 until early 2011.
Now look at who's obsessed. The press refuses to recognize that it has lost an issue it thought could use to bury the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. They won't let it go, even though that train left the station on September 16. It would be hard to find a more obvious example of this obsession than was seen yesterday at MSNBC, when Chris Hayes refused to talk about anything else with Omarosa Manigault, the Trump campaign's director of African-American outreach.
After the Obama administration produced President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate in April 2011, the issue's visibility fell sharply for the next five years. When Trump secured the Republican Party's presidential nomination, the establishment press, a de facto arm of the Democratic Party and its presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, apparently figured that they could torpedo his candidacy by reviving it. The strategy hasn't worked, and the press is beside itself with frustration and fury.
Before last night's first presidential debate, Hayes tried to badger Manigault about the "birther" issue, and the former Apprentice contestant verbally hammered him.
Omarosa clearly rattled Hayes with the passion of her pushback, which included her correct insistence that it was not Donald Trump who started the 'birther' rumors, and her ridicule of concerns over Trump's qualifications when he's running against an opponent who "puts a server with national security details in the basement of her home" (HT Washington Examiner):
Given all the crosstalk, here is as much of a transcript as one can hope to get from the intense exchange. It begins after Hayes apparently attempted to begin the interview with a "birther" question (bolds are mine):
CHRIS HAYES: A lot of people are interested in the —
OMAROSA MANIGAULT: And believe me, the birther issue is not the top issue. We have young black men being killed in the country, we have people rioting in the streets of Charlotte and you wanna start with birther? Shame on you.
Americans want to talk about real issues. So let's talk real issues. And tonight's the biggest stage to talk about those big issues.
HAYES: Respectfully, respectfully —
MANIGAULT (over frequent attempts by Hayes to interrupt): Respectfully. There are issues, when you — I go to my hometown in Youngstown, Ohio. They're not talking about birther issues. They wanna know how they’re going to fill their prescriptions and fill their gas tanks. They don’t wanna talk about some conspiracy theories you all are floating around.
They’re talking about how they’re going to feed their family, where they’re going to send their children to school, whether they’re going to be safe, whether there’s going to be a job for them when they show up for work. So you wanna talk about birthers — let’s talk about the fact that tonight is a big issue for Donald Trump, and he is ready.
HAYES: The conspiracy theory originated with the man, the conspiracy theory originated with the man who's currently running for office. It's a conspiracy theory that alleged that a sitting president of the United States —
MANIGAULT: It originated? Are you sure that it originated with —
HAYES: He was the most —
MANIGAULT: Oh, c'mon. You're a journalist. You know where this started.
HAYES: You don't think he was not the most prominent endorser of that—
MANIGAULT (in disbelief, again over frequent interruption attempts by Hayes): Do you know where this started? Are you kidding me?
HAYES: It was not Hillary Clinton if that's where you're going to go.
MANIGAULT (again, over frequent interruption attempts by Hayes): You know that didn't start with Donald Trump. I mean, Blumenthal acknowledged that it might have started with a staffer in the Clinton campaign.
HAYES: Omarosa, if he was able to be persuaded of this obvious fact to people, it goes to the judgment of a man who will be the most powerful person in the world —
MANIGAULT (yet again, over frequent attempts at interruption by Hayes): What judgment does a woman who doesn't know whether something is a classified email or not? If she doesn't know what a classified email is, does she qualify to be the President of the United States?
You're dismissing qualification. You're dismissing qualification.
Is a woman who puts a server with national security details in the basement of her home qualified to be President? You're talking about qualifications? C'mon, let's have a serious discussion about the debate tonight. Let's talk about real issues where Americans are hurting. Let's not continue talking about things that you think will chop down my candidate, because he's focused on the debate tonight, where Americans want to hear: Who's fighting for them?
MANIGAULT: Who's going to be a voice for them? Who's going to put America first? That's going to be Donald J. Trump, and the birther issue is not on the table, because that's not what Americans want to talk about.
So if you want to have a real conversation, I'm here.
Ouch. That's going to leave a mark on poor, poor Chris.
To be "fair" to Hayes, who doesn't deserve it, his interrupting attempt concerned "how he (Trump) came about to believe that the President was born in the United States."
Geez, Chris, that game is over. The teams have gone home, and the refs have left the field. Oh, and the score is still: Hillary Clinton's campaign and supporters started the "birther" rumor mill, and Donald Trump ended it.
To rehash what is now well-documented, everyone in the universe familiar with the issue except fever-swamp leftists and journalists in the establishment press (but I repeat myself) knows full well that the "birther" rumor mill started with Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, that the rumors were actively shopped to various members of the press and the leftist blogger community by her longtime confidant, stranger to the truth, and "hatchet man" Sidney Blumenthal, and that the matter was hand-carried into long-term general visibility when Philip J. Berg, a Pennsylvania Democrat and a former deputy attorney general in that state, filed suit in federal court in August of 2008, "alleging that Obama was born actually in Mombasa, Kenya and that the 'Certification of Live Birth' on Obama's website is a forgery."
Trump put the issue to bed with the statement he made on September 16 when he announced that "Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period."
At the rate things are going, "Donald Trump started the birther issue" is going to be right up there with "Al Gore really won Florida in 2000" in a few years.
They can make such silly claims all they want, but all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth will never make them true. The good news is that the more they do it, the more likely it is that their audiences will continue to shrink.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.