Aziz Poonawalla disagrees with Larison:
[T]he simple fact that the Birther meme is nothing more than a sanitized outlet for pure unadulterated racism at its heart seems impossible to deny. As Daniel notes, we wouldn't be seeing this movement if John McCain were elected (even though McCain's birth in Panama could theoretically be subjected to the same conspiracy mongering) - but neither would we be seeing it were it John Kerry who had won in 2004 and had a similar asterisk next to his birth credentials.
Perhaps, though Kerry was certainly pegged as "foreign" - if only French-loving. And McCain's POW experience - presumably sacrosanct for any Republican - was nevertheless smeared in 2000 by some who saw Bush as the more authentic Christian conservative. Austrian-born Schwarzenegger would be a formidable force on the national stage regardless of his heritage (his pro-choice stance would be a bigger burden in the primaries). And in the case of Palin, her nationalist supporters last year didn't bat an eye at incontrovertible proof that her husband was a member of the Alaska Independence Party (not to mention one-quarter Yup'ik Eskimo).
Prejudices are rarely "unadulterated." Residual racism from the '60s certainly resides in the Republican rump, but partisanship usually trumps it. Larison says as much in his response to Poonawalla:
Assuming that racism is the central or overriding element behind this obsession, as Aziz does, is the easiest move in the world, but it is not necessarily accurate. It is a ready-made answer that in this case relies on a number of prejudices about Southerners, conservatives and attitudes towards race that are largely outdated, and it is an answer that fails to take account of the potency of political ideology, partisan attachment, and a particularly assertive, aggressive post-9/11 nationalism that took over much of the right in the last eight years. The insistence that Obama was born outside America, or that he must be in some way foreign, may be the only way for extreme Americanists to account for how someone born here and raised for almost his entire life in the U.S. could come to have views that they regard as un-American and anti-American.
To circle back to Jindal, consider this evidence: a recent straw poll of 250 members of the Young American Foundation - who are among the most fervent Republican activists - selected the dark-skinned Indian-American as their second choice for '12. (And lily-white, "Real America" Palin? "[B]uried among the also-rans.")
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