[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Sarah Palin showed back up on Fox News' bottom-of-the-barrel show -- Justice With Judge Jeanine -- this weekend and put in a nice word for Donald Trump and his raving Birtherism.
Of course, we think Trump is just trying to make the rest of the GOP field look sane and intelligent by comparison. In which case, Palin just tossed away his little gift:
PALIN: Well, I appreciate that the Donald wants to spend his resources getting to the bottom of something that so interests him and many Americans. You know, more power to him. He's not just throwin' stones and, um, from the sidelines -- he's diggin' in there, he's paying for researchers to find out why President Obama would have spent two million dollars to not show his birth certificate.Of course, Obama has NOT spent "two million dollars" or anything close to that on this matter. What money he has spent has been on defending the legitimacy of his claim to be president against the lawsuits brought by nuts like Orly Taitz and Phil Berg -- not to "hide" his official birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, which he has in fact displayed publicly since 2008 -- and that money has been closer to a couple thousand dollars, if that much.
The claim that he spent this money originated with yet another phony story from WorldNutDaily, the home of All Things Birther. It was carefully examined by Mother Jones, which (surprise, surprise) found that it was another bit of dishonest absurdity:
Given the sheer number of cases, it seems plausible that the president and the government may have been forced to devote real resources to their defense. But in fact the opposite may be true: The birthers' own copious legal bungling could wind up costing them more than Obama will have to spend defending himself.And it's been pretty cheap to defend these suits, because the people bringing them are -- in addition to being irrational scam artists -- simply incompetent:
The birthers have peppered dozens of state and federal courts around the country with legal challenges—against the president and other government officials and organizations who had some role in allowing Obama's name to be placed on the ballot, including the Federal Election Commission, various state election officials, and the US Supreme Court.
Some of the suits, particularly those filed by the movement's leading lady, California lawyer/dentist Orly Taitz, have been headlined by members of the military claiming they've been wrongfully made to serve in foreign wars by an illegitimate commander in chief. Most recently, birther attorneys have represented car dealers who charge that Obama is a phony president who lacked the authority to order a restructuring of Chrysler that they say cost them their businesses.
WorldNetDaily has noted that FEC filings show that Obama's presidential campaign has paid out more than $1.7 million since the election to the law firm of Perkins Coie. Until recently, that firm was home to Obama's campaign lawyer, and now White House counsel, Robert Bauer—the very same DC lawyer, says WND, who has defended Obama in many of the birther lawsuits. Ergo, WND concluded, Obama must be devoting that entire $1.7 million to crushing birthers in court. This is a ridiculous claim: Even after an election is over a presidential campaign has plenty of need for lawyers as it winds down operations and meets campaign finance law requirements.
But the birthers' lawsuits don't exactly seem to be requiring Obama's lawyers—government or private—to burn the midnight oil.But Trump and Palin can get on Fox News and tell the world that he's spending millions to "hide" his birth certificate.
Roger West, an assistant US attorney in the central district of California, represented the government in a lawsuit brought by Taitz on behalf of perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes, asking the court to require that Obama prove he is a natural-born citizen.
The case has dragged on for more than a year, mostly because Taitz, a graduate of an online, unaccredited law school, failed to serve the defendants. Judge David O. Carter dismissed the suit in October for a host of reasons, but Taitz has appealed. Yet West says that far from bleeding his office, Taitz and her co-counsel Gary Kreep have assembled such a weak case that he hasn't had to spend much time on it. "I filed one motion that didn't take too long, we've had two hearings and that's it," he says. "It's not like we've devoted some sort of task force to this."
Army Major Rebecca Ausprung handled two of the birther cases against the Department of the Army that disputed Obama's authority as commander in chief to order soldiers to war. Ausprung says she spent a few hours drafting motions and doing research, and she did have to make three short trips to Georgia from Arlington, Virginia. She prevailed in both cases. "The monetary cost to the government in defending these two cases was extremely minimal," she says.
Of course, that begs the question: Even if he were "hiding" these medical records, doesn't he have the right to medical privacy we give every other American? No one else born in Hawaii would have to provide their "long form" to prove their citizenship by birth -- why should Obama?
We know the answer: Because Republicans believe they can only win when they gin up fake scandals with no basis in reality. They had so much success with it in 2004 -- and now they're addicted to it.