In the latest news from birther-land, a new spokesman has arrived: The Donald. The man is a salesman of the Atlantic City boardwalk variety (same place where the late Billy Mays got his start) and he sees that casting aspersions on the president’s legitimacy as “one of us” is what sells right now, at least with the know-nothing tea party conservative base. So he’s out there hawking.
It’s a story I’ve been writing for several years now mostly in the pages of POLITICO, a story about how the current leadership of the conservative movement cannot or will not shut down this racially laden pandering. Trump is the latest case in point. My editor at POLITICO posed the question in terms of whether or not the media should cut Trump off because of his birtherism; my counter was that it’s really the duty of the leaders of the conservative movement to do this — the media’s job is to report, and as long as the right keeps spewing this nonsense, it deserves to be covered. This was my response to Brad Smith, a bona fide conservative intellectual of the Federalist Society mold, who has tried to blame the media and the left for “keeping the story alive.” The birther story is kept alive because of people like Huckabee and now Trump, and the failure of responsible conservatives to shut them down.