I don’t think anyone will ever definitively answer that question, but I think it deserves to be asked.
Over the last two and a half years there’s been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short term for Republicans, but creates I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii.
ABC News interview
The Republican Party I think owns the big issues of the day. We ought to be bold. We ought to be confident. If we spent as much time talking about solutions in the future as we did the president’s birth certificate, for heaven sake, we probably would have won the darn election.
Jon Huntsman, Republican Presidential Primary Candidate
Observation #1: Lots of people know what “birthers” are. Certainly not everyone is a “birther junkie” like folks here or at The Fogbow, or at the other fine birther-skewering web sites, but they know about them. Obama always gets a big laugh when he cracks a birther joke. Even after the election Rachel Maddow on MSNBC thought it worth repeating after the 2012 election, “he really was born in Hawaii” on her show last evening.
Observation #2: Donald Trump created a storm of negative publicity with his forays into birtherism, because he is in many quarters a roundly disliked figure, a poster child for why there should be a higher taxes on the rich. Trump was a very visible supporter of Romney.
Observation #3: At least for some, birtherism has energized support for Obama. I can speak only for myself, but I gave Obama for America a big multiple of the contribution I gave in 2008 because I didn’t want the birthers to have the satisfaction of a win.
Observation #4: GOP leaders such as Karl Rove and Senator Lindsey Graham have spoken against birthers, saying that they hurt the Party. Rove once called the birth certificate “Barack Obama’s trap.” Graham said: “Here’s what the Republican Party has to do… We have to say that’s crazy. So I’m here to tell you that those who think the President was born somewhere other than Hawaii are crazy…. Let’s knock this crap off and talk about the real issues.”
Observation #5: Birthers have become a byword for nut case conspiracy theorist among the population, including becoming (unfairly or not) a synonym for racist. Every time a birther supports Romney, an independent voter saw a nut job associated with the Republican side.
The birthers, the rape denialists, the Donald, the climate change cranks, the homophobes and all the rest tarnished the Republican brand. Birthers and the rest may well have cost Romney the presidency in 2012.
- “The Donald Problem” at BuzzFeed.com.