PJ Media Washington Editor Bridget Johnson has the initial coverage of the Romney birther joke here.
A sample of opinion from the leftysphere and Obama campaign on Romney’s tiny little dig at Obama makes me think I’m not in Kansas anymore — or anywhere on planet earth for that matter.
WaPo’s Greg Sargent:
Maybe this will get chalked up to Romney’s awkwardness and get dismissed, but it looks to me like a major mistake. Coming just after days spent debating Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remark, this is again a reminder of the extreme voices in the GOP, which Romney has at times been slow to denounce. And it seems less than presidential, to put it mildly. The fact that uncomfortably large numbers still believe Obama has perpetrated an elaborate plot to fake his birthplace and ascend to the presidency illegitimately is a pretty damn big deal.
No, Greg. It’s not. The reason everyone laughed at the joke is because nobody takes the birthers seriously — except partisans like you desperate for some line of attack to tie Romney to the GOP crazies. And, to put it mildly, Barack Obama has spent the last four years using sneering ridicule, mocking trash talk, and vicious lies to bring down his opponents. How “presidential” is that Greggy?
Some nutcase name Karoli at Crooks and Liars:
And watch the crowd cheer that remark because they really, really want to hear that true Amurcans are rich, white Mormon dudes and the black guy in the White House is a poseur. Such is the coded language of birthers.
Mitt Romney is a complete and utter failure as a candidate, a person, a Christian, and a human being. For a little bit of perspective — serious perspective — read Ta-Nahesi Coates’ amazing essay about the line a black president walks because race is still a very, very big deal in this country. Nativism isn’t just an idea or a word, it’s a destructive, ugly, painful belief system.
Huh? I mean, HUH? But they’re right, you know. It’s the code. We always forget “the code.” Speaking of which, I didn’t get my decoder ring this month. Anyone got a spare?
Digby at Hullabaloo:
I’ve said it before, but we’re entering some territory now that we haven’t seen since the bad old days. This isn’t even dogwhistling. It’s a primal scream.
Because nothing says “racism” quite like making a birther joke, right Diggles? Sheesh. That “primal scream” you’re hearing has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with the cloud cuckoo land you and your cohorts on the left inhabit. It’s not Romney screaming, Diggsy. It’s the guy in the padded room next door to you.
Romney is not himself a birther. He was engaging in ironic post-birtherism—showing solidarity with birthers by making a humorous remark that can be plausibly denied as a joke later. This is a necessary device for a Republican politician who wants to rile up the base without seeming like a lunatic, because the belief that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States is still held by nearly half of self-identified Republicans even after the very public release of the president’s birth certificate. Birtherism remains the most frank and widespread evidence of racial animus among some of the president’s critics.
Strange way to “rile up” the base of birthers by mocking them. Whenever I mock the birthers, they want to tear my throat out. I hardly think Mr. Romney was trolling for votes from the loons by getting his audience to laugh along with him when ridiculing their stupidity.
And I’m not sure birtherism as as widespread among Republicans as it was when that poll was taken a year and a half ago. Even if it is, it is a leap of faith to ascribe such beliefs to racism. It is a sad commentary that the only thing Democrats have in this election that they believe resonates with the public is not their candidate’s ideas, not his stewardship of the economy, not his record on foreign affairs, but the color of his skin. That’s their greatest weapon and they will use it until someone convinces them it doesn’t work anymore.
“Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them. It’s one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff [Joe] Arpaio, and Kris Kobach,” Obama spokesperson Ben LaBolt said in a statement. “But Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”
“Directly enlist himself…?” You would have to be brain dead to listen to Romney’s gentle elbow to the ribs of the president to make the claim that the candidate has gone birther. Is there anyone outside his rabid base of robotic supporters who believe that? Chalk that one up to madness.