Sure, it might seem like "giving in" to the enemy -- responding to right-wing hysteria and releasing the long-form birth certificate. But here's why the move is a canny one:
- It keeps the issue in the news. Even more so, it gives it that much more visibility. And let's face it, this is a huge loser for the GOP. What better way to show how out-of-touch and irrational Republicans are, than to rub this in their face.
- The media has already treated the birthers harshly, equating them with the truthers (and deservedly so). But while the truthers never got buy in from any progressive of note, the birthers have been fully embraced by top conservative leaders. Heck, Donald Trump has based his presidential flirtations entirely on birtherism. So if the media was harsh to the birthers before today, how do you think they'll react when the headlines are: Trump Adviser: Even If Long-Form Birth Certificate Is Genuine, It Doesn’t Prove Anything.
- The narrative now is how Republicans deal with this outburst of crazy. It's the kind of GOP vs GOP story we rarely get. Enjoy it.
- The entire birther movement used to revolve around the single question: "Why won't Obama release his long-form birth certificate". While their claims were idiotic, that demand had a smidgeon of reasonableness to it. Now that Obama has verified the obvious, the birthers have lost all semblance of rationality. At this point, those who cling to their Kenyan theories are beyond redemption. (As we all knew they were.)
Look, there's a reason why key Republican strategists are trying to shut this thing down.
Top Republicans who see the “birther” movement as a potential harm to their party are again disavowing the disproven conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born overseas and is ineligible to be president.
The head of the RNC has been waging a losing battle for his party's sanity:
The chairman of the Republican National Committee said Tuesday President Obama was born in the U.S., with Reince Priebus' comment coming as questions about Obama's birthplace face a revival, fueled lately in part by Donald Trump, who is mulling a 2012 GOP presidential bid.
Karl Rove, among others has minced no words about it:
Former Bush adviser Karl Rove is calling on GOP politicians to avoid falling into the “birther” movement trap and to stop fueling rumors that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
“Within our party, we’ve got to be very careful about allowing these people who are the birthers and the 9/11-deniers to get too high a profile and say too much without setting the record straight,” Rove said Wednesday night on Fox News.
Rove spun his own fantastic conspiracy theory -- that the White House was behind the birther rumors. That was patently ridiculous at the time, but no longer. The White House has smartly thrown kerosene on the fire. Rove is right, the issue is impossible for the media to cover without making Republicans look insane. So the more Team Obama can focus attention on the fact that just a third of Republicans believe Obama is a U.S. citizen, the better for Team Blue.
So today's move was nothing short of brilliant.