Sarah Palin on Thursday told radio talk show host Rusty Humphries that the provenance of Barack Obama's birth certificate is "a fair question, just like I think past associations and past voting record — all of that is fair game."
Well... ain't that a gas? AllahPundit at Hot Air writes: "Something for (almost) everyone here: For the left, smoking-gun proof that she’s a fringe character, and for Birthers, smoking-gun proof that their concerns are mainstream."
And how. Joel Mathis is so upset, in fact, he's threatened to eat some baronial linen fine art paper.
Moments before, responding to the question of whether she would "make the birth certificate an issue" if she ran, Palin said: "I think the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue ’cause I think there are enough members of the electorate who still want answers."
Allah again: "It’s the same thing as Truthers saying that all they’re doing is 'asking questions.' The answers have already been provided; they just reject them because they’re married to their conspiracies."
Meantime, Pajamas Media's Rick Moran, whose work I'm liking more and more lately, utterly destroys Palin's assertions:
No, it is not a “fair question.” It is a silly, stupid, ignorant question. No, “the public” is not making this an issue — only looney tune numbskulls are pursuing it. No, there aren’t “enough (whatever that means) members of the electorate who still want answers.” Only a small subset of the entire electorate cares.
By even entertaining the question the way she did, Palin has lent some mainstream legitimacy to a fringe theory. Doing so doesn't help her chances at anything other than winning the goodwill of nutters. And, indeed, her stake puts every Republican elected official on defense. Writes Moran:
(S)he is now going to force every GOP candidate for the House and Senate to come out and declare whether they are birther nuts or not. Even if they’re not, being forced to answer in the first place makes the party look even kookier than it has to this point in time. You can bet Democratic opponents of Republican candidates will be asking whether they agree with Palin or not — and they will do it every chance they get. The press will gleefully repeat the question, no matter how many times the GOP candidate answers it.
That is correct.
Joel and I dispensed with the Birther business in a Scripps-Howard column in August. I wrote:
Every calorie burned and every neuron fired on the subject of President Obama's birthplace -- yes, contrary to what you might have heard Alan Keyes say, he is president -- is energy better spent elsewhere.
It is energy not spent opposing the president's very real policies. Congress is busy debating a $1 trillion health-reform bill that would fundamentally change the way Americans get medical care, and yet some Americans would rather argue over Obama's certification of live birth.
Why? Because of the fallacy of "if only." If only we can show that Obama is constitutionally unqualified to be president, it would all just go away -- the crazy socialized medicine schemes, the cap and tax energy legislation, the suicidal debt increases, the ridiculous posturing to Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, all of it.
If only politics were so simple. Forget the fringe. Obama isn't going anywhere. But his agenda presents conservatives with real opportunities to craft and articulate sound alternatives. Conspiracy theories, like the poor, will always be with us. But they don't win elections.
For her own part, Palin revised and extended her remarks on Facebook under the headline "Stupid Conspiracies":
Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask... which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.
If the conspiracy theories are as stupid as Palin says, she ought not do her part to fuel them. By the way, notice how well parsed her last sentence is. Very deft. And who could be against regular folks asking questions...?