All the potential Republican nominees for President are gearing up for a campaign against the same man this November. But based on how differently they all describe him, it can be hard to tell sometimes.
Some camps have to face an incumbent who is a skilled debater and formidable opponent. Others have it a lot easier. The only thing standing between them and the White House is a citizen of Kenya.
I’m referring, of course, to President Obama and the conspiracy theory that he wasn’t born in Hawaii. Instead, so think he is a native of Kenya and therefore ineligible to be president. It may seem ridiculous to most people, but many, especially those on the far-right, actually believe it.
And if enough primary voters from a party believe something, (51% of Republicans, with another 21% unsure according to Public Policy Polling) then it’s bound to show up in debates and platforms. With that being said, here are the positions of the top polling Republicans on this controversial non-issue.
Let’s start with Donald Trump. Trump’s very presence near the top of Republican polls is an indicator of what a huge issue Republicans think this is. Trump launched his campaign on the birther theory and hasn’t really moved towards anything more substantive.
His list of evidence includes a poorly translated interview with Obama’s grandmother, Hawaiian laws, and a group of people he hired to search for the truth. Apparently they found something, but Trump won’t tell us what.
So basically it’s Trump’s vague word against the president’s––and the State of Hawaii’s for that matter.
Mike Huckabee says he isn’t a birther. He does, however, believe that Obama’s Kenyan childhood has influenced his beliefs. That would make sense, except Obama spent part of his youth in Indonesia. He didn’t make it to Kenya until his 20s.
Huckabee claims to have meant Indonesia, he used one too many Kenya-specific details to be believable.
To those paying attention, Huckabee sounds like a closeted conspiracy theorist. To everyone else, he sounds senile and confused.
Mitt Romney isn’t a birther, and he’s not afraid to say so. While such a trait could help him in the general election, it will probably weigh him down in the primaries.
That last sentence, by the way, is a perfect summary of the Romney campaign. But back to the candidates who are easier to poke fun at.
Sarah Palin, who is the subject of an equally ridiculous birther conspiracy on the left, hasn’t officially come out as anything but a defender of Trump. She thinks the media is treating him unfairly by trying to verify the things he says.
While the media is wrong for trying to seek the truth, Palin thinks that Trump’s investigation is valuable to the public.
Newt Gingrich has been just as ambiguous on the issue. He refuses to endorse Trump on the matter or to distance himself from it. He simply called him ‘interesting’ and said he liked all the press he attracted.
He did describe Obama as having a ‘Kenyan’ and ‘anti-colonial‘ attitude last September, but received some strong backlash from the White House for doing so. He’s been silent on the issue since then.
Tim Pawlenty may not be polling well, but his response is just . He says he believes the Obama was indeed born here, but that his policies make him look like he was born on another planet.
His message is simple: I don’t consider Obama to be a secret Kenyan because of a racist fringe theory, but I can lightheartedly point out that I disagree with the him on policy. Let me propose an alternative.
Or maybe that’s a bit too complicated. Sure, I think Pawlenty handled this conspiracy theory the best, but it’s Trump who will win in the eyes of the Republican base. His rants have been whiny, racially charged, and based on made up evidence. In other words, the opposite of complicated. The base will love it.