Off the Beat: Is Birtherism Finally Dying Down?05/30/2012
When no less a right-wing figure than Newt Gingrich says he accepts that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, it's a sign that that particular conspiracy theory may finally be losing steam.
And in fact that's what the former Republican House speaker — no fan of the president's — had to tell ABC News Radio Tuesday.
"I'm happy to say I believe he was born in Hawaii," Gingrich said in reaction to billionaire Donald Trump's resuscitation of the issue this week.
This is the same Newt Gingrich, mind you, who says Obama may follow a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview.
Of course, Gingrich doesn't need to placate The Donald anymore, since he's no longer running for president.
That's not the case for Mitt Romney, who wants to keep Trump's backing. He has yet to rebuke his wealthy benefactor for his birtherism, something that pundits are saying will hurt the GOP nominee come November.
It has already overshadowed the fact that Romney finally clinched the nomination Tuesday by winning the Texas primary.
Those who believe that Obama was not born at Kapiolani hospital on Aug. 4, 1961, may never give up arguing that the president was instead born in Kenya — or wherever.
But it does not seem that it will live on like other theories such as the grassy knoll gunman in Dallas, the faked moon landing and how AIDS was developed to destroy some racial groups.
Look how quickly birther stories dropped from headlines after the White House posted the president's long-form birth certificate, which happened in April 2011 when Trump, toying with a presidential run of his own, pressed the issue.
Look as well at how quickly Ken Bennett, the Arizona secretary of state, accepted Hawaii's verification of the certificate. Bennett, who admitted he didn't doubt Obama's birthplace, was widely ridiculed across the country for debating whether to keep Obama's name on the Grand Canyon State's 2012 ballot.
(Arizona is the home state of Sen. John McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone.)
Not everyone is buying the truth.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who sent his Cold Case Posse to Hawaii earlier this month to obtain a copy of the birth certificate, just over the weekend said Arizona "was duped" by Hawaii.
A poll conducted in March reported that more than a third of GOP primary voters in Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio did not believe Obama was born in Honolulu. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling company.
There also remain plenty of conspiracy websites on the Internet.
However, when even Fox News host Greta Van Susteren tells Trump in an interview that she doesn't agree with his views on Obama, the country would seem to have turned a corner on the birther nonsense.
"Are you still not satisfied?" she asked Trump Tuesday. "I mean, what is it that you want to be satisfied?"
Trump responded by saying, "Well, look, it's not up to me. It has nothing to do with me."
Time to fire yourself, Mr. Trump.
DISCUSSION: Tell us your view on the birther debate.