Like the monster at the end of a horror movie, birtherism refuses to stay down, no matter how many times it’s left for dead. It has been over a year since the White House tried to shove a long-form stake through the heart of the conspiracy, and yet some Republican politicians continue to offer fodder for the fringe which refuses to accept that Barack Obama is the legitimate President of the United States.
TPM’s Nick Martin has been closely following Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s recent adventures in birther-mongering. Bennett, the man in charge of running Arizona’s elections, threatened last week to keep Obama off the state’s ballots in November. Bennett’s shenanigans followed the lead of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who earlier this year announced that members of a special posse had determined that a copy of Obama’s birth certificate released last year by the White House was a fraud. (Arpaio saw Bennett’s move this week and raised him an absurdity by dispatching a deputy from his “threats unit” to Hawaii as part of his probe.)
But birtherism is hardly an Arizona-only phenomenon. Signs of life from the birther hive have also recently been reported in Iowa, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, and Florida. (It is also worth noting, as TPM reported last week, that some of the most hardcore birthers are now so far gone that they’re saying Obama was born in America after all, only now they think his Kenyan father was a cover for his “real” father, communist Frank Marshall Davis..)
Just this week, TheIowaRepublican.com and other outlets acquired a draft of the proposed platform Iowa Republicans will adopt at their state convention on June 16. The document contained the following line: “We believe candidates for President of the United States must show proof of being a ‘natural born citizen’ as required by Article II, Section I of the Constitution — beginning with the 2012 election.” In an interview with Radio Iowa on Monday, Don Racheter, chairman of the Iowa GOP’s 2012 platform committee, said the section was “a shot” at the president.
Jim Pendergraph, who on July 17 will face fellow Republican Robert Pittenger in a Republican primary runoff for the state’s 9th District House seat, last month had Arpaio join for a campaign event, and said the following, when asked about Obama’s birth certificate.
Earlier in April, Republican Richard Hudson, now facing a primary run off in North Carolina’s 8th District, raised his own questions about Obama’s citizenship at a Tea Party forum.
On May 12, at a fundraiser in Elbert County, Colorado, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) told a crowd that he didn’t know if Barack Obama was born in the United States of America.
“I don’t know that,” he said. “But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”
In April, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) told constituents at a town hall event that she had doubts about Obama’s birth certificate.
“You know, I have a lot of doubts about all that. But I don’t know, I haven’t seen it,” Hartzler said when asked about the issue, according to The Huffington Post. “I’m just at the same place you are on that. You read this, you read that. But I don’t understand why he didn’t show that right away. I mean, if someone asked for my birth certificate, I’d get my baby book and hand it out and say ‘Here it is,’ so I don’t know.”
After the event, The Sedalia Democrat asked Hartzler to clarify her comments, and the Congresswoman responded: “I have doubts that it is really his real birth certificate, and I think a lot of Americans do, but they claim it is, so we are just going to go with that.”
She declined to say whether she believes the president is a U.S. citizen, calling the issue “irrelevant.”
Back in February, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) offered perhaps the best example of how this undead issue survives even after it’s been debunked time and again.