Salon.com's Joan Walsh writes that Liz Cheney, appearing on Larry King's TV show, defended the "birther" movement, which insists that Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. and thus should not be president. King apparently showed the video I wrote about yesterday, of GOP moderate Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware getting yelled at and booed by wingnuts. Then, Walsh writes,
and after Carville denounced them as a "poor, pathetic" fringe group, King gave Cheney a chance to distance herself from them. But Cheney demurred, telling King the Birther movement exists because "People are uncomfortable with a president who is reluctant to defend the nation overseas."
Seriously? Might someone point out to her that the birther movement predates the Obama presidency?
Apparently the Castle video is giving the media an in on reporting on the birthers. Chris Matthews featured it on Hardball this evening as well, dissecting Rep. John Campbell, a California Republican. Campbell is co-sponsoring a bill that requires presidential candidates to prove that they were born in the United States. He makes the, ahem, argument that the bill is not a sop to the wing-nuts in his party, but that it's just meant to clear up (presumably legitimate) confusion on the matter. "Wouldn't you want to know that, that they meet those requirements before they run?" he asked.
Well two points. One is that I thought conservatives opposed things like hate crime laws because they are redundent. The Constitution already says that you have to be a citizen. So at best all this law would do is demand that presidential candidates prove that they are not guilty of fraud or unconstitutional behavior. Innocent until proven guilty ... unless you've got a foreign-sounding name?
But of course I make the mistake of assuming rationality when talking about what is in fact either irrationality or cheap hucksterism. Matthews had it right when he told Campbell, "You are playing to the crazies."