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Ted Cruz birtherism is tearing the conservative movement apart.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The birther forces within the movement, spurred by their leader Donald Trump, have turned their focus inward, on the Canadian-born Cruz, giving the right wing a little taste of its own ethno-nationalist medicine. Cruz isn’t particularly popular with his Republican colleagues, some of whom are goading the birthers on. But some prominent conservative commentators are standing up for Cruz, Mediaite reports

Talk radio host Mark Levin, for example, said of Trump that “just because he says something doesn’t mean I have to agree with it like our friends over at Breitbart who are going all kinds of crazy over the birther issue.” 

Can you say ... shots fired? Breitbart’s John Nolte, originator of the Tearghazi conspiracy theory, retorted, “As ‘stupid’ as this issue may be for Levin, do we want to litigate it in front of the American people today or three weeks before the general election, when Cruz is either our presidential or vice-presidential nominee?” 

To which Levin replied with a Facbook post acidly titled, “John Nolte has spoken. Well, then, I guess I’m wrong.” Ouch.