I happened to notice today that reporters and screen crawls on both CNN and MSNBC referred to the “Birther Issue”. Uh, excuse me? This crackpot conspiracy theory cum smear concerning Obama’s place of birth has now been elevated to the category of: “issue”?

Whether one ends up with more loathing for the environment in which something so pernicious and vile can so effortlessly establish itself with such prominence as an “issue,” or for the laziness, credulousness, sloppiness, carelessness, indifference or irresponsibility of a media that allow one more preposterous assertion to enter the public dialogue as just another issue, it’s a hard call.

Similarly, it’s another one of those chicken or the egg dilemmas whether or not conservative mouthpieces on television, radio and in the halls of government are responsible for the radicalizing and stupid-i-fication of the Republican rank and file, or whether the Republican establishment and prominent conservatives have simply found it within themselves to go to whatever depths necessary to satiate the depravity and stupidity of the rank and file.

It’s a pertinent question simply because a majority of Republicans nationally tell pollsters that either Obama is not an American citizen or they’re not sure. Among Republican primary voters, and specifically Iowa Republican primary voters more than half believe the president is not a citizen of the United States. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans in America believe our president actually is a Muslim, despite his multitude of references to his Christian faith.

One can assume with a fair amount of confidence that rhetoric from on high convinced the rank and file of such pure idiocies as that global warming is a hoax, Obama is a socialist, and in fact anything and everything to do with government equates with socialism. You can probably blame the talkers and conservative politicians for hornswoggling the conservative masses into believing taxes are at confiscatory levels for the wealthy and corporations…in fact for everybody…and for other more commonplace, garden variety conservative lies.

But with many prominent Republicans backing away from bitherism, though carefully avoiding condemning the lie, along the lines of, “I’ll take Obama for his word that he’s a citizen,” and therefore doing nothing to impede the further nurturing of the patent idiocy, one has to consider that what is being revealed is that the audience to which the pandering Republican is required to pander, retains some very deep-seated prejudices, an incredible level of ignorance and rank stupidity, consuming hostility and  underestimated radicalism.

It may take some massive yet penetrating academic study to answer the question for good,  or talking to more Republican voters than I personally have the stomach for.  But if not a question for the ages it’s a question for this age: Who is lower, prominent conservatives or the conservative salt of the Earth?

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