Shocker for conservatives: Obama may not hate the Constitution

The right, including Rush Limbaugh, falls for a hoax about the president's college thesis

Published October 23, 2009 7:40PM (EDT)

On Friday, it seemed for a moment -- at least to Rush Limbaugh's listeners -- that the right had finally found the smoking gun to prove that President Obama secretly hates the U.S., its founders and even the Constitution.

Limbaugh read his radio audience an excerpt from what he said was Obama's senior thesis, which he wrote while at Columbia University. After more than a year shrouded in secrecy by the Obama campaign and a compliant media, the thesis had finally emerged, and it was even worse than some had feared.

The excerpt read by Limbaugh:

[T]he Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.

Limbaugh was, naturally, up in arms about this, calling the college-aged Obama a "little boy," and saying, "he still shares those same feelings."

Only not so much. As a bit of basic research would have shown Limbaugh, Obama didn't technically write a thesis at Columbia -- at the time, Columbia didn't really have senior theses -- though he did write a thesis-length paper. But it was on Soviet nuclear disarmament, not the Constitution.

Limbaugh and many others -- including Fox News' -- fell for a hoax, believing that a post put up by a conservative blogger in August as satire was the truth. Apparently, Pajamas Media's Michael Ledeen was the conduit, as he dug it up and posted it earlier this week, apparently believing it to be true. (Not the first time Ledeen and Pajamas Media have been embarrassed by something he posted -- back in January of 2007, he reported that Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had died. Khamenei remains alive to this day.) Again, a bit of basic research would have prevented all this, as this isn't the first time conservatives have treated this particular blogger's satire as if it were true.

Limbaugh noted later on in his show that it seemed the excerpts were fake, though he said he didn't care, both because of a series of quotes falsely attributed to him recently and because, "I know Obama thinks it."

Update: Ledeen has put up a post noting that the excerpt is a fake, and that he fell for a satire.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

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