Feature

Birthers get lonelier

Congress—and powerful conservatives everywhere—try to quiet questions about President Obama's birth certificate.

Take that, "birthers," said Eric Kleefeld in Talking Points Memo. The House of Representatives has just passed a bill recognizing the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's statehood and noting the state as President Obama's birthplace. The 378–0 vote was a "none-too-subtle jab at the birthers"—who claim Obama wasn't really born in the U.S. and therefore isn't eligible to be president. And the real insult came when Rep. Bill Posey, sponsor of the "infamous Birther Bill," and other Republican sympathizers cast their votes for the language recognizing Obama as a natural-born citizen.

It's true that "a few misguided souls among the Right" have indulged this birther "foolishness," said National Review in an editorial, but "the birth-certificate business is not a uniquely conservative phenomenon." The claim that Obama was born in Kenya appears to have originated with a pro–Hillary Clinton blog during the presidential primaries. "Barack Obama may prefer European-style socialized health care," but "he was born in the USA."

Sympathetic House Republicans and the National Review aren't the only conservative forces abandoning the nutty birthers, said Alex Koppelman in Salon. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly has slammed birthers (watch), and even the infamous right-wing pundit Ann Coulter has withheld her support (watch). When even "some of the conservative movement's most notorious and recognizable media personalities" are denouncing these loonies, it must be getting pretty lonely aboard "the birther crazy train."

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