GOP Becoming Birther Party? 58 Percent Unsure/Doubt Obama Really Born In U.S.

straight_jacket.jpgIf a new Kos/Research2000 poll is correct, the Republican party — the once-proud party of thoughtful, policy-oriented conservatives such as Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan – could be morphing into the “birther party.”

Why does this matter? Because there needs to be at least a modicum of consensus in American politics and the birthers — egged on by conservative talk show hosts such as Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity (who still can’t stop talking about Reverend Wright) and the once-considered-mainstream but now tainted and increasingly ratings challenged CNN anchor Lou Dobbs — are clearly no longer a “fringe” element. Indeed, these poll numbers show the continued triumph of the talk radio political culture in shaping the attitudes of many Republicans, who are greatly influenced by what’s said by some hosts who they have come to consider to be good friends who talk to them three hours a day on the radio or for an hour on cable. But take note: some with microphones have not bought into the birthers, among them Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

These results indicate that more and more many Republicans are separating themselves not just in policy but in perceptions (and evidence to the contrary be damned) from many moderates, independents and conservative Democrats — let alone liberal Democrats. If the birther movement grows, the Republican party will be danger of becoming the party of the political Grassy Knoll. The Politico:

A whopping 58 percent of Republicans either think Barack Obama wasn’t born in the US (28 percent) or aren’t sure (30 percent). A mere 42 percent think he was.

That means a majority of Republicans polled either don’t know about — or don’t believe the seemingly incontrovertible evidence Obama’s camp has presented over and over and over that he was born in Hawaii in ’61.

It also explains why Republicans, including Roy Blunt, are playing footsie with the Birther fringe.

Prediction: Look for more of the same and those GOPers who go too far in pooh-poohing the issue may eventually have to apologize.

Some 77 percent of Americans believe that, yes, Obama is indeed an American:

Surprise, surprise: Birther sentiment was strongest in the South and among the 60-plus crowd – presumably because seniors can’t log on to the Internet and rely on rumor, word of mouth and right-wing talk radio.

(UPDATE: The Headline of the Day on this story also comes from Daily Kos:Did Obama’s Birth Certificate Kill Vince Foster?)

Yet another sign of how the GOP is in danger of evolving into a regional political party. Clearly, this poll also indicates the birthers have NOT taken over the GOP – but it also shows how broadcasters hammering home negative material (even if it is sometimes this) can influence many Americans. And it shows a troubling evolution for the party: where will this lead in terms of dealing with other segments of the American polity, working with others in good faith to find real solutions — and in terms of the Republican party’s need to expand it’s base beyond what it and talk radio shows have now?

HERE ARE FEW OTHER REACTIONS:
Kos himself:

Once again, Republicans find themselves outside the American mainstream. And reality.

Andrew Sullivan:

And it has nothing to do with his race…What it also means – now that the GOP is an almost entirely Southern party – is that the Republicans cannot really take this on. 58 percent – a clear majority of Republican voters – either don’t believe or are unsure about whether Obama is legitimately the president of the United States.

Just One Minute:

I expect to be back with more when time permits, but briefly, I am in the “Show Us The Certificate” camp – what’s the mystery?….Let’s think big (in a small-minded way) – suppose the original certificate has Obama as “Barry”, with attendant documentation formally changing his name to “Barack” when Obama was in his teens or twenties. That would be a hard memory lapse to explain, and sort of mar the current version of his “Dreams From My Father” story.

--Alan Colmes:

Remember how the right got angry at the left for suggesting that George Bush wasn’t truly the president because he was arbitrarily chosen by the Supreme Court? And these yahoos can’t even come to terms with whether a president not of their choosing is anything other than an illegal immigrant.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit:

Party-line breakdowns: Dems 93/4/3 (the last figure is “don’t know”), Indies 83/8/9, and GOP … 42/28/30. Fully 58 percent of Republicans aren’t willing to accept a state-issued Certification of Live Birth as proof that The One was born in Honolulu? I’m skeptical, but, er, not so skeptical that I’m willing to poll this myself at HA. Sounds like a job for Scott Rasmussen. How about it, Scottster?

Brendan Nyan has a post with a graphic that needs to be run in full. Here’s one small part of it:

As you can see, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the number of correct responses is much higher on the citizenship question than the religion question. On the other hand, the proportion of incorrect answers is also much higher on the citizenship question among Republicans, which suggests that the encouragement of the birth certificate myth by conservative pundits and Republican politicians has begun to activate the GOP base on this issue. I’m not sure if Michael Steele is going to be able to make this “unnecessary distraction” go away any time soon.

Outside the Beltway’s Alex Knapp:

If those numbers are accurate (and the DailyKos/Research 2000 polls aggregate in line with other major polls, so there’s no reason to immediately question the numbers), then this is a much more serious problem. As my colleague Dodd pointed out earlier this week, if less than half of Republicans believe that Barack Obama is a citizen, that makes it much more difficult for the Republican Party to put forth reasonable debate and opposition against the Democrats and craft sound policy proposals.

You just can’t focus on policy when 1/3 of your base wants you to focus on the crazy. You can’t craft sound bipartisan legislation by working with the President when a photo-op with him risks you votes in the primaries becaue 1/3 of your constituency doesn’t want you “working with foreigners” and thinks that the President doesn’t belong there.

