Opinion Brief

The birthers' new momentum

Lawmakers in 10 states are considering new rules inspired by birthers who insist President Obama isn't a citizen. Will they ever give up?

The "birther" controversy surrounding President Obama isn't going away — in fact, it seems to be gathering steam. Politico reports that lawmakers in at least 10 states have proposed new election rules requiring presidential candidates to provide proof that they are natural born citizens. The bills were inspired by diehards who insist that Obama was born abroad and therefore should not have been allowed to run for president. Is this a sign that the birthers' attacks on Obama will survive into his 2012 re-election campaign, and beyond? (Watch a Fox News discussion about birthers)

Birthers will not give up, facts be damned: The "birther nonsense" has gone beyond the "idiotic jokes" conservative politicians love to tell in front of crowds, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. Now that 10 states are "advancing actual legislation in response to insane conspiracy theories," it is clear that Obama will have to deal with these "ridiculous" attempts to undermine his legitimacy as long as he holds office. The birthers aren't interested in facts. They just want to tear down the president."Birther nonsense spreading in state capitals" The birthers just want answers: Liberals want everyone to believe birthers are attacking Obama because he "has a funny name, and he is black," says Cindy Simpson in The American Thinker. But a "substantial number of voters" have doubts about the president's eligibility, and they deserve answers. Hawaii has only produced a "$100 souvenir version" of Obama's birth certificate. And Obama might have had dual-citizenship at birth thanks to his Kenyan father, which would disqualify him in Arizona and Nebraska under new legislation."The birther card"

This controversy hurts Republicans, not Obama: The birther silliness will continue as long as Republican leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), can't bring themselves to "disavow the crazy insistence" that Obama isn't an American citizen, says Cynthia Tucker in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That doesn't make Obama look bad. It disgraces the GOP, by making it clear the party is "being held hostage by its paranoid rightwing fringe — its fact-averse, conspiracy-mongering lunatics.""GOP leaders scared to stand up to birthers"

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