Leaning to the right politically is one thing. Going so far right that one topples over the edge is another thing entirely. The so-called “Birthers” belong in this latter category.
For those of you who have been living under a rock lately, the Birthers are people, the majority of whom belong to the Republican party, who actually believe that President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States. For instance, a woman recently used a town hall meeting in Delaware as a pulpit to espouse the whacky views of the Birthers. She waved her own birth certificate around and talked of how her grandfather served American in the military during World War II. (By the way, President Obama’s grandfather also served in the United States military during WWII.) This same woman also claimed that President Obama is really a citizen of Kenya and that she wants her country back. (I was not aware that anyone had taken it away.) To his credit, Representative Mike Castle (R-DE) did tell this Birther woman that President Obama is indeed an American citizen. (He actually seemed a bit confused by her claims. View the entire video at: msnbc.com.) Naturally, this Birther person paid absolutely no attention.
The Birthers want to see the president’s birth certificate. (This includes Rush Limbaugh, who does not apparently watch the news or visit the internet either.) Wellll — it was produced during the presidential campaign and can now be viewed on FactCheck.org, who did run a fact check. In addition, they could watch Chris Matthews on his show Hardball. Matthews has been flashing a copy of the president’s birth certificate on the television screen at every opportunity. As if that were not enough, both of Honolulu’s newspapers — the Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin — have produced copies of the editions in which the August 4, 1961 birth announcement of the president ran. These can be viewed online at whatREALLYhappened.com. (Of course, the Birthers might very well believe that Hawaii is actually a foreign country. Ah! The birth of a new conspiracy theory!)
The Birthers, however, seem to be the type of people who definitely have no desire to ever be confused by the facts. They are conspiracy theory nut jobs, who will never let go of their conspiracy theory — no matter how many facts are stacked up to prove them wrong.
What really concerns me about this whole Birther Movement, though, is the reaction — as well as, the lack of reaction — by so many Republicans. Republican leaders could — and should — stand up and tell these Birther folks that the president is really and for true an American citizen, as did Representative Castle. Instead, we get silence or political double-speak. For instance, Representative John Campbell (R-CA) on Hardball was asked a very simple “yes” or “no” question by Matthews. Do you believe that President Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen of the United States? Campbell, instead of simply answering “yes,” proceeded to go off on some tangent about the proposed bill requiring that future candidates produce their birth certificate. (For more on this bill, see: The Huffington Post.) Matthews had a difficult time getting Campbell to answer his question, though, and even then the answer was not a simple “yes.” (To view this broadcast, go online to Hardball with Chris Matthews.) This type of reaction by Campbell just fuels the delusions of the Birthers.
I am inclined to believe that there is a decidedly racial component to the Birthers’ rantings. A person of color as president of the United States? He cannot be from around here! Whatever the reason or reasons behind this Birther Movement, however, Republican leaders need to be more vocal in their opposition to the wild — and patently false — claims being put forth by the Birthers before this entire Birther Movement reaches a dangerous level. (Do we really need to be reminded of what happened during the presidential campaign? It took then-candidate John McCain defending Obama to a woman at a town hall meeting, who — just like the Birthers — did not have her facts straight, for people to even begin to get a grip on reality. By the way, it did not become an issue during the campaign that John McCain himself was born in the Panama Canal Zone and not in one of the fifty states.) If the Republican leadership would just start putting these Birthers in their place, then maybe the focus would be more on important matters, such as health care reform and the economy, rather than on such inane legislation as having a candidate produce a birth certificate. (Just so you know, candidates have quite a lot of paperwork to fill out in order to run for office. This means that at any time their right to run for office; i.e., do they meet the Constitutional requirements, can be checked. For more on the paper trail required, see Slate.com.)