Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Mahalo, Obama!

Happy birthday to you

Today is the birthday of our first Hawaiian president. Barack Hussein Obama was born on this day in Honolulu back in 1961.

We live, however, in such interesting times that a big chunk of the Republican Party's members cannot accept the simple fact of the president's island nativity. I think that perhaps John McCain is to blame.

More to the point, it may be McCain's parents who sparked the current unpleasantness. It was their fault, of course, that Mrs. John McCain, Jr., bore John McCain III in Panama. Decades later, the U.S. Senate decided that John III was indeed a “natural born citizen” in the sense required by the U.S. Constitution and adopted a resolution to put their opinion on record.

The Senate resolution did not have the force of law, but it reinforced the consensus that John Sidney McCain III was eligible to run for president. But even while the issue was being laid to rest for the presumptive Republican nominee, new attention was being paid to the birth status of the Democratic front-runner. It shouldn't have been an issue, Obama having been born in the United States, but the paranoid fringe was creative enough to theorize that perhaps he had lost his U.S. citizenship when he moved to Indonesia with his mother and adoptive father. The nuttier types began to theorize that perhaps Obama had been born in his birth father's nation of Kenya.

The Obama campaign was clever enough to have a webpage on its campaign site devoted to shooting down scurrilous rumors. Obama obtained an official birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, a legal state document sufficient for all purposes, which his staff then posted on his campaign website. Obama and company then ignored the whining of those who remained dissatisfied, which was wise, because it tamped down the level of attention and put the issue away except among those crazies (like Alan Keyes) who weren't going to vote for him anyway (or for John McCain, for that matter, since he wasn't conservative enough for them).

Now that Obama's presidency is a reality, the disaffected conservative minority (a larger group than the purely insane fringe) is susceptible to anything that might assuage their loss to a moderately liberal candidate. Even more susceptible than anyone would have suspected earlier, creating a situation that feeds on itself. The flames are being fanned by the propagandists who work for the GOP Ministry of Truth. (In difficult economic times, it's easier than making an honest living.)

Lou Dobbs: And this can be dismissed with the production of one simple little document, and that's a birth certificate.

Dustbunny: Producing the real birth certificate would solve all the questions.

TraderRob: I have always wondered why BO didn't simply produce his long form certificate and be done with it.

Douglas V. Gibbs: All he has to do is show proof, and be done with it.
No, none of these statements are true. Perhaps last year Obama could have formally requested that Hawaii dig into its vaults and publish his original “long-form” birth certificate, assuming that it still exists in the state's archives, but that would have been giving too much credence to the nutjobs. So he didn't. Good call.

If he did it now, in response to the fake controversy ginned up by right-wing crazies and those who pander to them, it would not work. It would be denounced as a forgery (no matter what) and people would claim that it simply took the Obama people a year to create a high-quality fake. (I hear it's being prepared in Canada, if you believe Free Republic—which I never do.)

We rode it out last year. We're going to have to do it again this year. There's no help for it, except perhaps for the recreational showering of contempt on the losers who embrace it.

So happy birthday, Mr. President! And if you get us national health care and a rational budget policy, the rest of us can be happy, too. (Especially if you drop the Bush-era signing statements and the notion that the president can order unlimited detention!)


Interrobang said...

I really can't help but think that no fair few of the birfers don't really think Hawaii is really a state. Why not? You're a math guy; have you checked the population statistics for Hawaii broken down by race?

Seems to me that right there is the elephant in the room for a lot of these people.

Sili said...


WV: comanin - Dunno what that is, but I think I could use some of it.

The Ridger, FCD said...

So how do you know this is really his birthday?