HAYWORTH EXPLAINS HIS ‘BIRTHER’ INCLINATIONS…. State lawmakers in Arizona not only passed an odious new immigration law last week, they also moved forward on a “birther” bill that would require presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate before they can be on the ballot in the state.

It was a reminder that the strain of madness in contemporary Republican thought is still going strong, 14 months after President Obama took office.

Nevertheless, the nutty effort has its defenders. One of them wants to be a U.S. senator.

U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth is critical of the so-called “birther bill” that cleared the Arizona House of Representatives last week because it doesn’t go far enough.

Hayworth, who has cited the possibility of “identity theft” as a reason to want to see President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, said the Arizona measure is “too narrowly drawn” because it would force only presidential candidates to produce evidence of their citizenship and other qualifications. […]

“It’s real simple: We now require voters to offer proof that voters are who they say they are,” Hayworth said Friday at a news conference in Phoenix. “If we’re asking that of voters, shouldn’t we ask candidates for every office on the ballot to be able to offer proof that they are who they say they are?”

So, J.D. Hayworth thinks the guy who says he’s Barack Obama might not really be Barack Obama? Is this the point behind the “identity theft” concern?

As Marc Ambinder noted the other day, “I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don’t exist — serious Republicans — but because … they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.”

Hayworth will face Sen. John McCain in an Aug. 24 primary.

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.