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Rebuking birthers: Bettencourt's stand

Tolerating 'birtherism' is intolerable, as the Republican leadership in the New Hampshire House knows.

Last week, Orly Taitz, a California attorney who believes President Obama is not a U.S. citizen, tried to get New Hampshire's Ballot Law Commission to take the President off next year's presidential primary ballot. The commission, being sane, voted unanimously not to do that. Then, according to Assistant Attorney General Matt Mavrogeorge, who represented the Secretary of State's Office in the hearing, Reps. Henry Accornero, R-Laconia, and Susan DeLemus, R-Rochester, and some non-legislator attendees shouted at him so angrily that he feared for his safety. He locked himself in a room to get away from them. This incident is rightly under investigation.

Some of the birthers in attendance called members of the committee traitors. That prompted a sharp rebuke from House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt. In a letter sent to Taitz and all House Republicans, he called birtherism 'ridiculous,' 'gobbledygook,' and a 'folly.' He's right on all three.

There are, it seems, nine birthers in the House Republican Caucus, which runs to nearly 300 members. House leadership cannot and should not enforce absolute ideological purity, of course. But the leadership's move to isolate and rebuke this nuttery is absolutely appropriate. New Hampshire needs no association with birtherism or 9/11 kookery or any other conspiracy fantasies...