Friday, April 22, 2011

Birther Blues

The New York Times finally notices the birthers.

The issue, which has simmered at the fringes of the nation’s political discourse for years, even got a recent burst of attention when it was adopted as a talking point by Donald Trump, a potential Republican presidential candidate.

The result is that what had been a wispy tale of purportedly buried documents and cover-ups designed to hide the president’s supposed birth in Kenya — a tale that has been dismissed by most mainstream members of both political parties — now appears to have staying power as the political season lurches toward 2012.

Unless I’m missing something, I cannot see how this story can be anything but good news for President Obama’s election campaign and a huge problem for the GOP. There is no way any Republican can even hint at suggesting Mr. Obama was born someplace else without coming across as a denizen of tin-foil hats, and yet they can’t expect to get any traction in the primaries without at least paying it some attention.

Several of the more prominent candidates have danced around the birthers gently, but as the campaign heats up and the birther bills pass in the state legislatures, it’s going to become one of those litmus tests the GOP is so fond of having for their candidates. It will be a true test of character to see which one of them is the first to say, “You birthers are idiots, and you’re dragging the Republican party even further over the cliff into obscurity and mockery. Birtherism is racism, and you’re the reason good people despise us.”

Of course, that will never happen. No GOP presidential candidate with a hope of getting the nomination would go so far as to diss 45% of their own party, and I will give $5 to the first Republican candidate who does.

I think my money is safe.