Every president inspires conspiracy theories, and there is no shortage of crazy stories involving President Obama. But every single one of them is conspicuously boring. Where's the sex? Or, if not sex, drugs? Violence? We'd even accept aliens. Instead, the most rabid anti-Obama conspiracy theorists are obsessing over catching Obama in a legal technicality concerning his place of birth. Pretty much every previous Democratic president has been accused of indulging in all kinds of illicit earthly pleasures. In the 1990s, conspiracy theorists claimed Bill Clinton murdered people, ran cocaine rings, raped people -- the stuff of bestselling political thrillers. The Obama conspiracies are taken from another set of bestsellers: the Da Vinci Code and the fantasy that, if you just know the code, there's a single document that will upturn everything we think we know about the world. The birther obsession is really a sideline of the "vetting" obsession. The premise is that no one really knows who Obama is -- because of his deceptions or the media's unwillingness to question or both -- and that, after four years of being the most documented human on the planet, there's still a secret to be unearthed. It's pretty dramatic stuff, until you take a survey of the places these conspiracies have lead: the Hawaii archives of vital records, a literary agent's promotional booklet, the rough draft of a memoir, and college transcripts. If you have gotten a weird forwarded email from a distant relative lately, chances are the animated angel GIF was more exciting than the conspiracy itself.
Which is not to say that people haven't tried to peddle outrageous tales of hedonism. Remember Larry Sinclair's press conference recounting his night of cocaine and gay sex in limousine with Obama? Even the willing-to-believe-anything-bad-about-Obama WND.com has mustered very limited interest while they've kept the birther flame burning. Donald Trump, who'll headline a Mitt Romney fundraiser Tuesday, told The Daily Beast that he's still certain Obama was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. He's still tweeting about the "place of birth movement." That follows Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman's effusive apology in the Denver Post last week for saying he didn't know if Obama was born in America at a fundraiser on May 12. Is it shocking that an elected member of Congress would hint he's a birther a full year after Obama released his long-form birth certificate? Is it surprising that Mitt Romney would hold a fundraiser with an oafish birther? Yes. But it's not nearly as exciting as what went on in the 1990s.