President Obama released his long form birth certificate (pdf) today. I wish he would have done it earlier – even if he really didn’t need to — perhaps some of the noise coming from wing nuts on the right (Donald Trump included) would have had to shut up about this one long ago. But there has been a low and steady hum about Obama’s eligibility to be president.
That needs to end now. It really needed to end years ago, but it’s tiresome now. It’s clear that he was born to an American mother and a Kenyan father in Hawaii in 1961. He’s eligible to be president. Enough on this one already. (But I’m sure the tea party will come up with some other way to attack Obama.)
I really don’t think that we would have had this issue if President Obama were an African-American from Chicago named Benjamin Smith. But he has a funny name – in his words – and his middle name is Hussein, associating him with Saddam Hussein in people’s minds.
This idiocy has grossly sidetracked Republicans. It’s affecting the early going in presidential politics. Donald Trump has diarrhea of the mouth (as usual), and it’s the only issue he talks about. One hopes that he won’t have anything else to go on about now and will quickly fade away.
Harold Meyerson notices this:
Which is to say that the loopy, enraged divorce from reality of the Tea Potniks has infected the entire party.
That, indeed, has been the strategic premise of Donald Trump’s campaign, be it pseudo, proto- or provisional, for the Republican nomination. Nothing in Trump’s background suggests he actually believes the birther snake oil he is peddling with considerable success in GOP ranks. What his background, and foreground, do make clear is that he is utterly without shame. If stoking his campaign requires affirming the absurd beliefs of rubes whom he would instantly fire on his TV series, well — it’s worked, hasn’t it?
And it’s not just Trump. “Birther bills,” which require presidential candidates to produce their birth certificates, are moving through a number of Republican-controlled state legislatures. In Oklahoma, one such bill is expected to become law. In Arizona, the legislature passed such a bill, only to have Republican Gov. Jan Brewer veto it, calling it “a bridge too far.” Brewer didn’t specify where that bridge was headed, but surely she meant that an official Republican crossing-over into birtherism would place the party and its nominee on the paranoid fantasy side of the gap between the real and the imagined, while Democrats and independents gaped in amazement from the other side.
It really is idiocy. And the Republican Party is going to suffer in the long run, I think, if the tea party wing of the GOP keeps strengthening its hold on the rest of the party. If there is no room for moderates, there’s no room for real compromise in America. And ultimately, the United States is what will suffer as no real, honest solutions to our myriad problems are found.
Richard Cohen nails it in his Post Partisan post today:
The loss of Haley Barbour is no tragedy. But the fact that his candidacy was taken so seriously is a sad commentary on what has happened to the Republican Party. Smart people have been chased away and zealots command. They set the agenda, insist on adherence to stubborn principles – never, never raise taxes – and impose cultural requirements that produce intolerance, not to mention heaps of hypocrisy. The saying that in the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king applies to Barbour. In the valley of GOP midgets, he is a veritable giant.