Saturday, December 6, 2008

"Playing To My Base"

"Playing To My Base"

A couple of days back, I mentioned a curious find
concerning the suit Berg v. Obama that is now under discussion by the U.S. Supreme Court. Another blogger asked if I really believed that there was anything to this suit, or if I was just "playing to my base."

I don't "play to my base." I post stuff that I either believe to be true, or that I find interesting, or that I think some of you might interesting. I occasionally post stuff that I find hard to believe (and I usually say so), but that I think is worth looking at because of either who said it, or because if true, the consequences might be so worrisome that we should be thinking about it.

In the case of Berg v. Obama, what makes the case so interesting is not Berg's claims--which have almost no hard facts behind them--but the way in which Obama and the Democratic National Committee have responded. If there was anything to this claim of Berg's, why wouldn't Senator Clinton's campaign have run with it? It's not like she's too nice to do so. Why wouldn't the Republican National Committee have run with it (aside from the fact that they are too dumb to do so)?

What made me take notice of this absurd lawsuit is the willingness of Obama and the Democratic National Committee to spend money arguing standing rather than produce the original, long form birth certificate. They could have spent $50 to have someone overnight a certified copy of the original, long form birth certificate, and stopped Berg's suit cold. There would be no arguing with that. Hiding behind questions of standing makes it look like there's something to hide--all the more reason for the candidate who claimed to stand for openness to open up.

I don't buy the claim that once they produced the birth certificate, there would be lawsuits asking Obama to produce school records. Whether Obama was a good student or a bad student has nothing to do with his legal qualifications to be President of the United States. Whether Obama was a natural born citizen has everything to do with it.

I am offended by the idea that I posted about this because I was "playing to my base." I sometimes post stuff that I know will not "play to my base," because I consider it important. For example, I have posted frequently about the Christian commonwealth obligation to care for the poor--even though I know that many libertarians and some conservatives in my readership don't agree.

I post stuff about deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, even though the most doctrinaire of libertarians won't agree with it.

Of late, I have argued that cutting marginal income tax rates really shouldn't be the Republican Party strategy of the future. Partly this is because of pragmatic considerations (high incomes breed Democratic contributors and voters), and partly because a fair number of affluent people aren't showing much responsibility with the extra money in their pockets already. This isn't going to make some of my readers happy--but they do need to think about it.

I post stuff about intelligent design because I believe that some of the evolutionists are too arrogant in their certainty. I post stuff about the problems of very, very early life on Earth (like 3.6 billion years old) partly because it raises some interesting problems for the evolutionists, and because I think Young Earthers need to think harder about these issues.

I post stuff about homosexuality that I suspect rankles some of my gay readers. (And yes, I have gay readers.) I post stuff about how divorce is probably the biggest threat to marriage today, because some of my readers want to think that homosexuality is the biggest threat.

I post stuff about abortion that is all over the map, because I want both pro-life and pro-choice readers to think a bit harder about the very real problems associated with abortion. Banning it will certainly reduce abortions--but not as much as some would like to think. And leaving it freely available creates some horrors as well, that pro-choicers need to think about, and confront.

And I suspect that my willingness to challenge my readers, instead of "playing to my base" sometimes limits my readership. But if you are part of this elite, pat yourself on the back for being willing to accept some challenges, without getting upset.

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