"a shot at" Obama.
That should have been the end of the story. The president proved what anybody with half a brain and absent a racist political agenda already knew to be true. He was just as American as the rest of us. The amateur and professional purveyors of the Kenyan birth conspiracy tale and all its permutations ought right then and there to have dropped to their knees and apologized to everyone within earshot.
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If the holdouts who still believe—or at least say they believe—that Obama is a Kenyan or Indonesian or some other not-American were just guys sitting around in their basements surrounded by white supremacist literature and bandoleers, they could just be written off. But, sadly, infuriatingly, that's not the case.
There is, for example, the Iowa GOP's proposed 2012 platform. It's a document brimful of paranoia, stupidity, vapidity and anachronism (like investigating ACORN, a disbanded organization). The platform includes this bit:
“We believe candidates for President of the United States must show proof of being a ‘natural born citizen’ as required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution — beginning with the 2012 election.”In case you're inclined for some unaccountable reason to give the Iowa GOP the benefit of the doubt here, Don Racheter, the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party's platform committee, made clear in an interview with Radio Iowa what the intent is:
“There are many Republicans who feel that Barack Obama is not a ‘natural born citizen’ because his father was not an American when he was born and, therefore, feel that according to the Constitution he’s not qualified to be president, should not have been allowed to be elected by the Electoral College or even nominated by the Democratic Party in 2008, so this is an election year. It’s a shot at him.”Translation: We won't be convinced of Obama's citizenship unless Jesus writes it in the sky with a burst of celestial fire.
Meanwhile, across the country in Arizona, home of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is still engaged in his own "investigation" of Obama's credentials, Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett is continuing to bellyache because Hawaii officials won't provide him with proof of the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate so he can determine whether the president's name can appear on the Arizona ballot.
Sick of being deluged with up to 50 requests a month regarding Obama's birth certificate, Republican Gov. Linda Lingle signed a bill telling Hawaii officials they can ignore such requests. Instead of ignoring Bennett, however, they're making him jump through hoops to prove he has legal authority to run this investigation. TPMMuckraker filed for the email exchange between Bennett and Hawaii's Deputy Attorney General Jill Nagamine and received this collection.
In a radio interview, Bennett said he is "not a birther" and believes Obama was born in Hawaii. But then he hedged, saying "or at least I hope he was."
In other words, he's having it both ways. Just like the guy he backs for the presidency. You see, Bennett co-chairs Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in Arizona. So, as Steve Benen points out, "Romney's top ally in a battleground state is also the man responsible for overseeing the state's elections, and the official threatening to keep Romney's opponent's name off the Arizona ballot."
If Team Romney wants to keep the stink of birtherism off their candidate, they ought to be on the phone with Bennett right now telling him to abandon his absurd opportunistic request of Hawaiian officials to prove what's already been proven. But if that phone conversation came to public attention it might cost them the votes of wackjobs already suspicious that Romney is a closet socialist. And they wouldn't want to do that.