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Congressional Birthers just can't help themselves

It's been nearly a full year since the White House, hoping to end the borderline-racist garbage once and for all, released President Obama's "long form" birth certificate. And yet, Republican members of Congress can't quite let go of this strain of madness.

Last month it was Rep. Cliff Stearns (R) of Florida. This month it's Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R) of Missouri.

Show Me Progress recorded the congresswoman's town-hall meeting in her home district last week, and posted this clip:

For those who can't watch clips online, Hartzler, responding to a constituent's question about the president's birth certificate, says, "You know, I have a lot of doubts about all that. But I don't know, I haven't seen it. I'm just at the same place you are on that. You read this, you read that. But I don't understand why he didn't show that right away. I mean, if someone asked for my birth certificate, I'd get my baby book and hand it out and say, 'Here it is,' so I don't know."

For the record, Obama released his birth certificate "right away" in 2008, just as soon as some of the more hysterical voices on the right began questioning his citizenship.

Making matters slightly worse, Hartzler told reporters after the event, "I have doubts that it is really his real birth certificate, and I think a lot of Americans do."

In other words, there may be a conspiracy involving fraudulent documents. Where's the proof of this? It exists only in the overactive imaginations of unhinged activists.

Even for House Republicans, this is pretty nutty.

To be sure, I don't expect much from Hartzler. She did, after all, give a speech last year equating same-sex marriage to incest and letting three-year-old children drive cars.

But one wonders how much more it'll take for this disgrace to end. Remember, this isn't just some random media personality or right-wing blogger, saying foolish things in public for attention. Vicky Hartzler is a member of Congress, tasked with helping shape federal law.

Why are there so many polls showing so much confusion about basic tenets of reality? In part because we have public officials like Hartzler spewing nonsense.