After Andrew Breitbart, another right-wing impresario has taken a stand against "birthers"--people who doubt President Obama's American citizenship. On his blog at Red State, Erick Erickson formally excommunicates birthers as well as 9/11 truthers from the site. But he goes further--Erickson rallies fellow Tea Party sympathizers to expel the conspiratorial fringe from the movement as a whole to protect its credibility.
If you think 9/11 was an inside job or you really want to debate whether or not Barack Obama is an American citizen eligible to be President, RedState is not a place for you. ... The tea party movement is in danger of getting a bad reputation for allowing birfers and truthers to share the stage.
Erickson's ultimatum--which expands on a previous ban on "truthers" at the site--has been sparked huge debate among commenters. Some fellow conservatives are put off by Erickson's dismissive tone, but bloggers across the spectrum are impressed that he's drawing a line.
- Birthers Aren't Crazy, writes blogger BigFurHat at conservative site I Own the World. The blogger says that whether there are birthers or not, the left will never respect the Tea Party movement. The writer politely takes issue with Erickson's tone: "I agree with his desire to distance himself from groups he doesn’t want to be associated with. I just wish he didn’t call birthers crazy. I think that’s a mischaracterization."
- An Admirable Stand for Sanity, writes Pete Abel at the Moderate Voice. Abel doesn't appear to speak from the right, but says "We should applaud such action, whenever the right or left applies a little common sense... This post is a step in the right direction; a step toward isolating the fringe and thereby returning some sanity to our national dialogue."
- Shows Dangers of Fringe David Weigel of the Washington Independent calls it an "interesting statement," comparing Erickson's ban to a similar ban on conspiracy theorists from Markos Moulitsas on the left. He interprets the statement as an illustration of "how craziness can blow back onto the rest of the conservative movement"--as it does on the left as well.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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Benjamin Carlson is a Beijing correspondent for Agence France-Presse. He has written for Rolling Stone, the New Republic, and Esquire.