After Birtherism, Conservatives Question Obama’s Academics

Anyone calling Obama an academic fraud, a foreigner, or a Muslim is using that term because the n-word is off the list.

By Channing Kennedy Apr 28, 2011

Wrapping up a history of birtherism, Dave Weigel writes at Slate: "The next era of Obama conspiracies starts with the president in a much more exposed position. Now, conspiracy theorists know that all kinds of people will listen to them if they toss an idea out there–even if the idea is proved to be baseless." So what’s the new angle? Why, that Obama, a professor of consitutional law at Columbia and the editor of the Harvard Law Review, is dumb!

At the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg lays bare the lunacy of the new accusations, including ghostwritten memoirs and scary Muslims. Leading the charge is, of course, Donald Trump:

Now Donald Trump has opened up a new line of attack on President Obama, accusing him of being a "terrible student" who shouldn’t have gotten into Columbia University or Harvard Law School. "How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" he asked the Associated Press. "I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records." He continued darkly, "There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president."

Pat Buchanan, seeing a chance to be on TV, gets into it with Hardball’s Chris Matthews:

"What I want to know is why you don’t want to see the test scores?" Buchanan shot back. "Why don’t you want to see any of these things? You’re supposed to be a journalist! The people’s right to know!"

"What am i supposed to become a master of his paperwork?" Matthews said. He told Buchanan that his arguments were one of the reasons that black Americans were often driven "crazy" by political discourse. Obama, he pointed out, had, by all accounts, had a stellar academic career, "and you still don’t buy it. You don’t buy him." He noted that "I got my job here without ever showing any paperwork from school.

Here’s Mother Jones’ Suzy Khimm, interviewing self-proclaimed "birther king" Andy Martin. Martin’s officially satisfied by the birth certificate, almost:

Martin, however, says that the birth certificate doesn’t put to rest other questions about Obama’s past and rise to power. Echoing Donald Trump’s recent demands to see Obama’s college grades, Martin said he wants to see the "admission files and the transcripts" of Obama’s college years. "The pressure for his college records is going to become relentless," he vows.

Martin says that he also has questions about Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour, whom fringe activists claim is a black Muslim nationalist who paid for Obama’s law degree.

And here’s pundit Mickey Kaus writing at conservative politics-gossip rag the Daily Caller, asking why Obama seems so bad at politics:

The answer is distressingly obvious: Obama’s the biggest affirmative action baby in history. When other pols are trying, failing, learning, while climbing up the middle rungs of the ladder, he got a pass.

Some are saying that Obama’s the product of affirmative action–but affirmative action, in its actual exercised form, only gets you through the door. As Melissa Harris-Perry has said, the only people who should be ashamed of affirmative action are the racist societies who need it to be just, and Obama’s brilliance at Harvard and beyond shows that it works as advertised. Others are saying that all of his success is due to the pulled strings of a shadowy cabal seeking to put a black Democrat in power, to, uh, deport record numbers of people and wage three wars. You know, liberal stuff.

The arguments don’t make sense on their own, because they’re really just empty shells designed to convey a different idea entirely. As always, anyone calling Obama an academic fraud, a foreigner, or a Muslim is likely using that term because the n-word is off the list.