I hope that I am off track here, but I feel that possibly, one of the reasons for the success of the Tea Party candidates in the last elections; and a major factor in the collective Republican obstinacy, is the fact that Barrack Obama was elected President.
If memory serves me correctly, McCain was born in Panama. And this was not an issue in the election. With Donald Trump jumping on the "birther" bandwagon, it appears that Republicans are using bigotry and fear to maintain and fortify their base.
Unlike Gingrich (Adultery), Palin (Bristolgate & Troopergate), Huckabee (Ethicsgate) and most of the Republican potential nominees, Obama has an almost impeccable record as a man, as a citizen, and as a scholar. He has a sound family, loves and plays sports, was a law professor, and attended the same Christian church for 20 years. He has stellar academic credentials and he is a self-made man. He is a poster person for Horacio Alger and epitomizes the American Dream.
Remember, the "New Conservative" Republicans of George Bush and Co. all but destroyed this country and Obama was elected by a landslide. The new "dogs", which are essentially the same old dogs, are using any methods they can, including the "birther" red herring, to accomplish their mission. Their style is different, this time around, but their game is the same.