05 December 2008

Obama's citizenship

A specter is haunting PUMA-dom -- the specter of Barack Obama's birth certificate.

The Constitution mandates that only a "natural-born citizen" can become President. This is why a naturalized citizen such as, for example, Arnold Schwarzenegger, could not run for President. Recently many PUMAs have made claims that Obama may have actually been born in Kenya, not Hawaii as is generally accepted, which would mean he is not a "natural-born citizen"; or that, even if he was born in Hawaii, there's some problem with his citizenship due to his father not having been an American citizen, or due to his possibly having acquired Indonesian nationality later. Here's a rundown on some of the claims, and why they would be important if true. The "controversy" over Obama's citizenship has become so widely discussed on PUMA blogs that it is threatening to engulf the movement; see for example the blog-roundup site Daily PUMA, which now has a special section for "citizenship issues".

Is there any fire under all the smoke? Believers focus on Obama's birth certificate, which has never been made publicly available; they believe that this may mean he has something to hide. The document released by Obama's campaign is a "certificate of live birth" (COLB), which is not the same as an actual birth certificate; claims have been advanced that it is a forgery. Several lawsuits have been filed to try to force Obama to reveal his actual birth certificate; it's remotely possible that the Supreme Court itself will decide today to address the issue.

The problem is that there's no evidence, or at least none that I've seen, to support the claim that Obama was not born in Hawaii. What "evidence" has been offered generally consists of hearsay or statements that need a lot of clarification before they can be given any weight. A good example is here (note that the question I asked in the comments thread -- a very obvious question -- has gone unanswered). The claim that Obama's COLB is a forgery has been debunked by Cannonfire (which, please note, is an anti-Obama site). A birth announcement appeared in a Hawaiian newspaper in 1961. With all the blogger interest in the subject, if there were any solid evidence out there to support the idea that Obama was born outside US territory, someone would have dug it up by now, and it would be all over the PUMAsphere in a matter of hours.

And as for the claims that Obama's non-American father somehow makes him not a "natural-born citizen", the fact that his father was Kenyan has been well known since long before he started running for President. If this were a solid disqualification, the issue would have come up a long time ago. The claims that are being made now are dependent on fine points of interpretation; the Supreme Court is very unlikely to set aside the results of a national election on such a basis.

I fear that this "controversy" is becoming the PUMA version of kool-aid. Who, after all, benefits from having all our legitimate objections to Obama discredited by association with something spurious? If that association takes root in the mass public mind, and Obama then produces his original birth certificate showing that he was, in fact, born in Hawaii, then his problem with this will be over -- but ours won't be. By 2010 and 2012, whenever PUMAs are mentioned, the common reaction will be, "Oh, yeah, those nuts who made all that fuss over the [snicker] birth certificate thing." Again, who benefits from this?

I really hope that I'm proven wrong on this one. No one would be happier than I if Obama were disqualified from the Presidency. But it just looks vanishingly unlikely that there's any substance to this thing. The people who pin their hopes on it are setting themselves up for a huge disappointment. Specters may look impressive, but they are not real.

Update (6 Dec.): The Supreme Court has postponed its decision on whether or not to grant a hearing to the lawsuit.


Blogger Christy said...

Well done.

A nice, honest, well-rounded post.

Did you see the even stickier issue with Hillary, btw?

Some arcane law about never being able to take a federal position--I guess an appointed one--that you ever voted on an increase in pay for, or some other bullcrap?

People are idiots when we need to be focusing on bigger things.

05 December, 2008 09:46  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Thanx for the informative posting Mr.Infidel. No...I hadnt the faintest that his birth certificate was in question...but I did figure that someone will come up with something...either he's some kind of space alien,or he shagged a neighbor's mutt(dog),or cornholed a drag queen for rock(crack)in the Southside of Chi-Town...who the hell know's?! I mean...damn near everything else was attempted..they even tried to connect him to terrorism..communism
amongst other thing's..so it shouldnt suprise us I guess..I even figure one of these young Aryan group's will take a shot at him eventually...I am sure he think's this might happen also. They are fired up over this guy.
Thanx guy...

05 December, 2008 11:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't get any righter and to the point, Infidel.

-- Citizen Cane

06 December, 2008 14:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that each government should be controlled by public and fairly criticized for its misconducts and mistakes.

I’m definitely sure, that all those lawsuits will be dropped due to a lack of any relevant legal substance - without a trial. In fact inanity of those lawsuits and lack of any credibility of those who filed them (besides life threats against him) make Obama appears like a victim of an extreme bias.

Due to that flood of inantiy even objective criticism against Obama might be treated as “oh no, again those crazy kooks”.

I’m asking those of you who endorse so zealously these “famous” lawsuits: have you ever checked credibility of Donofrio (poker, Burnweed, Onelovestory “cult”), Berg (9/11 “truther”) or Martin (Anti-Semitism)?

-- Citizen Cane

08 December, 2008 01:22  
Anonymous handmaiden said...

Well, it seems that cult mentality abounds on both sides of the aisle.

Absolutely, true that this type of hysteria has no benefit & only makes the organizations attached to it look foolish.

The internet seems to be a great venue for perpetrating this sort of foolishness. I suspect we'll see lots more in the future. Thankfully, people are not so stupid & the majority will wise up to the internet's brand of yellow journalism after they are exposed to it enough.

08 December, 2008 08:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As predicted this case is done


The application for stay addressed to Justice Thomas and referred to the Court is denied.


-- Citizen Cane

08 December, 2008 08:44  

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