I wrote, and believe, that media reports that Rick Perry had expressed Birther sentiments were unfair and misrepresented his words. That was correct. In interviews since that post was composed, Perry has suggested that it is fun to tease the President about the dispute over his place of birth and citizenship, and “keep it alive.”
No, it isn’t. It is unfair, disrespectful and wrong. There is no teasing that is appropriate when the subtext is a challenge to a President’s legitimacy. Perry needs to cut it out, though it is too late in one respect: his words indelibly mark him as a jerk.
Let me also say that I am not especially sympathetic to Democratic indignation regarding teasing over a president’s legitimacy. This is exactly what the entire party did for every second of President Bush’s tenure, suggesting that the 2000 election was “stolen,’ thus rendering his tenure illegitimate. This exploited the vast majority of the public’s ignorance about the Electoral College, and also involved impugning the integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court, doing far more damage to the nation than the idiot Birthers on their best day.
That does not excuse Perry, of course. Every additional word he says to keep the Birther issue in the public eye is another reason—and there are already plenty—to keep him in Texas.