Jillian Bandes
If you believe in Obama's birther conspiracy, World Net Daily's Joseph Farah is a hero. If you think it's destroying the Republican Party limb by limb, he's a criminal. If you're liberal, you probably think he represents the true feelings of a majority of conservative Americans, and that he's dragging the Republican Party into oblivion.

Farah doesn't represent the feelings of a majority of conservative Americans. But he represents some of them. And some were in the audience here at the Tea Party Convention when he gave his speech last night.

They weren't in the majority. The hoots and hollers that accompanied so many other speakers here weren't heard when Farah took the stage. Part of that was his communication style — rambling, tangential, and unfortunately, ineffective. But the bigger reason, of course, was the content.
We recently took a guy with no birth certificate, no brain, and put him in the White House.
That's polarizing. But it wasn't the half of it.
I have a dream. My dream is that if Barack Obama even seeks reelection in 2012 that he won't be able to go to any city in any town in any city in America, and ask, "where's the birth certificate?"
He continued on by comparing Jesus' birth to Obama's. More evidence of Jesus' birth exists than evidence of our President's, he said. Then he went off on a tangent that I, listening closely, could barely follow. It had to do with Obama's inner circle. Biblical theory. And of course, it was all tied into Obama's birth certificate.

If birtherism is your thing, listening to Farah is a great way to get yourself riled up. The problem is, birtherism is either usually very much your thing, or very much not, and trying to draw conclusions about tea party movement as a whole by analyzing Farah's speech usually doesn't do anyone any good. But, as I said, that's exactly what critics like to do. Here's Joel Mathis at the Philadelphia Weekly:
...if Sarah Palin — vice presidential nominee and somebody who is still talked about as the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012 — isn’t a “mainstream Republican,” who is? And if she’s taking the same stage where Tancredo and Farah have been propounding their foolishness, why should the rest of us not believe that the birther and nativist nuts aren’t welcome in polite Republican circles?
That was a pretty common criticism heard around the banquet tables last night. But I just can't believe that everyone who raises questions about Obama's birth certificate is a "nut," and even if you do, you've got to be kidding if you think more GOP candidates have shared the stage with "nuts" than Democrats — does anyone need a reminder of our sitting President's declared affiliations?

Judson Phillips, one of the event's organizers, responded delicately when asked if he thought Farah's speech polarized the audience. It was hard not to notice that the applause from the audience died down as Farah went on, and it was hard not to notice Farah being sharply questioned by critical journalists after his schpeal (which he responded to with forceful defenses).

Phillips, I think, has the best approach. If the birthers — starting with Farah — and their critics were a little more delicate about the way they dealt with the issue, everyone would be in a lot better shape.

Jillian Bandes

Jillian Bandes is the National Political Reporter for Townhall.com