Bill Pascoe, veteran of two federal campaigns against Barack Obama, bemoans the rise of the Birthers:
I’ve held fire for the last several months as I’ve watched the so-called “Birther” movement gain steam.
At first it was amusing, like playing a drinking game — you know, like taking a shot every time Chris Matthews explains why he insists on pronouncing the former Vice President’s name “CHEE-knee.”
It’s not amusing anymore.
National Review Founder William F. Buckley, Jr., Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, conservative historian and philosopher Russell Kirk, and American Enterprise Institute President William Baroody took it upon themselves secretly to meet at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, where they decided Welch and the Birchers would have to be excommunicated from the Conservative Movement, lest their lunacy taint reasonable and responsible conservative political activity.
Were Buckley alive today, is there any doubt he would have the same response to the Birthers?
Obviously, as the editors of his flagship magazine have already divined, the answer is, “None whatsoever.”
Birthers, just as obviously, are simply the current most virulent strain of the Paranoid Style in American Politics, just as Birchers were in Hofstadter’s day. No evidence can dissuade them from their delusion, any more than Popular Mechanics could quell the Truthers.
But they have indeed passed beyond being an amusingly silly footnote to contemporary politics and have become a thorn in the paw of the responsible, reasonable Right. As such, it is incumbent upon us to expel them — noisily and unequivocally, lest the media continue to treat them as representing a genuine faction of the right wing.