May 19th, 2011
Today, David Corn called it like it is. Forget "birtherism." Forget "deatherism." Forget accusations against "B. Hussein Obama" of "socialism." The hard core enemies of this President, nearly to a one, can be described most accurately as devotees to "otherism."
He writes in Mother Jones:
"Birtherism is (was?) fundamentally about delegitimizing Barack Obama—proving him a complete fraud. (It's been hard not to assume there was a racial component to the endeavor.) Yet the birthers, dependent on conspiracy theories, were easily done in by basic facts. Seen as reality-denying extremists, the birthers became a drag upon the GOP; only Donald Trump would embrace them fully—and that hardly turned out well.
Yet otherism continues and thrives. This line of attack is far more in sync with routine political practices. Otherism can be advanced with hints and suggestions. It comes in different guises. It can be gussied up with other questions: Does Obama really believe in America the Experiment, or America the Exceptional? The strategy is to fuel suspicion, not prove a conspiracy. But the goal is the same: to encourage voters to believe Obama is not a real American.
The key audience for otherists, though, is not the general public. Obama, according to the polls, remains popular, even when voters disapprove of his policies or his handling of key matters. But many tea partiers and other conservatives do view Obama as an interloper and harbor deep fears about him and his agenda. GOP presidential contenders and party leaders need to appeal to these sentiments, and some, no doubt, seek to exploit them. Otherism offers a way to do so.
Unlike birtherism, otherism remains quite useful to the Republicans. Not even the adults of the party can resist its ugly temptations."