Quote of the Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY…. A couple of weeks ago, former Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg (R), hoping to return to Congress this year, was asked whether President Obama is a natural-born citizen. Walberg, apparently a Birther, replied, “You know, I don’t know, I really don’t know.”

This morning, Zaid Jilani flagged another recent Walberg appearance, in which the candidate fleshed out his thoughts in more detail.

“Well I’m going to take [the president] at his word that he’s an American citizen. I don’t know why it’s not resolved, other than the fact that the president hasn’t resolved it yet. […]

“If I had to do it I’d just simply of course I had to show my birth certificate to be on the ballot. If I were gonna do it I’d call Rush Limbaugh, Alan Colmes, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and maybe one justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Call ’em all into a room and lay out my birth certificate on a table … and say all of you take a look at it show me what you find. Now go and report it. […]

“The Executive has an awful lot of power to keep from showing certain things unless the courts will stand up to him. Or unless Congress in majority will stand up, up to and including impeachment. And Republicans don’t have that majority.”

As a substantive matter, this borders on madness. Walberg is blaming the president for Birther lunacy, envisions a bizarre scenario involving Rush Limbaugh and a Supreme Court justice, and raises the specter of presidential impeachment over an insane conspiracy theory. These are the kind of remarks one might expect from a deranged man yelling on a street corner, not a candidate for the U.S. House.

And therein lies the point. I don’t care that Tim Walberg is an embarrassment to himself; I care that we’ve reached the point that seemingly pathological political rhetoric has become so routine, nonsense like this no longer even seems especially controversial.

A clip like this one should, under normal/healthy circumstances, end Walberg’s career. The release of his remarks would, one can imagine, leave the politician feeling humiliated and discredited. People in Michigan would hear his name and think, “Isn’t that the crazy guy who said crazy birther things at a local coffee shop?”

But in 2010, nonsense is the norm, and Republican congressional candidates seem to face no meaningful consequences for incidents like these.