The GOP Cannot Control Its Own Noise Machine (The Birther Edition)

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

More than two years into this dangerous birther game, and the extended drive to delegitimize the president, Republican operative Karl Rove says the issue might be hurting his party. Y'know, the fact that half of Republicans are under the false impression that the President of the United States was not born here. It looks a bit extreme.

Appearing on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor this week, Rove made this point:

Republicans had better be clear about this. We had a problem in the 1950's with the John Birch Society, and it took Bill Buckley standing up as a strong conservative and taking them on.

Within our party, we've got to be very careful about allowing these people who are the birthers and the 9/11-deniers to get too high a profile and say too much without setting the record straight.

Curiously, Rove went on to blame the White House for the birther "strategy." But yes, please exhale a mordant chuckle, as the Daily Howler would say, after reading Rove's concern about the never-ending birther phenomena and how it's now boomeranging on Republicans.

The comedy comes from the fact that the GOP Noise Machine, which people like Rove and Fox News fuel on an hourly and daily basis with non-stop, anti-Democratic, anti-Obama invective, has been diligently driving the birther story for years.

Good luck stopping it at this late date Karl.

As I mentioned last week in the wake of Glenn Beck's left-field narrative that the peaceful, pro-democracy revolution in Egypt was a bad thing, the problem the GOP and the larger conservative movement faces is that when people like Beck, or memes like the birther conspiracy, jump the rails there's nobody who can right the rig. Or, there's no "off" switch on the increasingly hateful and irresponsible Noise Machine. At least not one that Rove can find. (Just like Bill Kristol couldn't find one when Beck went off into caliphate land.)

So yes, it's a good thing that primetime Republican party operatives like Karl Rove go on TV and announces the birther talk is bad (if only because it hurts the GOP). The problem for people like Rove is the tasteless topic now has a crazy momentum all it's own and the GOP Noise Machine cannot be re-directed.

William Kristol, Karl Rove
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