TARGETING OBAMA’S HALF-BROTHER…. One need look no further than its party platform to know the Texas Republican Party is, shall we say, a little unusual idiosyncratic. This is, after all, the same party committed, in writing, to eliminating Social Security, church-state separation, lessons on modern biology, income taxes, the Federal Reserve, and the minimum wage.

This week, however, the Texas GOP has stopped looking for the invasion of black helicopters, and started going after Barack Obama’s family. In a new “ad” — I use the word loosely — the state party argues that the presumptive Democratic nominee can’t be trusted, because he has a half-brother who’s poor. Seriously. The ad argues:

“Obama claims he’s looking out our families in an economic downturn but ask yourself this: If Obama cares so much about your family, why doesn’t he doesn’t take care of his own family first? Barack Obama lives in this house [image of Obama’s house], wants to live in this one [image of the White House], while his own brother lives in this one [image of Obama’s half-brother standing in front of a shack in Kenya].”

The ad, not surprisingly, uses the half-brother’s full name: George Hussein Onyango Obama.

On its face, this is pretty weak tea. For one thing, Obama has several half-siblings, and he’s met George exactly once. Second, if neglect towards half-siblings is going to become a campaign issue, Texas Republicans have a very poor sense of timing.

But let’s cut the nonsense — the Texas Republican Party isn’t concerned about George Obama. There’s a transparent subtext, which, once again, hopes to characterize Barack Obama as foreign, different, and somehow less than American. Even by Republican standards, this is unusually cheap and ugly.

Stay classy, Texas GOP.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.