Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#1321: Bill Armistead

Bill Armistead is the former chairman (2011–2015) of the Alabama Republican Party, and is probably most famous for his sympathies with various birther conspiracies. In 2012 Armistead recommended that his voters watch Joel Gilbert’s fringe birther movie “Dreams of My Real Father”, which claims that President Obama’s real father is American labor activist Frank Marshall Davis, and that Obama is accordingly pursuing Davis’s “dreams of a forced imposition of a classic Stalinist-Marxist agenda upon America at home and abroad,” by for instance working with ACORN to cause the subprime mortgage crisis as part of a plan to “use minorities and the poor to collapse capitalism.” Armistead, on his side, stated that he had “verified that it is factual, all of it,” but has given no indication that he knows what “verified” means. Due to the current culture on the right wing, the claim didn’t not lose Armistead favor with the leaders of the Republican Party.

Armistead is of course not the only birther in the Alabama Republican party. Prominent birther, State Republican Committee member, and former Congressional candidate Hugh McInnish has been pushing it for years: “In my white paper I will present what I believe is conclusive evidence that the Obama birth certificate is a forgery and Obama himself a forgerer. […] It would mean that the most powerful nation in the world is under the direction of a felon. It might mean, as some legal expert contend, that all of his executive actions are null and void.” As most people making the same claim, McInnish seems systematically unable to distinguish “conclusive evidence” from “delusional gibberish”.

On other issues Armistead tends to take the position you’d expect someone like him to take. As for gay marriage, Armistead called the Supreme Court’s Decision “an affront to the Christian principles that this nation was founded on.” And of course The Alabama Republican Party stood “firmly behind Judge Roy Moore to serve as the next Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court” in 2012, which is probably enough to merit an entry in our Encyclopedia on its own. During the recent brouhaha over gay marriage in Alabama, Armistead wrote an impassioned defense for Moore’s actions, also warning about God’s judgment.

Diagnosis: Sometimes one wonders if it is part of the job description for being chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, but at least Armistead is fringe-level crazy in a rightwing mainstream sort of way.

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