Monday, October 24, 2011

Perry's Neo-Birtherism

Republican leaders are squirming as Texas Governor and presidential contender Rick Perry (R) once again questioned whether Barack Obama was born in the United States.

Though one would think that the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate would have quelled the "controversy" (indeed, it was what birthers claimed to have wanted all along), conspiracy theories die much harder deaths than that. And, true to form, birthers have regrouped under the simple explanation that the long-form birth certificate, like its short-form peer, is a fake. Perry, after a chat with birther doyen Donald Trump, offers that "I don’t have any idea" whether the document is genuine or not, thus giving perhaps the highest profile endorsement to the canard that there remains legitimate doubts regarding Obama's birthplace.

The irony is that I think at this stage in the game such conspiratorial nonsense hurts the GOP more than it helps (hence the nervousness by top Republican officials when confronted with Perry's comments). The worst case scenario for them, of course, is that Perry's birther flirtations help in the primary but make him toxic amongst the more, shall we say, "reality based community" of the general election electorate.

1 comment:

PG said...

Maybe Perry's just trying to block some of his potential VP rivals. Though in the interests of not alienating conservatives, I always recommend saying that birtherism is motivated by xenophobia, not racism -- after all, the "natural-born citizen" requirement in itself suggests xenophobia, so it's totally OK!