That the topic of this week's Scripps column with Ben Boychuk. I'm a little closer to the edge of vitriol this week than I usually like to be, but some topics elicit only contempt from me. And, uh, Trump isn't the target of my ire:
Here's the difference between Democrats and Republicans: Democrats who embrace conspiracy-minded nonsense are chased from public life.Ben sees both Trump and birtherism as passing fads. Read the column for his take.
Republicans who do the same are vaulted into the front ranks of presidential contenders.
That's why Van Jones was rightly forced to resign from the Obama Administration in 2009; he'd signed a petition calling for an investigation of the government's secret involvement in the 9/11 attacks on America. His apparent belief in discredited "truther" theories destroyed Jones' credibility and made it impossible for him to serve the president effectively.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, wasn't on anyone's list of presidential candidates until he started giving interviews embracing "birther" nonsense and challenging President Barack Obama's citizenship. Now he tops the polls. And for good reason: Public Policy Polling's results show that only 38 percent of GOP primary voters would support a candidate who clearly states the truth -- that Barack Obama is a natural-born American citizen.
Rather than educate their supporters, cowardly Republican leaders have decided to avoid the topic. That's why House Speaker John Boehner answered questions about the topic in February with slippery language.
"It's not my job to tell the American people what to think," Boehner told NBC's David Gregory, and later added: "Listen, the American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can't -- it's not my job to tell them."
Boehner, of course, does vigorously advocate for the ideas that his base supports. That's how he got his job. And that's why Trump is succeeding with his brand of birtherism -- because the GOP base loves it.
True: A year from now, Trump will probably be back to making TV shows.
But Republican voters will still be Republican voters -- apparently more willing to embrace birther lies than the truth. And that could mean trouble for all of us.