Chris Matthews took it to Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) on Hardball last night over his co-sponsorship of a bill in the House that would require presidential candidates to prove they meet the Constitutional requirements of citizenship. It is basically a cover for the birther movement.
If the few sane Republicans left had any guts, they’d denounce the birthers and do everything they could to get the hell away from them. But they also recognize that they need their crazy cousins to vote for them in the next election, and scoring a hit is more important. (On that score, Rep. Campbell failed; he admitted that he believes Barack Obama was born in the United States.)
This illustrates a tactic of the lunatic fringe; if you can’t win on points, change the rules of the game, or at least find something outrageous to distract from the game itself. Think of coach Bobby Knight’s temper tantrums and throwing a chair across the basketball court; suddenly everyone’s focused on the coach’s antics — and the flying furniture — and not the infraction that caused the outburst. The birthers can’t debate the issues, so they throw a chair.