“I think rational people have — have long ago, many when they first heard and saw the president, come to the conclusion of his citizenship” – Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary
With that, Robert Gibbs attempted the traditional liberal dismissal of rational argument. “Rational people agree with me, so if you disagree you’re irrational; and we have no need to even discuss such issues with irrational people.” Before telling you where I stand on the issue, let us first consider the charge of irrationality.
The “Birthers” as they are called, hold that President Obama was not born in America, and therefore does not meet the citizenship requirements to be president. There are two pieces to this: (i) his place of birth, and (ii) the citizenship requirements. We’ll get to (ii) momentarily, but the common view is that the requirements are birth in the United States (or perhaps one of its territories).
So, where was Obama born? He claims Hawaii. Birthers claim Kenya. Is their claim random or frivolous, clearly dismissed from the evidence at hand? Well, there are “accounts” of him being born in Kenya (including one reporter who claims that the maternal grandmother indicated she was in the Kenyan hospital room when Obama was born). Fine, people can gin up eye witnesses to prove anything (see Jesus’ trial).
The charge is easily refuted. All Obama must do is produce a birth certificate.”He has!” Well, sort of. He hasn’t released the original “long form” of the certificate, only a copy of the short form. In fact, during a 2008 trip to visit his dying grandmother, he ordered his birth records sealed.
Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie has recently come out with the intention of settling the issue once and for all – he will release the original long form. Or, he won’t. Turns out (1) he can’t find it (but it’s in the archives!) and (2) state privacy laws prohibit him from releasing it without Obama’s approval – and we know where Obama stands on the issue already having ordered the records sealed. (Interestingly, he also apparently had his University of Illinois records sealed – giving rise to the claim that he received financial aid as a foreign national.)
Now, you can agree or disagree with the Birthers – it makes no difference to me. But these views are hardly “irrational” as Gibbs argues. They follow a very clear, rational train of thought.
So where do I stand? I don’t care (much). First, whether the Birthers have a claim or not, Obama is the president of the United States. Further, if evidence came out that he is ineligible, it would result in such a social meltdown as to be catastrophic.
As for eligibility, I actually disagree with the commonly held view of the requirement. Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution states: “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
The issue is the meaning of “natural born” with most holding that it means “born here.” I personally hold that it means “born a citizen” – though a great many legal scholars disagree with me. The founders wanted to make sure that the president was someone who had always been part of the United States, always been a part of the team. They didn’t want an immigrant (possibly from England) to take control and disrupt the momentum of independence. Whether Obama was born in Kenya or Hawaii – his mother was a US citizen and therefore I hold that he is a US citizen, from birth. That’s good enough for me.
Still, it makes for interesting theater. The fact that all of these issues remain and Gibbs & the Left have resorted to “anybody who makes that argument is crazy” should be quite disconcerting for folks who care about the truth rather than partisan politics. (Before you say it, yes, the Birthers care about little more than partisan politics – who else would make such fuss?)
Will we ever see a resolution? I doubt it. The side that can resolve it immediately has refused to do so. The side that relies on accusations has probably produced as much evidence as they ever will. It is fun to watch though.