Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Atlanta-Journal Constitution:

A House Republican this week -- backed by 93 other lawmakers -- proposed a law that would force presidential and vice presidential candidates to prove their citizenship before landing on the Georgia ballot.

House Bill 401 would not allow a candidate on the ballot until the Secretary of State receives "adequate evidence of such person's eligibility for election" to those offices. The bill's sponsor is Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross, but has huge backing with other GOP members.

"I think the issue with our sitting president has been left unresolved for a significant length of time that people have concerns," Hatfield said....

Hatfield said he describes himself as a Constitutionalist not a "birther" but believes that evidence of Obama's birth has never been made public.

"We've seen a computer-generated summary of a live birth but not the particulars of his birth on a long form," Hatfield said. "Congress has never created an enforcement mechanism, so it is up to the states to step up and fill the gap." ...

I'm told here that the 94 backers of the bill in the Georgia House include 1 Democrat and 93 Republicans; 21 House Republicans, perhaps bravely, haven't signed on. So the backers not only a majority of the House's 180 members, they constitute 81% of the GOP House delegation.

I'm also told that the bill requires

A certified exact copy of the candidate's first original long-form birth certificate that includes the candidate's date, time, and place of birth; the name of the specific hospital or other location at which the candidate was born; the attending physician at the candidate's birth; the names of the candidate's birth parents and their respective birthplaces and places of residence; and signatures of the witness or witnesses in attendance at the candidate's birth.

This is insane. But it's the new normal in the GOP, which is why everyone who wants to be the party's candidate for president will have to embrace at least "birtherism lite." Mike Huckabee did so yesterday -- clumsily, but I bet he hasn't really done himself any harm among the primary electorate. He echoed Georgia's favorite son, Newt Gingrich, on the notion of Obama's seeming foreignness and "anti-colonialism." My guess is that all the candidates for 2012 will do something very similar, or suffer the consequences.

(Gingrich, I'm told, may face questions about the bill as he ratchets up his presidential campaign. I'm sure he'll just fudge the answers, talking about Obama as a weird alien and never giving a straight answer on whether he supports the bill. And I'm sure the press will let him slide.)


UPDATE: Joe Klein has some thoughts about Huckabee, Gingrich, and semi-birtherism, and makes an admirable suggestion:

...Mike Huckabee made a toxic fool of himself on the subject of Barack Obama's upbringing and heritage:
"If you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."
... When I was growing up, Mau Mau was shorthand for: Extremely Scary Black People.... To associate Barack Obama with the Mau Mau rebellion is to feed all the worst, paranoid fears of Glenn Beck's America--and, as any sane person knows, completely ridiculous.

But with Newt Gingrich--who endorsed Dinesh D'Souza's obscene theory that Obama had internalized his father's
alleged view of the world even though he met his father only once, briefly, when he was a child--about to enter the presidential race, the question of where and how Barack Obama grew up should be a bright line test for every Republican candidate. If a candidate is willing to endorse, or equivocate, on these racist fantasies, we of the wildly powerless Mainstream Media Priesthood should shun and shame him or her....

An admirable suggestion but a rather naive one: won't that mean shunning and shaming every Republican candidate? I mean, yeah, it'd be nice to think that the MSM would actually do that on grounds of extremism, but I'm not holding my breath.

Then again, Klein doesn't seem to have fully grasped the diseased nature of American society. He also writes:

Huckabee was never an entirely plausible candidate for President--could we actually ever elect a man who has his doubts about evolution?

Um, Joe? We already did -- twice. Ronald Reagan:

During the 1980 campaign, he refused to endorse evolution, a touchstone issue among scientists, saying, "Well, [evolution] is a theory--it is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it was once believed."

And George W. Bush:

The Washington Post, August 27, 1999:
Bush spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said, "He believes both creationism and evolution ought to be taught.... He believes it is a question for states and local school boards to decide but believes both ought to be taught."

The Kansas City Star, September 9, 1999:
"I think it's an interesting part of knowledge (to have) a theory of evolution and a theory of creationism. People should be exposed to different points of view. Should the people choose in my state (to adopt a rule similar to Kansas') I have no problem" with public schools teaching both creationism and evolution.

Reuters, November 4, 1999:
Bush supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in public schools. Bush stated, "I have absolutely no problem with children learning different forms of how the world was formed." Bush believes decisions regarding curriculum should be made by local school districts.

This support for "teaching the controversy" was reiterated in 2005. (Admittedly, however, Bush may have been faking -- he finally said he believes in both God and evolution, but he didn't have the guts to say that until his term in office had less than two months to go.)

No comments: