Appearing last night on Larry King Live, Liz Cheney gave a defense of the Birthers:
“You know, one of the reasons I think you see people so concerned about this,” Cheney explained, “I think that, you know, this issue is people are uncomfortable with having, for the first time ever, I think, a president who seems so reluctant to defend the nation overseas.”
Larry King later bluntly asked, “Are you saying because he’s a Kenyan?” To which she responded: “No, I’m not saying that.”
In an e-mail to Ben Smith, Cheney clarified her position:
I don’t have any question about Barack Obama’s right to be President of the United States.
My concern is with his policies. I am deeply troubled about the path he is taking this country down — massively expanding the size of government, weakening our national defenses, increasing taxes on all Americans and nationalizing health care. These are dangerous policies for the nation.
Note the artful phrasing that she uses. She says that she does not question Obama’s “right to be President of the United States,” which would logically imply that she accepts his citizenship. But she doesn’t use the actual word “citizen,” or otherwise include a more direct denunciation of Birther conspiracy theories.
Also, Dave Weigel appeared on the Rachel Maddow show last night, where he did a good job explaining how the Republican establishment is now in the bizarre position of condoning or even encouraging this kind of talk among its grassroots base: