Jan Brewer Vetoes ‘Birther’ Bill
Brewer first made headlines last year when she signed Arizona SB 1070, an extraordinarily controversial law requiring illegal aliens to have documentation on them at all times. In a later interview defending the law, Brewer falsely claimed that law enforcement officials had found headless bodies in the Arizona desert. In Arizona and around the country, Brewer’s name has become synonymous with draconian immigration policies adopted by her state.
A darling of the Tea Party and a conservative firebrand, Brewer recently shocked the country when she vetoed a bill that would have required presidential candidates to prove they were American citizens before their name would be able to be placed on the state ballot. This appalling bill attempted to lend credence to the outrageous notion that President Obama was not born in the United States. An absurd conspiracy, it has refused to fade away since Obama’s election and it continues to receive a great deal of media attention.
‘Birthers’ are those who believe that the Barack Obama was not born in the Untied States and is thus ineligible to be President. Many believe that the President was actually born in Kenya and that all documentation of his birth, including newspaper announcements and certificates, are completely fabricated. Multiple investigations have repeatedly proven that the President was indeed born in Hawaii, but the controversy has remained in the media spotlight. Most recently, real estate mogul and possible presidential aspirant Donald Trump stated that he too does not believe that President Obama was born in this country.
The problem is that ‘birtherism’ is not a fringe movement. Despite repeated assurances by establishment Republicans that questions of the President’s birth are a non-issue, recent polls show that a majority of self-identified Republicans do not believe that the President was born in the United States. This is utterly shameful and embarrassing. No other President in the history of this country has had to face such demeaning questions. The majority of questions regarding the President’s birth and legitimacy most likely stem from the fact that Barack Obama is our first multiracial President. Bill Clinton was consistently demonized by Republicans and eventually impeached, but even he never had his opponents questioning his authenticity as President.
Moreover, the average Republican voter’s fixation on wild conspiracy theories regarding the President’s background lends further proof to the fact that the GOP is simply becoming crazier and more radical with each passing day.
The average Republican voter is unfortunately not only wildly out of touch on matters of the President’s birth, but on a wide range of other issues as well. A 2010 Research 2000 poll found that 63% of Republicans believe President Obama, who has not raised taxes a dime, is a socialist. 67% of Republicans believe or are open to the idea that President Obama wants the terrorists to win. 42% of Republicans are even open to the idea of their state seceding from the union. 73% of Republicans have a problem with an openly gay teacher being allowed to teach in public schools. Finally, 56% of Republicans believe that contraception should be outlawed. Clearly, these statistics show a Republican Party that is detached from reality.
Elected Republican officials know these statistics pose a large problem for their party. The vast majority of Independent voters do not want to ban contraception, do not think the President is a socialist, and definitely do not have any doubts that he was born in the United States. In order to win future elections, Republicans must convince Independent voters that their party is not represented by these radical beliefs. It is for this reason that virtually no elected Republican will entertain the ‘birther’ conspiracies. The longer the issue is talked about, the more it makes the Republican Party look like a collection of fringe lunatics and not a serious party of ideas.
Whether Governor Brewer’s veto of the Arizona bill was motivated purely by politics or an actual genuine belief, she acted correctly and courageously. By defying the Republican-controlled state congress, Brewer restored a shred of sanity and dignity to both her office and party.
Reach Staff Columnist Jordan Klein here.