Perhaps Reince Priebus, the new head of the Republican National Committee, has no choice but to pretend he’s not worried about birther nonsense, which is proliferating like alien pods and threatening to take over the entire Republican Party. “I don’t think that it’s an issue that moves voters,” he told a journalists’ roundtable this morning. He wishes that were true.
Last week, a New York Times poll showed that 45 percent of Republican voters — that’s nearly half, folks — claim not to believe that Obama was born in the United States. And it doesn’t stop there. As I wrote then, a Public Policy Poll shows that
Only 38% of Republican primary voters say they’re willing to support a candidate for President next year who firmly rejects the birther theory and those folks want Mitt Romney to be their nominee for President next year. With the other 62% of Republicans- 23% of whom say they are only willing to vote for a birther and 39% of whom are not sure- Donald Trump is cleaning up.
Here’s the problem for the establishment GOP, the part that hasn’t taken leave of its senses. Its members know that any candidate who coddles that paranoid nonsense will not be taken seriously as a general election candidate. More and more serious Republicans, especially those who have no intention of running for president, are trying to tamp down the craziness — pointing out that there are legitimate issues no which to disagree with Obama without resorting to fringe lunacy.
But it’s probably too late. The GOP nurtured this foolishness for too long, thinking it made Obama look bad. Turns out it’s not the president who looks bad as a result of birther nonsense.