When your friend solnushka practically dares you to top the British National Party in terms of sheer awfulness, then follows that up by asking what the Birthers are, you realize that responding with a follow-up comment won't suffice -- you need another blog post to give the topic full expression.
What could be worse than the BNP? Well, you tell your British friend, imagine that there is no BNP -- because its potential members are instead all members in good standing of the Conservative Party, including several prominent MPs and a couple of newly-minted Conservative cabinet ministers. If that were the case, then your British friend would understand what the Republican Party is like in the USA.
Surely, your British friend might respond, the Republicans can't be that awful.
Oh yes they can, you reply, and don't call me Shirley. And this brings you naturally to the topic of the Birthers.
Simply put, the Birthers are people who believe that President Obama is lying when he says he was born in Honolulu, capital of the State of Hawaii. This is significant because the US Constitution restricts the presidency to natural-born citizens, ie people who were born citizens because they were born on US soil, or because at least one of their parents was a citizen. Even though President Obama is a natural-born citizen on both counts, the Birthers believe that if they can prove that Obama was actually born in Kenya, that will disqualify him for the presidency, and he'll have to step down.
All of the actual evidence shows that Obama was indeed born in Honolulu. His parents were living there at the time of his birth, his birth certificate shows that he was born in Honolulu, and two Honolulu newspapers mentioned Obama in their birth announcements for the week. The Birthers, though, fueled by a toxic mix of racism and wishful thinking, insist that the birth certificate is a forgery, that the birth announcements are hoaxes, that Obama's family has been lying all along about his true birthplace, and that all the government officials in the State of Hawaii who vouch for the authenticity of the birth certificate are In On The Conspiracy. That was the point of the Wagner for President post, a thought experiment to show just how impossible it would be for a foreign-born politician to do what the Birthers say Obama has done. (In real life, Wagner never even considered running for president for that very reason.)
So, the Birthers are complete nutters, right? Right. And they're nothing more than a lunatic fringe, right?
Wrong. Polls consistently show that a majority of Republicans don't believe that Obama was born in the United States. Republican legislators in Arizona, Georgia, and the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced bills requiring that presidential candidates provide proof that they are natural-born citizens. Only a handful of Republicans in the US Congress were willing to go on the record stating that Obama was born in the United States.
The Birthers are completely nuts, and they are legion.