Saturday, April 23, 2011

The persistence of the "birthers"

A quick search through the archives ensures me that I've never written about the president's birth certificate. This is not to say that I haven't been following the story with a modicum of interest. The release of Jerome Corsi's new book, Where's the Birth Certificate, which, thanks to a link from Drudge, quickly jumped to number one on Amazon, seems as good a time as any to offer a few thoughts on the matter.

First, contrary to the protestations of the media--notice I do not say "mainstream" media: with the exception of WorldNetDaily, even the usual case of right-wingers has dismissed this issue--Obama has not released his birth certificate to the public. This is not unusual in and of itself--I can't think of a single public figure who has done so--but it does put the lie to those who, aside from a few key figures from the state of Hawaii, insist that they have seen the document. The debate really concerns those who trust the President and those who have vetted him, while the contrarians remain suspicious. It certainly wouldn't be the first the government has lied to its citizens; nor that an individual has trampled on the law in his pursuit of power.

I have no intention of reading Corsi's book, but I think it's instructive that such a book exists at all. There are evidently enough oddities and discrepancies surrounding the matter that one can write a good deal about it. The explanation that the tea-party is so incensed at Obama that they would cling zealously to an obvious myth doesn't really explain anything, since the myth, if it is one, is so profoundly easy to disprove. If one were seeking to discredit the president, it would be prudent to concoct a story which could not be decimated by the release of a single document. Obama's reluctance to release his birth certificate does not prove that he was born elsewhere; it does suggest that he is more concerned with maintaining secrecy even at the expense of further political controversy. This is especially bizarre since the release of the document would do grave damage to some of his political opponents.

It is probably asking too much of Americans to insist that partisanship be set aside to view the story dispassionately; I maintain that this is the weirdest political event of my short lifetime, and that, as such, it deserves some attention, and more than most Americans seem inclined to give it.

The story reveals something else: we still know very little about the man we elected president. I don't say this because I think Obama is a secret socialist or a closet Muslim, but because it is true, and therefore of interest. The historical blank slate that is Obama's past--with the exception, of course, of the narrative he constructed for himself in his two books--is his most distinguishable characteristic since it allowed his supporters to project upon him their hopes and dreams. For those of us who view American politics as akin to sport at this stage of our republic, Obama's failure to disclose certain information about his past is the most fascinating aspect of his presidency. I find it disappointing,though explicable for the usual reasons of dull partisanship, that so many seem genuinely uninterested in this angle,

I think it likely that the birth certificate issue will play a role in deciding the next presidential election; I can see no reason why this story will die down until the President's birth certificate is released. Eventually, the truth will be unveiled by future biographers. I don't think it's asking too much to insist that the people be given the information before it becomes a mere curiosity upon the conclusion of the Obama presidency.


Ducky's here said...

Well it's like this, the statement of live birth satisfies State department requirements that he is a natural U.S. citizen.

There's no need to produce anything. Now since this issue is pulling out the freaks from all over it's best to let it run and alienate the center when they see the clown car carrying the Republican aspirants.

Think what you will of The Black Bush, he knows how to campaign and he'll take the likes of Mike Huckleberry for instance and slap him silly.

Enjoy the freak show the birthers and Randoids are going to rain on us as they hang themselves.

Darren said...

Happy Easter Raider, here's a riddle I thought you'd appreciate:

Where in the Bible can you find a prediction of a rapid shift in equilibrium price of a good with a largely inelastic demand?

For the answer click here. Note I didn't come up with this myself.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Pretty interesting link. How are you by the way?