Romney has often shared the stage with Donald Trump, the most visible birther. And Romney’s surrogate Sununu followed his original allegation with the charge that Obama “has no idea how the American system functions” in part because he spent “years in Indonesia.”
At lower levels, Republicans are even more brazen. Rep. Allen West (Fla.) alleges that, in the House, “there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and four other House Republicans accused Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, of being part of a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy. Not to be outdone, Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., just came out with the fresh allegation that Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a forgery.
Such disloyalty allegations aren’t likely to stick to the man who vanquished Osama bin Laden and escalated drone strikes on terrorists. More likely, the charges will discredit the complaints from Romney that Obama is being unfair to him with his far tamer line of attack on Romney’s finances. Of greater concern, the disloyalty allegations from Republican officials will legitimize the sort of people who converged on the press club.