As the 2012 presidential election approaches, the Republican Party in its search for a challenger against Obama has been increasingly latching on to the bogus conspiracy theory that Obama is foreign, that he'd been hiding his real birth certificate. Now today, largely because of media coverage of Donald Trump, it finally got so out of hand that Obama was actually compelled to hold a press conference on the issue and release his long form certificate, and while he did the right thing, it is unfortunate he had to. And now that he’s released it,“birthers” are already suggesting that the one he posted is fake. Polls have been showing increasing percentages of self-identified Republicans doubting Obama's citizenship, even though he debunked all conspiracies as a candidate by posting his birth certificate, and the fact that Obama's birth was announced in Hawaii's newspapers makes those conspiracies completely farfetched. This “birtherism” has basically moved out of the fringes and into the mainstream, making it impossible for reasonable people to just ignore.
This recent spike in birtherism and the media coverage of Donald Trump (and subsequent coverage of birther claims without challenging them), reached a new low when Trump applauded himself for Obama's actions. To appeal to the racist undertones behind birther conspiracies he then attacked Obama's college record as having only been possible through affirmative action (which is clearly racist, since it was never such a big issue with a white president). At a time when the country is facing so many real problems, the media chose to focus on distracting, divisive, and ugly race-baiting, which has increasingly been consuming the Republican Party, leading some websites (namely LeftAction) to say the party has been turning into a cult of stupidity. Party politicians who acknowledge the truth themselves continue to try to benefit politically from birther sentiments by not challenging them and not taking responsibility for allowing those sentiments to increase. It is long past time for this kind of race-based nonsense to be confined back to the fringes. It will be interesting to see what twists and turns the birther movement will take now that the long-form birth certificate has been released and there is really no justification for the mainstream media or the Republican Party to give any credibility to this issue.