The top of Anderson Cooper 360º tonight was devoted to the birthers, including a replay of Friday’s interview with Paul Rolf Jensen — oh yeah, and a few words from LTC Lakin himself.

When Anderson Cooper asked legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin what LTC Lakin’s chances were, he responded by referring to the Elvis Costello song, Less than Zero.  Mr. Toobin took issue with Mr. Cooper’s references to LTC Lakin as an “honorable man.”  Mr. Toobin branded the birthers as “bigots,” “racists,” “freaks,” and “lunatics.”  Here’s a transcript including the birther segment of the show.  And here’s a link to the video, courtesy of Glenn in the comments.

18 Responses to “LTC Lakin’s chances? “Less than Zero,” quoth Jeffrey Toobin”

  1. glenn says:

    I found this YouTube.

  2. Late Bloomer says:

    Mr. Toobin’s resort to ad hominem attacks render his credibility as an objective legal analyst “less than zero.”

  3. soonergrunt says:

    Well, Mr. Toobin branded the birthers as “bigots,” “racists,” “freaks,” and “lunatics.” (c/p) He also said “[birthers] are not rational players”. Those might be ad hominems in the strictest sense, but they’re also correct about the birthers. His other arguments, about how their legal claims have no merit are %100 correct. It is possible to have an opinion about something on which one is an expert, and to have another opinion about something else. The second opinion does not render the first wrong or damage one’s credibility with regard to the subject about which one is an acknowledged expert. Especially if one is right on both counts, as Mr. Toobin clearly is.

  4. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    I’m with Late Bloomer. Mr. Toobin’s resort to ad hominems does nothing to support his arguments and serve only to reflect poorly on him.

    That being said, he’s a product of the unwatchable 24-hr entertainment and information environment he exists in.

  5. DC Steve says:

    I must admit, something has been bothering me about the birthers since this whole guano-crazy case started, and I think I have figured out what it is:

    Imagine, for sake of argument, that the following two facts are true:
    1) birthers are 100% correct. Obama is ineligible to be president.
    2) Obama was elected by a majority of Americans, and by the electoral college.

    These two premises would seem to pit two different parts of the constitution against each other. One, would be the technical qualifications of the President. The second, would be the constitution’s democratic goals.

    Which constitutional principle do you think should win?

    The problem I have with birthers is that they come to the opposite conclusion that I do. They choose technical requirements over democracy. They would choose to unseat a president, elected by the majority of Americans.

    And, as we have seen on the pages of this blog, they are willing to do so using increasingly arcane and technical arguments. They have rightly been chastised for always moving the goalposts. However, the farther they move the goal posts, the more arcane their logic, the more feeble is their claim that democracy should lose out.

    I will continue to love COL Sullivan’s 50 caliber reasoning and responses, this is good theatre, but ultimately, I have discovered I don’t care.

    I choose democracy.

  6. Late Bloomer says:

    sonnergrunt, he may be an excellent legal analyst. He may be an excellent lawyer. But I find it hard to call him “objective.”

    The fact that I disagree with a particular idea does not mean that the idea itself is the product of bigotry, racism, lunacy, or freakism(?).

    I think it’s a sign of poor analytical skills. Why not debate the idea on the merits? Is that really too difficult these days?

  7. Late Bloomer says:

    It sounds like you’re arguing substance over form [kinda sorta]. I agree for the most part. However, rules exist for a reason. Form IS important.

    I analogize it to the law of armed conflict. Jus ad bellum is very important. But jus in bello is just as important (some would argue more).

  8. soonergrunt says:

    I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not qualified to judge really the substantive points of the law or the men and women who argue those. That’s why I come here.
    Having said that, I am literally surrounded by birthers here in OKC, and while some of those people may not be racists and bigots, certainly the birthers I know ARE. Their anger and frustration over having a black guy in the Whitehouse leads to the lunacy and freakishness that I see nearly every day. To be a racist or a bigot does not necessarily make one a birther, but when you add the conspiracy-theorist angle, you get the birthers. I’m telling you that you can discuss the case on the merits, which he did when he pointed out that there was no chance the case would do what they want (that is, I believe, the same argument that Col. Sullivan, the No Man, and others make here every time the subject comes up) and still point out that at least some of the people pushing the case are bigots and racists.
    Conversely, one can be a bigot or a racist and still make a valid legal argument. A lot of first amendment law was made that way but we’re starting to get in over my head with that. So maybe it’s painting with too broad a brush to call “the birthers” racists, bigots, freaks, and lunatics. I submit that the brush is at most only a little overbroad. How would one have an argument on the merits with these people, exactly? All you’re doing is going round and round and round again because they will NEVER accept any argument that doesn’t validate their position that a white male republican should be the president.