Kudos to Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and the other conservative pundits out there who’ve been willing to decry the birthers. Hopefully more will follow suit. [In an Update he adds:]I am not interested in living in a one party state, but that’s what we’re going to have if the Republican base keeps dwelling on this nonsense.

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  • RememebrNovember

    Just goes to show for 15$ a month you can play connect the dots in the clouds. Forget empirical data so long as there's enough wiggle room to make a chasm so you can jump to conclusions, padded heavily by unsupported facts and innuendo.

    O'reilly's no fooll- a hack and a spinmeister yes, but not a fool to commit career suicide like Dobbs did.

  • superdestroyer

    Could you please supply a non-partisan poll instead of the Kos poll that is designed to make Republicans look bad.

  • qwert321

    who still can’t stop talking about Reverend Wright

    A lot of people think Obama is a lying scumbag because of his lack of candor in regards to his relationship with Wright. This lack of trust spills over to birth certificate issue.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    The Big-Dog-Birther-Lady was on the Stephen Colbert show earlier this week, where she said there was NOTHING that would convince her that Obama was legitimately the President of the United States.

    NOTHING.

  • mlhradio

    I just love the teabagger/birther nuts – it's the gift that keeps on giving to the Democratic Party – their continued existence pretty much ensures that the childish republicans will remain in a minority status for as long as they continue to whine.

    For a few good reason why Americans continue to humor the silly teabagger/birthers, here's a blog entry I ran across on TPM recently: (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/repu…) – I did not write this, just copying it from the link above:

    ——

    Because its equally pointless, I enjoy answering birther challenges as much as they like slinging them. So I'll examine a few of their questions.

    Why doesn't Obama submit to the demands of the birthers? The birthers are demanding that Obama prove himself innocent to the unobtainable satisfaction of the birthers on a matter that the birthers have zero evidence Obama has done anything wrong. “Prove yourself innocent.” That's the recipe for a witch hunt.

    Submitting to the birthers would make them feel empowered. All this “why doesn't he just fork over the certificate if he has nothing to hide” nonsense is ignorant. The birthers think they have a threat. “Submit to us, or we'll accuse you of something terrible.” It also shows the impossibility of reasoning with birthers, as anyone who understands logic knows that absense of evidence is not evidence.

    The birthers have no agenda but to destroy those who disagree with them. There is no search for the truth. There is a search for the most effective lie. The lies and accusations go on forever, no matter what is produced. It can only get worse.

    There is no upside to proving anything. If Obama turns over a document that disproves what the birthers claim, the birthers will just call it a forgery, or just plain pretend it isn't there like the newspaper announcements of Obama's birth.

    There is no downside to refusing to submit. The public sees the birthers as kooks, so there is no way the birther nonsense will snowball. In fact, the more exposure it gets, the worse Republicans look. Mainstream Republicans know that, so they have to distance themselves. That angers the birthers, who in turn reject the Republican party. The GOP could split.

    The funniest part is, the GOP pushed hatred and lies through the right wing media to create a segment of the population that is stupid and furious. Now the GOP is getting strangled by the very Frankenstein they created. They have no way to turn it off.

    Why would Obama stand in the way of that?

    ALSO: The Constitution provides many safeguards when choosing a president. The last step is the certification of the election by Congress. That's final. If it turned out later that Obama wasn't a citizen, he'd still be president and all his actions would be valid. The only way to remove him is by impeachment. The courts have no power here.

  • pacatrue

    George, the most amazing thing about the Taitz interview is that Colbert didn't have to even set her up much. She very happily walked into cuckoo land all by herself.

  • http://themoderatevoice.com T_Steel

    Such a waste of time this Obama birth certificate issue is. A co-worker of mine (and family friend), born and raised in Honolulu, showed me her birth certificate and it looks exactly like President Obama's (minus the Obama details). There is nothing there and just helps the Democrats in painting Republicans as unhinged.

    Republicans can go after President Obama on many issues. But the birth certificate thingy just kills credibility. And one thing about the MSM, they love broadcasting the unhinged, nutters, and wackaroons.

  • EEllis

    kos? If there was a Kos poll that said the sky was blue I'd go outside to check. Listening to anything from them is as bad as listening to the birth cert crap.

  • scubadew

    If these numbers are correct, the GOP is in an even deeper mess than even we liberals could have imagined. How can they run for national office if it means somehow placating both independents and a base that's gone totally off its rocker? God, when you look at this, it's no wonder Republican senators are retiring in droves.

  • jwest

    Just like the fear liberals have of Sarah Palin, this birth certificate issue terrifies them.

    Most conservatives (and an increasing number of independents) believe Obama was born in the U.S. but can’t understand why he is hiding his long form birth certificate. I’m sure if the situation was reversed and it was a Republican refusing to release the document, the liberals would let the matter drop quietly.

    This issue is not going away. When Obama screwed up his response to the Gates matter, it took his crack team over a week to put together the “Beer Summit” and in that time attitudes hardened and his polls went down. Now, brain addled liberals are trying to laugh off the birth issue but the polls keep swinging the other way.

    Keep it up Barry. You’ll be another Jimmy Carter yet.

  • DLS

    What has been more ridiculous from the start than the “birthers” has been leftist obscession with them.