Though it's tempting to think the "Birther" garbage would be fading away, it actually seems to be getting more common in Republican circles. Just over the last couple of months, we've seen incidents involving a leading Romney campaign surrogate, the Arizona Secretary of State, and Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.).
Two weeks ago, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) deleted a Birther message from a social media site, and this week, we learned about comments from former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), who's running for the U.S. Senate in Michigan. Though he hasn't endorsed the ridiculous conspiracy theory, per se, the Republican doesn't mind pandering on the subject.
Hoekstra made these comments a few weeks ago, but these excerpts weren't posted by Michigan Democrats until this week. In the clip, Hoekstra is asked at a Tea Party rally for his thoughts on President Obama's birth certificate.
"Sure. I mean, I think -- you know, I think, throw something at me if you want, I think with this president, the book is closed, all right?" Hoekstra tells the man. "It's kind of like, I hate to say it, but I think the debate's over -- we lost that debate, and we lost that debate in 2008, when our presidential nominee said, 'I ain't talking about it.' OK, I'm sorry.
"But I do now believe that I'd like to establish a three-person office in Washington, D.C., OK -- knowing it, we'll go to five. But there's no reason why we should have this kind of question, you know, for the president of the United States. So that at any future election, all right, that someone would have to walk into that office, and prove that they meet the minimum qualifications to be president of the United States."
In Hoekstra's mind, this new federal office would include CIA and FBI officials, who would presumably be tasked with scrutinizing presidential candidates' birth certificates.
Americans have held presidential elections for 223 years, but now, for no real reason at all, Pete Hoekstra wants a new federal trio responsible for investigating candidates' citizenship status.
Hoekstra also quipped that he might now be eligible to run even though he is a Dutch immigrant -- alluding to supposedly lax enforcement that allowed Obama to become president.
"OK, I am a Dutch immigrant. I do not -- maybe now I do -- up until three or four years ago, I didn't believe I met the qualifications to be president of the United States. Am I right?"
Nope, actually you're not.
Is pandering to Birthers as offensive as being a Birther? No, but it's in the ballpark.