  9. Late Bloomer says:

    Sooner, you are correct that “one can be a bigot or a racist and still make a valid legal argument.” But doesn’t their inherent bigotry and/or racism detract from their argument? In the same way, name-calling detracts from Mr. Toobin’s argument.

    You bring up another valid point that it is difficult/impossible to have a civil debate with some folks on both sides. Therefore, I just ignore them. I accept that I cannot change their minds any more than they can change mine. If we cannot agree on even the framework within which we will debate, then the debate itself has little or no value. (This is yet another reason why form can be a priority)

    I wish folks on all sides (of the debate, not necessarily CAAFLOG) would just grow up.

  10. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Great comment DC Steve.

  11. Anonymous says:

    99% of the time, you are right re racism, bigotry or lunacy.

    This however is that 1% of the time. The birther issue is absolutely motivated by all three of those themes.

  12. Late Bloomer says:

    Since we lurkers cannot start new threads, this figures to be the best place to ask:

    Will the new illegal immigrant legislation passed in AZ have any military justice impact? I assume that enlisted service members who are not U.S. citizens are subject to the new law. What about DOD support to civil authorities? If an illegal alien enters DoD property, may/must DoD officials aide state/federal LEOs in the enforcement of this new law?

  13. any mouse says:

    I think your competing principles argument is a good one. However, and this would is probably based mostly on assumptions, wouldn’t you think that of the majority that voted for him, many would not have voted for him had they known he was not a citizen but was somehow still allowed to run?

    I agree with you that the “elected by a majority of Americans” priniciple should win, but only if those that voted did so knowing at the time they voted that fact 1 in your hypo was the case.

  14. A na'an y mas says:

    It’s what happens when guano-crazy goes mainstream media. We’re all caugjht up in it. Though, if it wasn’t for that lunatic Lakin connection, CAAFloggers wouldn’t be going through this entertainment (or wake-up call at what some elements of our society have dumbed down to). Just sayin’.

  15. A na'an y mas says:

    Speaking of bigotry, Late Bloomer (I once wondered about the story behind your name, but you’re beginning to sound like a birther with that form over substance talk, so it’s beginning to make sense). Though I don’t always agree with those authorized to create threads at this cite, I’m glad they don’t allow just any lurker to do so. You may have legitimate questions and input on legitimate issues out there, but this is not the spot to spout that, imho.

  16. Late Bloomer says:

    Na’an bread, birther I am not. I have stated in other posts that I do not believe that LTC Lakin is “doing the right thing.” Valuing form as much as, but not over, substance does not make one a birther. But form still matters. Ask Colt McCoy if form matters.

    You cut me to the quick with your “just any lurker” comment. I am a devoted lurker.

  17. Sef says:

    To D.C. Steve’s question: If Constitutional ineligibility had been proven prior to the election eligibility would be a legal question. I think that Obama, being an honorable man, would have removed himself from the ballot. After January 20, it is a political question with the H of R & Senate making the decision with the makeup of Congress being particularly important. They would need to prove fraud, i.e. Obama would have needed to be part of a conspiracy to get a valid birth certificate. Failing that, there would have been no “high crimes & misdemeanors”, although Congress can define these anyway they like. Reelection, though would be off the table.

  18. Kenneth Olsen says:

    I recommend you do some internet research on adulterer Jeffrey Toobin for some insight into his qualifications to cast judgment on what’s “honorable.”

    Anderson Cooper’s immature and unprofessional behavior during the alleged interview with Lakin epitomizes most of the media’s diligent efforts to ignore all the salient details of this case.