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April 23rd, 2010
06:30 AM ET

Avlon: Birthers have 'deep discomfort' with Obama as president

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is a senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and author of the new book "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America." Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN Independent analyst John Avlon says the birthers’ claims that President Obama is ineligible to be president should be on the ash-heap of discredited conspiracy theories by now."]

By John Avlon, Special to CNN

The wingnut wars continued this week with revivals of unwelcome old fringe fault lines: the birthers are back in the form of a state legislature vote and members of a teacher’s union are protesting budget cuts with a prayer for the New Jersey governor’s death and comparisons to genocidal dictators.

The birthers’ claims that President Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore constitutionally ineligible to be president should be on the ash-heap of discredited conspiracy theories by now. But despite his birth certificate being put online by the Obama campaign back in June of 2008, verified by both Politifact and the Republican governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, the desperate attempt to de-legitimize our duly elected president has its defenders. Add to that list the GOP members of the Arizona House of Representatives, who by a vote of 31 to 21, voted this week to require President Obama – or any presidential candidate – to submit their birth certificate to appear on the state ballot.

Arizona Republican State Representative Cecil Ash appeared on CNN's "AC360" on Wednesday night to defend the ridiculous bill (which still has to pass the state Senate), and in his fumbling offered this revealing explanation:

"I think there's been a lot of controversy over the issue, created a division among a lot of people in the United States, for better or worse, many people don't believe he is a U.S. citizen, they believe he has loyalties, divided loyalties I suppose you could say."

Fears of “divided loyalties” is what this is ultimately about – a deep discomfort with Obama as president, rooted in a twisted belief that he is fundamentally un-American. The birth certificate is both a symbol of this belief and an attempt to undo an election after the fact, stemming off the deeper dynamic that has caused some unhinged people to believe that losing an election is the equivalent of living under tyranny. The wingnut legislators who voted for this bill ought to be ashamed for this ugly bit of pandering while remembering a bit of apparently forgotten wisdom – everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.


Filed under: Opinion • Politics • Wingnuts of the week
April 23rd, 2010
05:59 AM ET

LIVE Blog: Chat with us during the show

Editor's Note: Welcome to American Morning's LIVE Blog where you can discuss the "most news in the morning" with us each and every day. Join the live chat during the program by adding your comments below. It's your chance to share your thoughts on the day's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules: 1) Keep it brief 2) No writing in ALL CAPS 3) Use your real name (first name only is fine) 4) No links 5) Watch your language (that includes $#&*).

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The U.S. Coast Guard launched a major search effort Wednesday, April 21, 2010, for 11 people missing after an explosion aboard an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. "]

Oil slick spreads from sunken rig

(CNN) – A 1-by-5-mile sheen of crude oil mix has spread across the Gulf of Mexico's surface around the area where an oil rig exploded and sank, a Coast Guard lieutenant said Thursday.

"This is a rainbow sheen with a dark center," Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry told reporters.

Officials do not know whether oil or fuel are leaking from the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig and the well below, but BP Vice President David Rainey said "it certainly has the potential to be a major spill."

A remotely-operated vehicle is surveying the area and cleanup efforts are under way, Landry said. The sheen "probably is residual from the fire and the activity that was going on on this rig before it sank below the surface," she said. Read more

Are we living in a 'dirty girl' culture?

It's a bad girls' world these days. From out-of-control teens, to "real" housewives. To picture after picture, of stumbling, fumbling celebrities. So how do you tell your daughter that reality TV isn't really...real? Our Carol Costello has the Friday gut check for us.

Sound off: What do you think? Are we living in a 'dirty girl' culture?

'South Park' vs. free speech

The creators of "South Park" are speaking out about the controversy around their show and the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Trey Parker and Matt Stone told the New York Times that Comedy Central substantially edited the dialogue in their show this week, bleeping out the prophet's name and a speech from the character, Kyle, about "intimidation and fear." This comes after the show was threatened by a radical Islamic group, "Revolution Muslim," for last week's episode that also dealt with Mohammed. We'll be talking more about this free speech battle with CNN independent analyst John Avlon.

Air Force launches mystery space plane

A mystery unmanned space plane operated by the Air Force is circling the globe. Its mission in space is top-secret. The spacecraft, dubbed the X-37B, lifted off last night from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Military officials say the launch was a success, but they won't say much else. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is following the story for us this morning.

Sound off: We want to hear from you this morning. Add your comments to the LIVE blog below and we'll read some of them on the show.

Filed under: LIVE Blog • Top Stories
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