EVEN NOW, BIRTHERS CAN STILL THRIVE…. Far-right hysterics over President Obama’s citizenship don’t generate quite as much attention as they used to. But it’s worth keeping in mind that while the ridiculous conspiracy theory has been thoroughly discredited, those who still believe the nonsense can still win elections.

Michael Tomasky highlights, for example, former Rep. Nathan Deal, who won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Georgia yesterday.

Deal, meanwhile, until recently a member of Congress, is best known in Washington for having sent President Obama a letter demanding his birth certificate.

Some call Deal an avowed birther, others merely say he’s birther-curious. Whichever, it can’t but help him in Georgia, one figures, where … he’ll be facing Democrat Roy Barnes.

Dave Weigel added that Deal was arguably “the Republican most responsive to the conspiracy theory,” and marveled that “dipping a toe into the birtherism fever swamp didn’t stop Deal from winning a statewide primary.”

And that’s really the key here. Birtherism should be a career killer, much the same way 9/11 Truthers are immediately discredited in the eyes of the American mainstream. But it’s not — Deal hasn’t faced any negative consequences for his ridiculous efforts at all.

In related news, Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), often known as “Birther Bill,” is still sponsoring legislation requiring presidential candidates to produce copies of their birth certificates. Matt Finkelstein noted today that Posey’s bill cites “section 5 of article II of the Constitution,” which is interesting because there is no Article II, Section 5. Article II only has 4 sections.

And yet, Rep. Bill Posey will probably win re-election anyway.

While we’re at it, let’s also note that Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski, a Republican congressional candidate in Michigan, recently told a group of voters, “You have a president that seems to be, um … well … I don’t know if he even has been born in the United States, but … until I see a birth certificate.”

I’d hoped we’d reached the point where nonsense like this would mean immediate public humiliation. Alas, that’s not the case.

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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.