The chairman of the Iowa Republican Party’s platform committee says the group is intentionally questioning President Obama’s citizenship with the wording in one section of the document. It calls for presidential candidates to “show proof of being a ‘natural born citizen’ of the United States.”
Don Racheter, chairman of the Iowa GOP’s 2012 platform committee, spoke with Radio Iowa by phone this afternoon.
“There are many Republicans who feel that Barack Obama is not a ‘natural born citizen’ because his father was not an American when he was born and, therefore, feel that according to the Constitution he’s not qualified to be president, should not have been allowed to be elected by the Electoral College or even nominated by the Democratic Party in 2008, so this is an election year. It’s a shot at him,” Racheter said.
You don't get much crazier than birtherism -- although I suppose you'd have to call this neo-birtherism. Of course, neo-birtherism is probably worse, since it means you accept that the original birther argument was horsecrap, but you're sticking with the broader premise anyway. It's practically an admission of playing politics with paranoia.
But the Iowa GOP's nuttiness doesn't end with this neo-birtherism. Oh no, there's plenty more crazy in there, as Ed Kilgore points out:
[I]f you take a look at the document as a whole, the birth certificate requirement is far from the crankiest of provisions. It calls for the abolition of the federal Departments of Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Energy, Interior, Labor, and Commerce. It demands a phase-out of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and immediate provisions to make Social Security voluntary. Though it’s a bit confusing on this point, it seems to call for the abolition of public education, or, as it often refers to them, “government schools.” It calls for U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations and the repeal of all hate crimes and non-discrimination legislation. It endorses a Fetal Personhood Amendment. It demands permanent restriction of total federal spending to 10% of GDP (the draconian right-wing Cut, Cap and Balance Act would limit it to 19.9% of GDP), and reversal of the Supreme Court precedents that made possible the New Deal and civil rights laws.
Outside the GOP base, none of this stuff would be popular. It's a big steaming pile of John Birch Society nonsense and the craziest of Ron Paul "libertarian" ideas. If Republicans ran on this nationally, it would be a slaughter. Which makes me think of another thing Kilgore writes.
"[Y]ou better believe if any group of two or more Democrats wrote up anything remotely this extreme, alarms would go up from coast to coast," he says. "I wish at a minimum Republican candidates for major offices in Iowa had to comment on this document one way or another. Walking those planks would do them a world of good in coming to grips with what’s happened to their party."
It doesn't seem to me to be all that difficult a task to get national Republicans to take a stand on these issues -- just ask them if they agree with their biggest supporters.
For example, Steve Benen looks at Arizona's birther Secretary of State Ken Bennett, currently in a clownish battle with the state of Hawaii to obtain a certain species of birth certificate that just plain doesn't exist. Bennett demands his nonexistent documents be magically made to exist or he threatens to keep President Obama off the ballot in his state. And here's where things start looking pretty goddam corrupt.
"Did I mention that Bennett is the co-chair of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in Arizona?" Benen asks. "Well, he is -- Romney's top ally in a battleground state is also the man responsible for overseeing the state's elections, and the official threatening to keep Romney's opponent's name off the Arizona ballot."
Hey, Mr. Romney, do you agree or disagree with your squirrelly Arizona co-chair that the president ought to be kept off the ballot because he doesn't have a kind of birth certificate that doesn't actually exist? Do you think that the fact that the president and yourself are tied in that state has anything to do with this (because that sure looks dirty, dirty, dirty)? And will you be asking Mr. Bennett to step down from your election committee?
There. Was that so hard?
And this is going to be true for every one of these "wingnuts gone wild" stories. Some clown involved is going to be a Romney co-chair. It's practically guaranteed. And every time, Team Obama should find out who that co-chair is and start beating Mittens over the head with them.
Why are all your supporters either lunatics or dirty tricksters, Mitt? What's that say about you?
[Image credit: Jeremy Vandel, via Flickr]