This is the moment when the Republican Party has been branded by the collection of kooks, liars, bigots and nihilists that populate it.
As David Frum writes:
Now the more haunting question: How did this poisonous and not very subtly racist allegation get such a grip on our conservative movement and our Republican party?
I know there will be Republican writers and conservative publicists who will now deny that birtherism ever did get a grip. Sorry, that’s just wrong. Not only did Donald Trump surge ahead in Republican polls by flaming racial fires – not only did conservative media outlets from Fox to Drudge to the Breitbart sites indulge the birthers – but so also did every Republican candidate who said, ‘I take the president at his word.’ Birthers did not doubt the president’s ‘word.’ They were doubting the official records of the state of Hawaii. It’s like answering a 9/11 conspiracist by saying, ‘I take the 9/11 families at their word that they lost their loved ones.’
Yet even now, the racialist aspect of the anti-Obama movement has not subsided.