I’ve seen no evidence that doing so works in the past, but maybe Obama’s gamble with his long-form birth certificate will work. The fringe is already pulling out their Dick Tracy decoder rings to generate more crazy, and the “respectable” Republicans are whining WHY DID HE TAKE SO LONG (is that question really asked with the subtext that the accusations were unfounded and already disproven? Of course not…), and some on the Beltway are apparently afraid to doubt Trump’s claim that this is a win for him, but so far it seems to have done a lot to dissuade most sane people from entertaining the notion that Obama was not a citizen any longer. Now that there is precious little weasel room left (and again, let’s be clear here, Obama proved two years ago that he was a natural born citizen), any GOP politician who isn’t living in a pure red district knows not to go near the subject again (those living in the purest red districts may calculate that they have nothing to lose, and they’ll be right about that).
Ultimately, what stands out the most about today is that we witnessed the complete destruction of a rumor’s legs, and that the GOP was caught flirting with, promoting, and even believing what was already flatly untrue, past the point of responsibility. Yet they had to be super-debunked. It wasn’t enough to catch their hands in the cookie jar, we had to do a stomach pump to retrieve the cookie. We had to test cookie-laden feces, folks. And the popular media wasn’t willing to step in any longer, was rarely willing to stand up and say what was right and what was wrong (kudos to CNN for trying), they had to concede to the right’s maniacal demand that yet more proof be added to the already unimpeachable evidence. Yet how often are we afforded opportunities to destroy rumors so completely? How often can we reach a bar of evidence that is always moving, always dancing backwards, with no reward or apology for clearing?
In other words, the bar for what it takes to make Republicans shut the hell up has been set very, very high. And if Republicans don’t shut up, the media dutifully reports it as a controversy, which further rewards Republicans. The public rewards the process by declaring itself completely confused. In a snapshot, our dysfunction. It is almost beyond our capacity as a nation to identify and move forward with the truth.