Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) seems to believe that while Arizona Republicans want a die-hard conservative as their Senate candidate in 2010, there is a limit to the craziness they will tolerate.
The senator's re-election campaign put out a new web video on Wednesday, tying his primary challenger, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, to birther queen and king Orly Taitz and Phil Berg -- each of whom have been featured (either in person or in audio clip) on Hayworth's radio show.
"These are serious economic times. Yet some are consumed by conspiracies," the ad flashes, before showing clips of Taitz and Berg each questioning Obama's American citizenship. "The only difference between these people? Only one is running for the U.S. Senate."
Hayworth has himself meddled in the birther movement, raising questions about Obama's birth certificate and justifying them by insisting that the country is in an "age of identity theft." But it is not something that he champions prominently -- in fact, he's practically begged those who have interviewed him recently to move on from the issue.
McCain isn't willing to cut him any slack, clearly sensing that even the conservative base in his state is troubled by the conspiracy theory crowd. And yet, it could be a risky gamble. On Wednesday, nearly half the Arizona state House approved a measure that would require presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to show their birth certificate to state officials before running.