would never pander to racists. Silly us.
So here's senate candidate Pete Hoekstra, simultaneously walking back and doubling down on his previous suggestion that something really ought to be done about this whole maybe the president is illegitimate after all thing. In political speak, we call that difficult-to-execute twofer Pulling a Romney:
"You would think that a country as great as ours could have a single person, maybe two, who every two years was assigned with the responsibility of making sure that people who run for office meet the minimum qualifications for that office so that we will never have this discussion again," Hoekstra said Wednesday during a candidate forum at the Mackinac Policy Conference.I think we already have something better than that, though, in the vast national press corps (note: this is perhaps the only time I will praise the national press, and I am about to immediately disembowel that praise). Scandal is something they are quite good at! We have a lovely free-market solution to the problem of unauthorized candidate-being, which is that all across America, there are journalists who would sell their own mothers to get confirmation of a story like "a presidential nominee is secretly not an American after all!" And, as we can see, having scores of vetting reporters confirming that the current president's paperwork does, indeed, check out has done almost nothing to quell the suspicions of those people who really, really want to believe otherwise. Do we really think that having one or two government functionaries saying the same thing would "settle" a damn thing?
That's the doubling down part. But Hoekstra wants you to know, simultaneously, that he's very cranky at even having to talk about this:
The West Michigan Republican grew animated and loud as he defended remarks he made earlier this month at a Michigan tea party gathering, suggesting he would not have broached the topic if he had not been asked.Don't look now, but I think he just called the tea party a bunch of dipshits.
"This is an absolutely ludicrous discussion to be having four years after a presidential (election)," Hoekstra said at a near shout. "It is an absolute waste of time and energy. We have trillion dollar deficits. We have eight percent unemployment. We have a health care system that is collapsing. And somebody is asking about the birthing issue?"
Still, he points out the wonderful thing about birtherism: Of course it's a waste of time and energy, if you think about it logically. If the point is merely to pander to thinly veiled racist sentiments of Obama's otherness, however, thus satisfying a large percentage of the base who are convinced of Obama's supposed "radical" nature because of that supposed otherness, then it becomes a nice little campaign tool.
Despite Hoekstra's protestations, that's in fact exactly how he used it. In front of a tea party crowd of conspiracy theorists, he entertained their theory and suggested government ought to get right on that. In front of a slightly less embarrassing crowd, he denounced the same damn thing as a waste of time—while still suggesting government get right on that. That's the way the birther game is played.