Timothy Rutten is dismayed about the persistence of "birthers" despite the President's release of his birth certificate. This isn't really new. He fails to mention other manias, such as the "truthers," who believe that 9/11 was perpetrated by our own government, or the JFK assassination hobbyists who are convinced that there was a second gunman. Even now, we're witnessing a new group, or perhaps the re-emergence of one called the "racers" who believe that all dissatisfaction with Obama's performance in office, if one can call it that, is rooted in racism, when a major factor in his election was a desire to demonstrate that Americans aren't racist.
I see all of these as evidence of our growing distrust of our media and a desire to avoid confronting the truth that we essentially allowed ourselves to be made targets of Al Qaeda or that Obama proved to be as inexperienced and inept as was apparent all along to those who considered him objectively without reference to his race. The "racers" are the real racists who insisted that he deserved to be elected because of his race. Recent studies of DNA have shown that race is really a social construct rather than a genetic one.