On Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor tonight Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly claimed that the birthers are an Obama political strategy to divide the Republican Party, “This is the White House strategy…They’re happy to have this conversation continue because every moment that the conservatives talk about this, they marginalize themselves and diminish themselves in the minds of Independent voters.”
Here is the video from Media Matters:
O’Reilly started off the segment by trying to discredit a PPP poll that found 51% of GOP primary voters believe Obama was not born in the US. He then brought in Karl Rove who said, “This is the White House strategy. Look the President could come out and say here’s the documents, but they’re happy to have this conversation continue because every moment that the conservatives talk about this, they marginalize themselves and diminish themselves in the minds of Independent voters, and every moment we spend talking about this controversy is a moment we can’t spend talking about the failed stimulus bill, the reckless spending, Obamacare, his failures in foreign policy, and his failure to live up to the promises he made in the 2008 election.”
Rove clearly stated that Obama was born in America, “Look he was born in Hawaii. If he was born in Kenya then there must have been some massive conspiracy. Look, birth notices in both Honolulu newspapers.”
Both O’Reilly and Karl Rove sounded like frustrated establishment Republicans who know that the birthers and the other conspiracy crazies are destroying the Republican Party.
Rove had two points that were right on the money. The birthers are killing the GOP with non-Republican voters, and two the subject itself is divisive distraction within the GOP. It is difficult to take Rove’s criticism seriously though when even he paid lip service to the birthers by saying that President Obama could produce the documents, when we all know that the documents were produced in 2008.
Rove’s claim that the White House is keeping the birther movement alive was a weak attempt to try to both discredit the birther conspiracy as a Democratic plot, while at the same time unify the GOP against Obama.
The notion that Obama is to blame for the birthers is form of comfortable denial for many Republicans who can’t understand how their party has managed to go completely insane.
Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly aren’t stupid. They both know that if the GOP goes down the birther path as exemplified by Sarah Palin, they are going to lose, and lose big in 2012. They might not want to admit how deeply the birther conspiracy has infiltrated their party, but it is there, and it is not going to go away quietly. The birther battle is another front in the civil war over the control and the soul of the Republican Party.
Establishment Republicans like Rove may feel better blaming Obama, but the truth is that Karl Rove played a big role in releasing this monster on the Republican Party, (think McCain’s brown baby in 2000, and the swift boating of John Kerry in 2004).
Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly loved these fringe zealots when they were helping the GOP win elections, but now that element is hurting the GOP, Rove has no idea how to get the genie back in the bottle. His dream of Republican domination has become a nightmare of self destruction and he is powerless to make it stop.