Birthers Go Home

This week, it came out that John McCain’s campaign conducted an internal investigation into the rumors that Barack Obama was not really born in Hawaii, and is therefore ineligible for the presidency:

While they ruled out any chance of the ‘birther’ lawsuits holding up in court, lawyers for the McCain campaign did check into the rumors about Obama’s birth and the assertions made by Berg and others. “To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations,” said Potter. “We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence. There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state’s Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance.”

Granted, McCain hardly had the best judgment when it came to attacking Obama, but they were right to skip this foolishness.  As John Hawkins has pointed out, it’s got no legs:

- The people at FactCheck.org have seen the certificate of live birth provided from the state of Hawaii to the Obama campaign and it is genuine.

- Although Hawaii “state law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record,” the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health [a Republican appointee] has certified that Obama does have a legitimate birth certificate on file in Hawaii.

- In a print copy of the 1961 Honolulu Advertiser, there’s a notice that Barack Obama was born. In and of itself, this is a game, set, match conversation-ender on this subject unless people want to argue that this isn’t genuine or that there was a conspiracy going all the way back to the day of Obama’s birth to make him President.

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough for the Birther crowd, spearheaded by WorldNetDaily.  When you point this stuff out to them, they posit all sorts of hypothetical scenarios about how a birth certificate or newspaper clipping could have been issued to a non-resident, and so forth.  But that doesn’t cut it.  We could talk all day about how the moon landing might have been faked, or how World Trade Center Seven could have been destroyed by controlled demolition, but since the magnitude of the allegation is so severe—that the President of the United States is constitutionally illegitimate—it is morally irresponsible to give them serious consideration in the absence of affirmative reasons to believe Obama was born somewhere other than Hawaii.

Birthers claim to have such evidence, in the form of testimony from Obama’s grandmother that he was born in Kenya.  But that claim doesn’t withstand scrutiny either:

During the interview, which was conducted through a translator by a street preacher named Ron McRae, Sarah Obama does in fact say she was present. But it’s clear that there was a mistranslation, because as soon as McRae very excitedly starts to try to get additional details, the people on the other end of the line realize what’s happened and say, over and over again, that Obama was born in the U.S.

For some reason, the transcripts of the interview that have been posted on various right-wing Web sites all seem to cut off right after Sarah Obama says she was there when her grandson was born. So does this YouTube video with the audio of the interview. But as The Economist points out, McRae also released the full audio, in which the key parts of the conversation can be heard. Here’s part of it. (The other person speaking is translator Vitalis Akech Ogombe.)

MCRAE: When I come in December. I would like to come by the place, the hospital, where he was born. Could you tell me where he was born? Was he born in Mombasa?

OGOMBE: No, Obama was not born in Mombasa. He was born in America.

MCRAE: Whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.

OGOMBE: No, he was born in America, not in Mombasa.

MCRAE: Do you know where he was born? I thought he was born in Kenya. I was going to go by and see where he was born.

OGOMBE: Hawaii. Hawaii. Sir, she says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father was also learning, there. The state of Hawaii.

When the house of cards all but collapses, the Birthers play their trump: “All Obama would have to do to satisfy us is release his original birth certificate.  Why doesn’t he?  That proves he’s hiding something!”  Hawkins gives the answer, which should be obvious:

Well, why would he at this point? He has a significant number of conservatives wasting enormous amounts of time on a side issue that can never bear any fruit and, as an added bonus, it makes them look somewhat unhinged to many Americans. When your political enemies are making fools of themselves, why stop them?

Heck, that’s what I’d do in this situation if I were Obama!  The Birthers undermine the Right’s credentials on honesty, intellectual rigor, and moral seriousness, which we need to maintain if we are to stand up to the Left’s real lies.

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5 Responses to “Birthers Go Home”

  1. Igor Marxomarxovich Says:

    Old Russian saying…You can tell same lie 1000 time but not change truth!

    Difference between USSR Communist media and USA “mainstream media”

    In Russia government make media say what they want – even if lie.
    In USA “mainstream media” try make government what they want – even if lie..
    …..eventually they become same thing?!

    I Igor produce Obama Birth Certificate at http://www.igormaro.org

  2. Calvin Freiburger Says:

    Um…thanks, Igor.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I stand corrected. Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

  3. Sean Hannity and Birtherism: Give to Idiocy No Sanction | NewsReal Blog Says:

    […] the original asking, the caller is right that it has been repeatedly investigated, answered, and should be a dead issue now.  During the 2008 campaign, blogger John Hawkins ran down the case against Birtherism for […]

  4. Don Buchanan Says:

    If Obama was born in Hawii, that still leaves the fact that his father was Kenyan. As a Kenyan, Mr.Obama was a subject of the UK. This would give Barak Jr. a duel citizenship and would this not disqualify him from Office? When his mother, Anne, remarried to Mr. Sorento who adopted Barak and changed his name to Sorento, when did he legally change it back to Obama? Did America elect a man whose name isn’t real?? Is this legal? I really want to know.

    • Calvin Freiburger Says:

      From “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution,” Edwin Meese, p. 190:

      “As early at 1350, the British Parliament approved statutes recognizing the rule of jus sanguinis, under which citizens may pass their citizenship by descent to their children at birth, regardless of place. Similarly, in the its first naturalization statute, Congress declared that ‘the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.’ 1 Stat. 104 (1790) . . . . Notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s discussion in Wong Kim Ark (1898), a majority of commentators today argue that the Presidential Eligibility Clause incorporates both the common-law and English statutory principles, and that therefore, Michigan Governor George Romney, who was born to American parents outside of the United States, was eligible to seek the Presidency in 1968.”


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