They never learn

THEY NEVER LEARN…. In late October, the White House released extensive visitors logs, prompting some thorough reviews of who’s stepped foot in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Far-right activists thought they’d hit the mother lode when they started going through the list of names. The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb proclaimed, “I tried to warn you, America. Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers!”

What conservatives didn’t realize is that, from time to time, different people have the same name. Yes, someone named William Ayers visited the White House this year, but not that William Ayers. Someone named Jeremiah Wright stopped by, but not that Jeremiah Wright. Michael Jordan and Michael Moore stopped by, but not the ones you know. Conservatives got excited for nothing.

And this week, they did it again. A far-right site discovered that Bertha Lewis was in the White House, just days before an ACORN controversy became national news. The site realized the possibility that there could be more than one Bertha Lewis, but nevertheless felt confident that they’d stumbled upon an important White House/ACORN nexis. The item’s headline didn’t leave room for ambiguity: “White House Visitors Log: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis In Obama Residence Week Before Sting Videos Launched.”

Of course, it is possible that this isn’t ACORN’s Bertha Lewis. After a previous dump of visitor records listed the name, Jeremiah Wright, the White House said, ‘oh, that was a different Jeremiah Wright.’ The media, of course, said, ‘okay,’ and never followed up. So, maybe the Bertha Lewis listed here isn’t the CEO of ACORN. Just another Bertha Lewis who gets special weekend access to the White House Residence, complete with an extra-special staff tour. Sure, possible, but we’d love to see a bookie’s odds on that.

The bet wouldn’t have paid off. As Ben Smith reported yesterday, “An administration official tells me that, indeed, this is a different Bertha Lewis, an ordinary visitor who came in through the White House visitor’s office.” The two women of the same name have different middle initials.

Sure, it’s possible right-wing activists will be more cautious the next time White House visitors logs are released, but I’d love to see a bookie’s odds on that.

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