Let me finish tonight with that old one about “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think there are two kinds of people and those who don’t.” Well, today there are two kinds of Republicans in this country. Those who are into the “birther” thing and those who aren’t.
Check the polls. Roughly half the people who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters they think that the President was born in some other country and somehow had his records, newspaper announcements, hospital information, family friends, the whole shebang, forged so he could run for president.
So let’s look at the two sides of the Republican party because in an important way they represent the two kinds of Americans.
I think most Americans, Democrat, Independent, Republican, are proud of our country that we could elect Barack Obama president. I believe that. Even people who didn’t vote for him were glad to see this country of ours can measure up to its ideals of all men being created equal, that this is the country where you can make it no matter how humble or different your background.
The Republican party, unlike the rest of the country, is, as I said, roughly divided on this issue. It’s about even-steven between the people who are happy we can meet up to our ideals of equal opportunity and American exceptionalism and those who just can’t deal with the fact that Barack Obama is president, that a guy named Barack Obama is president, that a guy who looks like Barack Obama is president, that a guy whose father was a black African is president. They don’t like it. They will never like it - even if the price of gas drops to a buck and unemployment drops to zero.
Tonight I offer two Americans to personify this difference. I offer you the name Michael Bloomberg, who himself personifies the American dream, who created something really great - Bloomberg communications - and became mayor of New York. I offer you the name Franklin Graham, born to a fine name, perhaps the finest father you could have in this country - Billy Graham, born with all the pedigree one could want in this country.
Mike just said the Republicans are “making a big mistake making this a big issue.” Mr. Graham has said that Donald Trump is his candidate. No surprise here. He’s accused the president of having the “seed” of islam in him, whatever the hell that means. So it’s perfect that Trump’s his guy. He was riding the “birther” horse long before Trump jumped into the saddle, rode it hard for weeks, then stabled it wet.
As I said, three are two kinds of Republicans, the “birthers” and their ilk like Franklin Graham and those who think like Mike Bloomberg who defend - and cheer - the American ideal.