Conservatives Rethinking Trump as Their Standard-Bearer

Rand Paul wants "the original long-form certificate of Trump’s Republican registration"

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is the first elected Republican to not just criticize, but mock the oafish maybe-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Paul--who was outed as a funny person during the "Aqua Buddha" controversy of his Senate campaign--told a New Hampshire crowd Thursday morning, “I want to see the original long-form certificate of Donald Trump’s Republican registration." The room laughed, The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny reports. Paul continued, "I'm going to believe it when I see his embossed seal to his Republican registration," pointing out that Trump had donated major cash to Democrats last fall.

Paul mocked Trump's birtherism--and his economic smarts. Noting that Trump has said he'd force oil-exporting countries to lower gas prices, Paul said, "[Trump is] always complaining about the president's education. What economic school teaches you that you can have a bully for a president who sets the prices by just telling countries what price they should charge? ... That to me shows an economic simplicity that really may not be equivalent to the stature of being president."

Paul is breaking from the comments of many prominent Republicans, including Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who called The Donald "credible" before yesterday's release of Obama's long-form birth certificate. A couple weeks ago Sarah Palin encouraged Trump's birther pursuits (even if she said she didn't agree with them), telling Fox News, "More power to him!" Previous conservative criticism of the reality star has mostly come from unelected talking heads--like Karl Rove, who called Trump a "joke candidate." Still, it's notable that conservative blogger Michelle Malkin also cast Trump out of the conservative movement Thursday morning. On Fox and Friends, Malkin said that it was unfair that some pure-hearted birthers were being tagged as racists, but,

"Being called a racist does not make you a bona fide conservative--and I want to take that message straight to Donald Trump. ... If you look at his actions, if you look at his positions on every core fiscal issue that matters to tea party conservatives, whether it's the auto bailout, the TARP bailout, and health care... and precious issues like private property rights--Donald Trump has built his entire empire in defiance of core Tea Party principles. And it's time for the Tea Party conservatives who've been flirting with Donald Trump to get serious themselves. ... This is the one thing I agree on with President Obama--it's time to get serious."

Video of Malkin's comments:

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