Danger of the birthers

Sorry about all the Birther chatter on this site today, which may have something to do with the fact that I spent an hour this morning on NPR’s "On Point" talking about the subject this morning. (The segment is worth a listen, if only for Birther leader Orly Taitz, DDS, ESQ, calling me a "briownshirt.")

The other two guests had more to say, though, and made interesting points about the dangers the movement poses.

The conservative talk radio host Michael Medved defended the conservative movement from blame for the conspiracy theories, noting the theorists’ overlap with 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and that its roots aren’t particularly in the organized Republican Party. But he also warned of the danger to the right from embracing this line of argument, and criticized Liz Cheney specifically.

"Conservatives need to speak out against it and be clear and not play games like Liz Cheney was doing," Medved said. "It is a fringe movement which is now poisoning nad threatening the Republican Party."

That danger is being realized at the moment, as various Republican legislators express, when asked, some degree of sympathy with the discredited theory. Mike Stark easily got several House Republicans to express some doubts. (Video below.)

On NPR, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Heidi Beirich suggested that the movement, and its encouragement on talk radio, also poses a more serious, physical danger.

"A lot of people don’t remember that in the early ’90s, before the Oklahoma City attack happened, there was an extreme explosion of conspiracy theories on the right, and it led (to), and had something to do with that, and for that reason we’re really concerned," she said, attributing the present ferment to "an anxiety over the leftward drift in the elections and an extreme anxiety over this black president."

To see what a headache this can pose to the GOP, watch below:

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