“Natural Born Citizen” and the Birthers

“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.

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3 Responses to “Natural Born Citizen” and the Birthers

  1. ghancock says:

    Obama did not order his files sealed. They are not sealed. They are private, as all Hawaii birth certificate files are private. The allegation of birth in Kenya is laughable, considering the ENORMOUS expense and high risk of such a trip late in pregnancy in 1961. And, IF a child were born in Kenya, he or she would have required a US government travel document–such as a US visa on a foreign passport or being added tlo his mother’s US passport while she was in Kenya, either of which would have had to have been applied for IN Kenya, and if either of such application documents existed, they would have been found by now.

    Obama has already shown the REAL birth certificate.

    The Certification of Live Birth is the OFFICIAL birth certificate of Hawaii. And, it is the only birth certificate that Obama can show because it is the ONLY birth certificate that Hawaii sends out, the only birth certificate that Hawaii sends to anyone since it became the official birth certificate in 2001.

    By anyone, that means ANYONE; even people born before 2001 get only the new short-form Certification of Live Birth, which is used by thousands of people every year. And, in Obama’s case, the facts on his birth certificate–that he was born in Hawii in 1961–were confirmed twice by the Republican officials and former Republican governor of Hawaii.

    Obama’s Kenyan grandmother NEVER said that he was born in Kenya. She said repeatedly in the taped interview that he was born in Hawaii, “where his father was studying at the time.” And, she said in another interview that the first that her family in Kenya had heard of Obama’s birth was in a letter from Hawaii.

  2. ghancock says:

    Regarding the allegation that Gov. Abercrombie said that he could not find the original birth certificate or that there is no original birth certificate in the files. Abercrombie DID NOT SAY IT. Birther sites have said that he said it.

    And, we know from the first of the two confirmations by the two Republican officials, who stated in a written document that they had found an ORIGINAL birth certificate in Obama’s files.

  3. ConstitutionalDefense says:

    Before you conclude that having ONE US citizen parent entitles Obama to the claim of “natural born citizen”, you should consult the period reference book LAW OF NATIONS. This resource defines “natural born citizen” as a child of TWO US parents.

    Why 2 US citizen parents? Because our founders understood the wisdom in not having leaders who might have divided loyalties. Obama’s father was a British subject of the country of Kenya. *We know at least one of our founders (George Washington) is likely to have read Law of Nations. A story came out in the media last year, describing the huge late penalties George would owe because he never returned the book to the library that he borrowed it from.

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