Well, at least they’re consistent. The Birthers want proof that Mitt Romney was born in America, and have sued California’s Secretary of State to provide it.
Without a single side to make the looming Presidential election a Manichean battle of good vs. evil for certain segments of the country (since Romney isn’t exactly a paragon of the common man or the folksiness of the Tea Party), the Birthers have taken to stirring up shit the only way they know how: by asking ridiculous questions based only on a vague conspiracy theory. And as the Birthers have proved in their past ability to influence idiots across America (one in four Americans believe Obama is a Muslim), “asking the question” is a form of push-polling. The existence of a largely-publicized “debate” provides ammunition to those who are inclined to use it as such.
My own experience in work as well as life is that it is dangerous to give voice to the fringe and lunatic voices simply because they make for sensationalized headlines. Almost like the Streisand Effect applied to politics, even pointing out that such a position is ridiculous gives it added weight and gravitas (by dignifying it as a question worth focusing on).
So why do media outlets give any focus to these kinds of fringe theories if they patently lack legitimacy? It’s not like anybody is writing stories about people who deny we landed on the moon or about who claim there is a secret Illuminati controlling the government (other than crappy novelists). Presumably, it’s because these new allegations are salacious and potentially important enough to give people the satisfaction of reading further, even if they know the debate is entirely artificial. Like reading the tabloids, or something like that.
One birther explains that Romney’s citizenship is up for debate because his dad was born in Mexico. Thats right, Mitt Romney’s father was born in the Mexican colony that Mitt’s great-grandfather founded after fleeing the United States so he could stay married to Romney’s four great-grandmothers.
Then again, maybe these are questions that can reveal something about the character of the candidates.