Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush's winning presidential campaigns, is urging Republican leaders to firmly reject "birthers," those Americans who insist, despite the evidence, that President Obama wasn't born in the U.S. and therefore isn't eligible to be president. Rove says the rumors are a White House "trap" that deflect attention from Obama's mishandling of the issues. Are birthers really helping Obama more than they're helping the GOP? (See Rove's comments)
Rove is right. Birthers are poison to the GOP: A third of partisans on both sides of the aisle are "bat guano crazy," says Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse. In this crucial "moment in American history," Republicans simply can't afford to pay attention to their "loony," paranoid fringe. "We need hard headed realism, not mushy headed conspiracy theories."
"Rove and I are right: Innoculate conservatism against the birthers"
Rove is wrong — but smart: Remember, House Speaker John Boehner looked ridiculous when he said it wasn't his job to correct birthers' misconceptions, says Alex Pareene in Salon. Rove was "smarter," and came right out and said "birtherism is stupid." But claiming that the nutty conspiracy theory is "somehow an Obama trick" is "patent nonsense." It's also clever. Now Republicans can denounce this fringe movement without having to admit their complicity in letting it grow in the first place.
"Karl Rove says birtherism is a White House trap"
Good luck rejecting half the GOP: Karl Rove is the one living in a fantasy world, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. The birthers' "dumb, arguably racist, nonsense" is not "confined to the lunatic fringe." A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that "more than half of the GOP's most reliable voters have gone mad," and swallowed the claim that Obama isn't a natural-born U.S. citizen. Rove thinks GOP leaders should ignore their base? Good luck with that.
"Rove to GOP base: It's a trap"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The case for voting (even if America is a corrupt plutocracy rigged by the rich)
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 10 things you need to know today: October 21, 2014
Subscribe to the Week