‘Birth of an Obsession’

June 22, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Spencer Kornhaber has a fantastic piece about the “Birthers” up at the OC Weekly — a lengthy profile of Orly Taitz, the dentist with a degree from an (accredited!) online law school who’s become the “queen” of the movement.

A few things about Taitz.

The first I heard of her was in November 2008, when I interviewed California  lawyer Gary Kreep about his work for Alan Keyes, the tragic fringe candidate (a Harvard-educated diplomat who has been utterly discredited by his runs for office) who sued to deny Barack Obama California’s 55 electoral votes. Kreep told me that he’d also been helping out a “woman who immigrated from Russia” and whose legal filings, reflecting the language gap, needed to be cleaned up. I met her at a December 2008 press conference that followed the Supreme Court’s denial of cert on one of Philip Berg’s many anti-Obama lawsuits. I ran into her again at the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot, where she was doing interviews (one with Esquire, she claimed) and helping out Carl Swensson in his effort to empanel “citizen grand juries” that could bring down the president, somehow. Both times, I talked to Taitz at length—the second time, she led me to the cafeteria of the Knob Creek range to show me sheafs of documents (many of them listing other Americans named “Barack Obama,” which she found suspicious) and ask me why I hadn’t written about them.

I ran into the same problem that Kornhaber did — for all of Taitz’s legwork, none of her stuff held up. It was/is based on misunderstandings and a failure to check the veracity or meaning of documents with the right people.

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