I don’t normally make a big deal out of loopy legislation that has just one sponsor, or maybe a couple of them. I figure that such bills are bound for a quick dead end, and that paying attention to their sponsors only encourages them.
But when there are 94 signers on a loopy bill — as is the case with the “birther” bill in the General Assembly — it’s time to speak up. And HB 401, the so-called Presidential Eligibility Assurance Act, is a farce.
The “birther” movement is a fringe movement everywhere — except, evidently, in the Georgia House Republican caucus. Although there are opinion polls that suggest “birtherism” has become more widespread, I agree with my colleague Jay Bookman that such poll results are more reflective of tribal loyalty than of a genuine belief that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii (or that Hawaii is not in fact one of the United States).
The popular appeal of wild conspiracies — birtherism, 9/11 trutherism, Trig Palin trutherism, etc. — is a hallmark of our age. But is it too much to ask of our legislators that they not try to enshrine such conspiracies in state law?
– By Kyle Wingfield
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