Never underestimate the ability of a tiny fringe group of losers to ruin everything.
For the last couple of weeks, we've all been laughing heartily at the wacky antics of the "birthers" -- the far-right goofballs who claim Barack Obama wasn't really born in Hawaii and therefore the job of president goes to the runner-up, former Miss California Carrie Prejean.
Also, when Obama was sworn in as president, he forgot to give his answer in the form of a question.
And yet, every week, the chorus of conservatives demanding to see his birth certificate grows. It's like they're the Cambridge police, Obama's in his house -- the White House -- and they need to see some ID.
And there's nothing anyone can do to convince these folks. You could hand them, in person, the original birth certificate and have a video of Obama emerging from the womb with Don Ho singing in the background ... and they still wouldn't believe it.
Which raises the question: Why, in this country, is it always the religious right that won't take anything on faith?
So far, the reaction from Democrats is to laugh this off, and I understand why. If you seriously believe that President Obama is an African sleeper spy, get out of your chat room and have your house tested for lead.
But we live in America, and in America, if you don't immediately kill arrant nonsense, no matter how ridiculous, it can grow and thrive and eventually take over, like crab grass or reality shows about fat people.
This flap might be a deluded right-wing obsession that is a total waste of time, but so was Whitewater, and look where that ended up. A handful of Republican operatives, enraged at Bill Clinton's unprecedented economic growth and budget surpluses, found a woman named Paula Jones, which led to a woman named Monica Lewinsky, which gave me enough material to eventually be able to buy a big house in Bel-Air. Which I'm still conflicted about.
More recently we had the Swift Boat allegations against John Kerry, in which Kerry was accused of volunteering to serve in Vietnam so he could jump in front of a bullet so he could get a medal and then throw it away to satisfy his urge to insult real Americans. This was so stupid that Kerry refused to even discuss it.
And we all know how well that worked out.
And once these stories get out there, they're hard to stamp out because our media do such a lousy job of speaking truth to stupid. Vietnam, Iraq and the Spanish-American War were all sold on lies that were unchallenged or even abetted by the media. Clinton got impeached and Kerry got destroyed in large part because the media didn't have the guts to say, "This is nonsense."
Lou Dobbs has been saying recently that people are asking a lot of questions about the birth certificate. Yes, the same people who want to know where the sun goes at night.
And Lou, you're their new king.
That's why it's so important that we the few, the proud, the reality-based attack this stuff before it has a chance to fester and spread. This isn't a case of Democrats versus Republicans. It's sentient beings versus the lizard people, and it is to them I offer this deal: I'll show you Obama's birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin's high school diploma.