Opinion

Commentary: GOP's message is clouded by crazy Obama conspiracy theories

Republicans can set off political dynamite this fall.

But one prominent Dallas Republican just added her own stink bomb.

In a year when Republicans can win by emphasizing jobs and the economy, former state party Chairwoman Cathie Adams instead is promoting fringe conspiracy theory: "Is Obama a Muslim?"

"You read my Twitter!" she said Friday.

"I think that his behavior is very interesting."

Adams, 60, promoted a video accusing President Barack Obama of conspiring with Saudi Arabia to "plant" a "Saudi-sponsored Muslim" in office -- and (gasp!) without a "legitimate" birth certificate.

According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, nearly 1 in 5 Americans doubts Obama's 1988 Christian baptism.

That's no surprise. One in 5 folks around here probably believes flying saucers visited Stephenville or chupacabras came to Cresson.

But it's more surprising to hear conspiracy fairy tales from a Republican who helped write the party's national platform.

State party spokesman Bryan Preston laughed.

"She's not the chairwoman anymore," he said.

"We're going to talk about jobs and the trillion dollars we just spent on a stimulus package," he said. Obama's birthplace and religion are "not part of our message at all."

New Chairman Steve Munisteri, a Houston lawyer, ousted Adams in June.

"When somebody says he is a Christian, I accept that," Munisteri said.

He added something else that makes sense:

"Elections are decided by swing voters. The people who follow those issues already vote Republican."

Presidential historian Paul Boller, retired from Texas Christian University, said he's amazed that conspiracy talk has lingered.

"He was criticized before for associating with a Christian pastor," Boller said, referring to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's United Church of Christ pastor for 20 years. "Now Obama's not a Christian? It makes no sense."

At the local United Church of Christ, there is no question.

"His take on religion is consistent with our understanding that there are many different approaches to God and that all faiths should be free to practice," said the Rev. Dave Barber of the First Congregational Church in Fort Worth.

"He's a Christian like any church member."

The Florida pastor peddling the video, the Rev. Carl Gallups of Milton, Fla., has other messages.

One declares that in ancient Hebrew prophecy, the future Antichrist is named "Baraq Bamah."

The more time Republicans waste on conspiracy, the less they can focus on victory.

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