Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Birther Bother

Since even before Obama was elected President, some people fussed that he might not be a U.S. citizen, raising the birth certificate issue, while Obama's supporters belittled their concern. Then he won the election, and the issue heated up. Eventually, a certificate of live birth was released for Obama. A certificate of live birth, however, is not the same thing as a birth certificate. Some cried that a certificate of live birth wasn't good enough to prove Obama's citizenship. Obama's supporters insisted that it was good enough. Nothing came of the ruckus, and the noise eventually died down, even if the issue never went completely away.

Recently, Donald Trump has raised the issue again on a popular talk show, and Obama supporters have gotten defensive again. Trump later provided what he called his birth certificate to the media as proof that he is a U.S. citizen. Except that what he actually provided was a certificate of live birth. That's where the funniest part comes in: Some Obama supporters then howled that Trump's certificate of live birth was insufficient proof. (In so doing, they weakened their own argument in favor of Obama.) Trump quickly came up with his actual birth certificate. So far, President Obama hasn't.

What's my position? The same as it always has been: I believe in rule-of-law, and that we should enforce the requirement that a person must be a U.S. citizen to be President. Seems to me like a certificate of live birth is adequate proof, so that's good enough for me unless someone proves otherwise. So, I'm satisfied that Obama is a natural born American, and entitled to be President on that count.

It does still puzzle me, however, why he won't authorize the release of his actual birth certificate. I used to suspect it must have something on it that he might find embarrassing, so a while back I looked up an example copy of Hawaiian birth certificates, and I didn't see anything that could justify much embarrassment. Because I believe a certificate of live birth should normally be adequate, I don't care much about the issue, other than it's entertainment value.

Since the actual birth certificate wasn't released, however, there are people who have spent a lot of effort investigating to try to determine his citizenship based on other facts. While I'm not concerned about the issue of citizenship, I am concerned about some of the issues run into by investigators. They have apparently been actively opposed, with someone paying lawyers to fight the release of information like the following:

Passport files
University of Chicago Law School scholarly articles
Harvard Law Review articles
Harvard Law School records
Columbia University records
Columbia University senior thesis, "Soviet Nuclear Disarmament"
Occidental College records, including financial aid that he may have received
Punahou School records, where Mr. Obama attended from the fifth grade until he finished high school
Noelani Elementary School records
Complete files and schedules of his years as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004
Obama's client list from during his time in private practice with the Chicago law firm of Davis-Miner
Illinois State Bar Association records
Baptism records
Obama/Dunham marriage license
Obama/Dunham divorce documents
Soetoro/Dunham marriage license
Soetero/Dunham Adoption records

For someone who promised unprecedented openness, we find unprecedented hiding instead. This bothers me. I'm curious. Most people seeking the limelight would be happily inclined to release such records, and running for President is clearly seeking the limelight.

President Obama is a pretty bright guy. Surely he knows that most, if not all, of this information will become public sooner or later, and much more like it. So I keep asking myself... why doesn't he release such information himself? Why pay people to fight its release?

If anyone has any rational explanations and can express them calmly, I'd love to hear them.


Montana said...

I really hope one of these retreads and blowhards runs for president, not because they have a chance of winning but because I like to see the train wreck that they will cause.

Faux News Candidates:
former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ”The I graduated Early”,
former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. “The I Love The Interns”,
former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee “The Huckster Reverend”,
former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. “The I Love the Gays”,
former UN Ambassador John Bolton “The I Love The War ”

I Finance Myself:
real estate celebrity developer & 1999 US Prez. Candidate, Donald Trump, “I took my Casino into Bankruptcy, just imagine where I can Take the US”
former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “The Flip-Flopping Fudger”,
former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “The I Am Not My “Dumb Ass” Brother”,

Employed Long Shots:
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. “The History, I Don’t Need No Stink’n History”,
Mississippi Gov./ former tobacco lobbyist, Haley Barbour “The last White Hope”

John said...

Ad hominem insults are counter-productive. They make political discourse worse, not better.