Sen. Jim Inhofe has also tried to find the elusive middle ground.If they "have a point" there Senator, should you be signing on to or introducing legislation like your Republican House colleagues have?
“They have a point,” he said of the birthers. “I don’t discourage it. ... But I’m going to pursue defeating [Obama] on things that I think are very destructive to America.”
And as I've said before, why should the GOP discourage it? It's red meat for the base, it delegitimizes Obama and you don't have to show any proof or evidence or anything, and most of the Village is playing along with these "examining both sides of the controversy" stories reinforcing it. It's all win for the GOP politically.
That is until somebody decides to do something about it through violence. Then? Not so much win for the Republicans.
[UPDATE 12:40 PM] Over at Media Matters, Eric Boehlert argues that the recent Birtherquake has served to create a pretty nasty backlash, particularly Lou Dobbs jumping the shark last week:
t's true that Dobbs irresponsibly mainstreamed radical right-fringe players by championing their half-baked claims that Barack Obama isn't a natural born citizen and is ineligible to serve as president of the United States. Dobbs, at least indirectly, lent the birther movement some fleeting credence as he dragged its misbegotten detective work into the spotlight. And it's still vitally important to monitor Dobbs and call out CNN management for its dreadful hypocrisy on the birther issue (i.e. The story is "dead" but it's OK for Dobbs to keep flogging it on national TV).Maybe. But as long as GOP members of Congress continue to make excuses for the Birthers, it's not dead yet. I do agree with Boehlert that we're rapidly approaching a point where congressional Republicans have to make a choice as to where they stand on the issue.
But there was some good news last week, and it came from watching Dobbs' slow motion train wreck unfold on the airwaves. It came from seeing how eagerly -- how convincingly -- the birther claims were debunked, not only online by progressives, but within the mainstream press as well -- the same mainstream press that's often reluctant to show up high-profile media players such as Dobbs, no matter how badly it has botched the facts. And let's not forget conservatives, who dismissed and ridiculed the birther claims.
In the case of the birthers, though, Dobbs' corporate media colleagues were utterly relentless in their fact-checking. I still don't think Dobbs knows what hit him. And frankly, I'm not sure I've ever seen such a well-deserved media pile-on. It's hard to see how Dobbs' career survives the humiliation.
[UPDATE 2:57 PM] Greg Sargent pins down Inhofe's office on an official position on Obama's citizenship:
Oh, and there's this from FDL too.
So I asked Inhofe spokesman Jared Young whether the Senator questions Obama’s legitimacy as President. He answered:
No. His focus is on issues.
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Actually, it was…which is precisely the whole point…
GOP members of Congress, most too scared to answer on tape if they think the President is a legal citizen of the US.
Think about that for a while.