Saturday, April 23, 2011

If you've ever wondered whether or not Republican politicians actually believed the birther crap, we can thank Donald Trump for settling it.

Until Trump recently became the most famous birther, many Republicans would either look to side-step the issue by not answering questions directly or they would encourage the continuation of the conspiracy theory by mentioning the possibility Obama may not be a U.S. citizen, thus leaving the door slightly ajar to satisfy and energize the kooks in the base. It worked for the GOP politically.

However, along comes The Don, who quickly makes it his #1 issue in his maybe/maybe-not 2012 run.  I assumed all those same Republican officials would do the usual when asked what they thought of Trump's allegations about Obama's place of birth, that they'd hee and haw but ultimately do some wink-wink and deftly support the notion (leaving door slightly open....).

But I was wrong. One after another, Republicans have been firmly and clearly coming out against all this birther nonsense, stating for the record that it's not a serious issue and seemingly never was. Michele Bachmann, Karl Rove, Eric Cantor, just to name a few, are suddenly above such silliness.

Why the change of mind? I surmise two reasons. The first is they never actually believed the birther stuff and felt with the 2012 race beginning to take shape that they would need to appear like credible people and distance themselves from something that has served their political purposes up till now.

The second reason is the GOP establishment quickly figured out that they needed to put a stop to Trump's growing popularity as a presidential contender. He may not have the billions of dollars he claims to have but he certainly has enough to make a go of it. But more so The Don appears to be a loose cannon who will say anything that pops into his head. Trump is loyal to only one thing: himself. He will and has gone off script and such behavior frightens the heck out of Republicans. In other words, The Don truly "goes rogue" and by all means Republicans do not want that!  Oh yes, say you're "going rogue," that you're not just another politician, that you're a maverick, etc., but just don't mean it!

The bottom line is thanks to Trump, we've come to learn that Republicans never believed in the birther movement. Nothing has changed with regards to the existing documentation, what is known, what Obama and his administration have said, etc., and yet suddenly we observe this rising tide of GOP converts. As I've said, Trump's antics and 2012 fast approaching combined to force Republicans to admit the truth they knew to be the case all along.

And once again, the too-many nutballs in the GOP base get played by their leaders.... That never gets old.