Conservative opinion formers like NRO, Powerline, John Hawkins have reflexively dissociated themselves from the audacious idea that Obama is not a natural born citizen, but the tenor of rational commentary by the readers of these articles is that something smells bad. Perhaps the readers feel less peer pressure on this charged subject.
Now the esteemed Andrew McCarthy has revised his stance in a must-read article, "Suborned in the USA." The point of McCarthy's article is that Obama is acting like he's ineligible.
He is shown to have lied materially in his autobiography and to have produced a certification of live birth which means nothing.
He is asked to permit Hawaii to release a routine document often required for business throughout US life in order to show that he is a legitimate President under the Constitution - the certificate of live birth.
In McCain's case there was full discovery and Congressional hearings.
He spends serious money to avoid doing that and to avoid producing other elementary primary biographical documents. It seems he's covering something up, tho not necessarily his place of birth.
There's an anxiety to corral the issue as a tin-foil hat or racist fantasy - ie to make it unrespectable to require that the President show his birth certificate. Bill Maher in the LA Times:
it's so important that we the few, the proud, the reality-based attack this stuff before it has a chance to fester and spread. This isn't a case of Democrats versus Republicans. It's sentient beings versus the lizard people, and it is to them I offer this deal: I'll show you Obama's birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin's high school diploma.
For this purpose it doesn't matter what Obama's politics are and I'd say the same were it Romney or Palin or Ron Paul. There's an incipient move in Congress to require this elementary qualifying documentation for future candidates. This matters for the 2012 election as well as the deeper Constitutional principle.
Hope, change, race - all irrelevant.
UPDATE: see also.