More Slime

[UPDATE: Greg Sargent has more on what a snake Lieberman really is.]

You may have heard of the recent encounter between Barack Obama and Joe Lieberman, in which the new leader of the Dem party let the former Democrat know that he was not pleased with the the “personal attacks and his half-hearted denials of the false rumors that Obama is a Muslim.”

Now the snake in the grass is fighting back, telling Mark Halperin of The Page that “If the Obama campaign thinks they are going to intimidate Joe Lieberman with these sleazy tactics then they are sorely mistaken.”

I agree with Josh Marshall:

…Lieberman’s days in the Democratic caucus, or more specifically, his days with a committee chairmanship courtesy of the Democratic caucus are numbered in months.

My assumption is that after the November election, regardless of the outcome of the presidential campaign, Joe will be stripped of his chairmanship. (This seems even more certain to me if Obama wins the general, but I suspect it will happen regardless.) Whether he’ll actually be expelled from the caucus I don’t know and probably doesn’t really matter. Once he’s stripped of the benefits he gains from it, presumably he’ll leave himself and become an actual non-caucusing independent or, more likely, start caucusing with the Republicans.

What that tells me is that Lieberman has no incentive not to make the maximum amount of trouble over the next five months both for his senate colleagues and for Sen. Obama.

Listen, Dems, we tried to tell you to support Ned Lamont. We almost got Creepy Joe out of the Senate for you, and you wouldn’t listen to us.

What’s even slimier than Joe is the fact that the Right is using this episode to add to their “Obama is anti-semitic” smear: “How smart is it of the Obama camp to antagonize a revered figure in the Jewish community?”

Shameless. And you know the righties won’t let go of this. They’ll be fabricating “evidence” of Obama’s alleged anti-semitism until the election.

Update: See also Jane Hamsher, “Lieberman Whines After Obama Kicks His Ass.

Update: Have you heard about the “veep vetter” controversy? One of the members of Obama’s vice presidential search team is being linked to mortgage industry lobbyists because he took a loan from a mortgage company whose lobbyists contributed to the Clinton campaign, and Obama had criticized the Clinton campaign for taking the lobbyists’ contributions, and somehow this make Obama a bad person. I haven’t had time to check all the details out myself, but unless there is something about this story nobody is telling me, I concur with Mark Adams’s opinion:

Now just for the record, the head of Obama’s VP selection team didn’t hand out fraudulent loans or anything, right? He wasn’t a lobbyist for Countrywide, was he, or one of it’s executives?

He was an extremely good credit risk who took out some loans with the company, and paid them back. So WTF?

The Wingnut Smear Machine at Work

We’ve been watching this happen for years now: Some juicy bit of disinformation appears on a far-right blog or forum, and within hours it goes up the rightie media infrastructure food chain — to NewsMax to Drudge to Limbaugh to the Washington Times to Bill O’Reilly — and then corporate media reports that “a story is circulating about. …”

And, IMO, many of these juicy bits are planted originally by highly placed political operatives who also make sure the other links in the chain are tipped off.

Dave Johnson provides a current example (emphasis added):

“Someone” posted an anti-semitic comment at the Obama blog. (See if you can guess who posted a comment that a right-wing blog knew about a few minutes later.) A few minutes later the hate site Little Green Footballs wrote a post saying that the Obama blog says so-and-so. (If you don’t know about this site, spend a few minutes there and you’ll get the picture. No, it is not a parody of right-wing nuttiness.) Then dozens of far-right-wing sites quickly echoed the “story.” It rapidly turns into a great big right-wing hissy fit.

Soon the right’s Politico has picked it up. (Which shows they’re spending time reading hate sites.) And then Rush Limbaugh talked about it on his show.

You see, someone (guess who) leaving a comment at the Obama site proves that Obama is anti-semitic. You’ll be hearing about it from every direction very soon.

Obviously, it’s enormously unlikely LGF would have known about and blogged about the anti-semitic post “a few minutes later” unless someone involved in the origination of the post tipped them off.

The Right did a hell of a job with this during the 2004 “swift boating” of John Kerry. It’s the easiest thing in the world to pull a crazy allegation out of thin air and then float it around as if it were legitimate inquiry. You’ll remember this classic confrontation between Chris Matthews and Michelle Malkin:

Ah, I never get tired of that. Anyway — Questions are being asked whether John Kerry shot himself to get a purple heart. We don’t need evidence or anything approaching a factual basis for those questions. Somebody makes up some questions, and away we go. Questions are being asked whether Michelle Malkin worships the Devil. Questions are being asked if Michelle Malkin tortures puppies. Hey, I’d like to know.

Now Michelle Malkin is asking questions about Barack Obama.

Jim Geraghty takes a look at longstanding blog buzz over Barack Obama’s birth certificate, which the campaign refused to release to the St. Petersburg Times in April:

We tried to obtain a copy of Obama’s birth certificate, but his campaign would not release it and the state of Hawaii does not make such records public.

Has anyone seen it? Why shouldn’t the record be in the public domain for presidential candidates?

Geraghty walks through various rumors now circulating in the wake of the Obama campaign’s birth certificate blackout, including this one:

Rumor Three: His mother did not want to name him after his father, and his birth certificate says “Barry.” Perhaps the most plausible of the rumors, as Obama was known by that name through much of his childhood and young adulthood. If true, this would spur a new round of “When Barry Became Barack” stories – a minor headache for the campaign, but hardly a major scandal.

Other rumors are that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii; his middle name is really “Muhammad,” not “Hussein”; his parents weren’t really married.

One might argue the Obama campaign ought to just release the mystery birth certificate to put the rumors to rest. But you know that would just set off a new round of rumors. Some rightie blogger would question the authenticity of the birth certificate, and that very evening Sean Hannity would look into a Faux Nooz camera and intone, why did Barack Obama release a forged birth certificate? Questions are being asked, after all.

The hunger of the right-wing rumor beast can never be satisfied. However, I do strongly suggest the Obama campaign hire some hall monitors for their campaign web sites — no more unfiltered public comments allowed. Obama supporters will understand.

Regarding the Barry/Barack question, you might ask why that’s a question. I don’t know, but then — I’m not insane. Apparently Obama’s given name is Barack, and as a child people called him “Barry,” but as he approached adulthood he decided he’d rather be called “Barack.” No rational person could read anything sinister in that. Little Jimmies and Bobbies do have a way of becoming Jims and Bobs when they grow up, and Jameses and Robertses if they become important.

But we’re talking about wingnuts, so … never mind. Questions are being asked about why Obama changed his name. There must be some double super secret darkest Africa gang-related terrorist fist-jab reason.

Update: BTW, I won’t be letting the wingnuts hijack the site today. If you are a right-wing troll, don’t hold your breath waiting for your comment to be posted. No, wait … do hold your breath. Please.