By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Members of the Arizona state House have made a strong bid for this year's coveted "nuttiest legislative body" award, voting to enshrine birtherism as state policy (would that make it the state's official neurosis?). Phoenix's KPHO TV station reports that the Arizona House voted 31-22 in favor of legislation (they added it as an amendment to a separate bill) requiring that presidential candidates submit proper documentation proving that they are constitutionally eligible for the office in order to get on the state's ballot. In other words Barack Obama seeking reelection in 2012 would have to show the state his birth certificate or not be on the ballot.
This is especially fun because birtherism has already become an issue in the contested GOP senate primary between incumbent John "I never considered myself a maverick" McCain and House member-turned right wing radio host J.D. Hayworth. As a general matter, McCain has been running hard to the right, trying to out-conservative Hayworth (or at least match him--see, for example, McCain's embrace of Arizona's militant new anti-immigration law), which could be kind of hard, since J.D. is a native of The Crazy, while McCain is an immigrant to it. But birtherism is an issue on which McCain has tried to hold the sane ground, putting an ad online accusing Hayworth of being a birther. Hayworth, like many fringe pols, has flirted with birtherism but officially denies it.
Of course while the Arizona House is blazing a trail into the fringe, they may soon have fellow travelers. Similar legislation has been introduced in Oklahoma, Florida, and Missouri.
Before the Arizona House's bold move, Georgia state legislators seemed to lead the pack for nuttiest local legislative body, for their efforts to stem the tide of microchips being involuntarily implanted in people. The aptly named state Sen. Chip Pearson is sponsoring the legislation, which would make such implantation a misdemeanor. (Ex-Gov. Roy Barnes, running to get his office back, skewers the bill as addressing a non-existent problem, and adds that if someone did try to forcibly insert a microchip in his head, "it should be more than a damned misdemeanor.") The Georgia House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill featuring testimony that would be hilarious but for the fact that it came from someone who seems to need help of a different variety than being asked to testify in a legislative session. (Suffice it to say that it involved the Department of Defense allegedly implanting a microchip in a very private part of the witness's body.)
Of course the committee proceeded to pass the bill. Crazy is as crazy does.