Safe to say that Van Jones will never be president.

Hanging out with a 9/11 Truther, people who are not sure that 9/11 was an act of terrorism by Bin Laden and company, is a good sign you are not fit to serve. Similarly the right has been plagued by people unsure whether President Obama was born in the United States.

For the life of me I cannot grasp how people can believe that such an issue could have any merit and not have been raised by the Clinton machine, the McCain campaign, or mainstream conservative outlets like National Review. There is no conservative case for it.

No credible conservative organization takes the Birther charge seriously. It has been investigated and found baseless. Any leader has an obligation to explain this to anyone who is confused about the issue and any leader who indulges it without apology is unfit to lead the GOP.

Here is an inviolable rule of current politics: if Glenn Beck thinks an issue a distraction and a waste of time, then it is really, really fringe. (See Malkin and Beck here. Are they RINOs?)

Evidently Palin said the following in an interview today about doubt regarding Obama’s citizenship:

“I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records — all of that is fair game,” Palin said. “The McCain-Palin campaign didn’t do a good enough job in that area.”

The most charitable possible reading of this interview is that Palin is saying “turn about is fair play” and if irrational questions are going to be asked about the birth of her baby, then she will ask irrational questions about the birth the president.

First, President Obama did not ask those questions and so it would not similar for the Republican nominee to ask “birther” questions of him. Andrew Sullivan is not running for president and to engage at his level is unworthy of a serious candidate for office.

Second, for a Christian two wrongs not only don’t make a right, but actually are just more wrong. There is the whole issue of, well, the Golden Rule as well.

Third, asking whether Obama is born in the United States is not a “fair question,” because there is no credible evidence he was not born in the United States. You cannot ask a fair question when your questions is based only on a desire to do damage equal to that done to you by another.

The conservative movement must reject a populism that amounts to mob rule. Our founding fathers believed in reason and hated demagoguery. The notion that it there is any fair way to questions the President’s place of birth is beyond the pale.

Birtherism is insanity and if embraced by our nominee will destroy the party of Lincoln, McKinley, Roosevelt, Coolidge, and Reagan.

Palin should clarify this quote quickly, repudiate birtherism, and birtherism as a tactic, or I predict she will be finished as a serious presidential candidate. And she should be.

Added December 4: Sarah Palin writes:
Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask... which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.

- Sarah Palin

This is very good news . . . making her interview a pile of easily misunderstood sludge or (uncharitable reading) a dog whistle to indicate to the birther community (wink nudge) that she is really with them.

In any case, the very sane Jim Geraghty says she is no birther and so I am willing to hold my fire. Jim is right that this is not the worst conspiracy theory ever, but I still think anyone who believes it is disqualified from being the GOP nominees since:

1. the issue would do them enormous damage in the general election

2. there is no evidence for it, thus making his or her judgment highly questionable.

If Palin is just fed up with those claiming her baby is not her own (equally crazy) and was imprudent, then she should chillax. She is a presidential possibility and the bloggers are . . . well, bloggers.

(This major news has caused me to break my Palin free posting promise for the Holidays . . . I will try to refrain in the future.)

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Articles by John Mark Reynolds

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