Via Mediaite, a stern lesson about not showing “insane disrespect to the president” from a show that used to be co-hosted by a 9/11 Truther. Trump’s very Trump-ish response to the accusation: “There is nobody who’s less of a racist than me.” I hope they have him back as a guest soon. An hour of banter like that between him and Whoopi would be a dream come true.
A question via lefty Tommy Christopher and righty Philip Klein: Did Obama make a mistake by playing Trump’s game and finally producing the birth certificate? Both say yes for various reasons, among them that this will encourage other species of conspiracy theorists to press their own claims harder. The thing is, The One might not have had the luxury of taking the high road. Thanks to Trump mainstreaming this issue, it may have been starting to bite politically — not necessarily among true-believing Birthers, who’ll never be dissuaded from their position, but among people who hadn’t followed it until someone with a media profile as high as Trump’s started talking about it. Maybe they ran an internal poll, got some numbers back that they didn’t like, and decided that it was time to end the fun. A telling quote from a Democratic strategist: “This has become more than an obsession among the lunatic fringe.”
Or maybe they just want to feed Trump fever among (some parts of) the base by burnishing the image of him as a guy whom Obama “fears” or whatever. Trump’s numbers are already turning toxic nationally and among independents in swing states; maybe Obama and Plouffe wanted to encourage him to run at a decisive moment by handing him a big “victory,” which will keep the media focused on him and similar kooky material. Ace thinks that theory is too clever by half but I don’t know why. The whole liberal narrative about the tea-party GOP is that it’s insane, and since O has nothing to show centrists and independents after two and a half years in office, he quite reasonably concludes at this point that he’s better off trying to scare them into preferring him over the GOP as the lesser of two evils. His Mediscare tactics towards Ryan aren’t much different. He doesn’t need a plan of his own if he can convince people that his opponent’s a crazy monster, so why not keep as many “monsters” in the race as he can?