Conspiracy Theorist Congressman Ripe for Challenge
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 09:52:26 AM EDT
The nuttiest of the far-right fringe has a new conspiracy theory cause: Asserting, without any base in fact or law, that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and is thus ineligible for the Presidency. Until now, however, the insanity had been limited to a statehouse and a federal district court, where a lawsuit was ignominiously swatted down. Until now.
Rep. Bill Posey, a freshman Republican from Florida, introduced a bill yesterday mirroring proposed state legislation in Missouri and elsewhere that stems from fringe doubts about Obama's eligibility for office.
The full bill text isn't yet available, and Posey's spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but here's a summary:H.R. 1503. A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee's statement of organization a copy of the candidate's birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution; to the Committee on House Administration.
The introduction of this ridiculous and frankly shameful piece of legislation should put Bill Posey squarely in the sights of House Democrats for 2010. The district Posey represents, Florida's 15th, is only marginally Republican, with a historical R+4 PVI rating. In 2008, John McCain carried the district -- though only by a narrow 51 percent to 48 percent margin. That fall, Posey received just 53 percent of the vote in what was his first successful congressional run, despite the fact that he outspent his relatively unknown Democratic challenger by close to a 9-to-1 margin.
Clearly, Posey is not entrenched, and his district isn't overwhelmingly Republican. So the fact that he is allying himself with a fringe that reporters are comparing to the conspiracy theorists who believed that Bill Clinton was involved in Vince Foster's death or that George W. Bush was in some way involved in 9/11 makes him highly vulnerable and ripe for a challenge in 2010.