Donald Trump, birther: Will the Republican candidates for 2012 make Obama's birth certificate a primary issue?

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
March 30 2011 11:47 AM

The Birther Primary

Why is Donald Trump pandering to Republicans who think Obama wasn't born in the United States?

(Continued from Page 1)

This is pretty pathetic, even for a presidential campaign. Those legislators, and the voters they're pandering to, don't really know what they're talking about. Mae Beavers, a Tennessee state senator, has introduced a bill that would require a "long-form birth certificate" from 2012 candidates. She appeared on a radio show to discuss it and was asked what a "long-form birth certificate" was. She didn't know; she had just modeled the bill after what other states had done.

What does someone like Pawlenty have to gain when he dismisses all of this? Quite a lot, actually. Millions of Republicans may doubt Obama's citizenship—but millions more don't, or don't care. Many of the Republicans who do have doubts don't actually know or think that Obama should be kicked out of office on a technicality.

Advertisement

The Republicans who can shape elite opinion—this does not include Corsi—hate even thinking about this. If an investigation proved that Obama had gotten into Columbia and Harvard Law with mediocre grades, he might only win as many presidential elections as George W. Bush. Lots of Republicans think that birtherism is a good way for the White House to make their party look crazy.

With his definitive statement, Pawlenty appeals to those Republicans. He appeals to the political media, too. He's jumped one of the lowest bars in politics—but he's jumped it, and some other Republicans still haven't, or won't. Pawlenty wins a stamp of approval—not crazy!—that's incredibly easy to earn. Soon some other candidates will go for that stamp. They have a lot of time. The birthers aren't going anywhere.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 11:36 AM Breaking Up Countries Is Still Hard to Do
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 19 2014 11:37 AM Why Urban Outfitters and Other Brands Troll Their Customers
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 19 2014 11:32 AM Why Do Pirates Talk Like That?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 11:51 AM This Is All That’s Left of New York’s Once-Thriving Borscht Belt 
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 11:40 AM Apple Invented the Perfect Way to Handle Your Giant New Phone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM The Curious Incident of the Supernova in the Nighttime
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.