Feathered Bastard

Ken Bennett Steps In It, and, Yes, "Plays" to Birthers

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a relatively moderate Republican, wants to be Governor. But to have any kind of shot at the 9th floor, he figures he must placate the activist base of Sand Land's GOP, which is deeply, rabidly insane. 

Hence, the predicament he finds himself in, having to declare in an official press release that, "I am not a birther."

I believe him when he says that. I mean, anyone with an intelligence quotient in triple digits knows that the birther conspiracy is right up there with the Flat Earth Society in terms of credibility.

But when Bennett tells KFYI's Mike Broomhead that, "I'm not playing to the birthers," by asking for assurances from the state of Hawaii that it has President Barack Obama's original birth certificate in safekeeping, I don't think even Bennett believes Bennett.

His claim that he's not pandering to conspiracy theorists -- a claim made to contradict my colleague Matt Hendley's contention to that effect -- is belied by his actions.

Bennett insists he had no choice but to look into the birth certificate issue. His office had received more than 1,000 e-mails and a petition with 3,000 signatures from birthers, so he was forced to ask for confirmation of the birth certificate from Hawaiian officials. 

Hey, what's a Secretary of State to do when besieged by crackpots?

And yet, a little Googling would have led Bennett to the 2009 statement above from Hawaii's then health director Dr. Chiyome Fukino that she had "seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons