The Obamian Candidate
Birtherism is the right-wing fever-dream that won’t die. For Democrats and independents, it’s long gone from being puzzling to hilarious – especially since the President released his “long-form” birth certificate in April 2011. The theory? Usually it comes down to Obama being a secret Muslim, Kenyan-born, Manchurian candidate, set up since birth in 1961 by a communist cabal intent on destroying the United States. Like the Romney campaign, this wing of birtherism still lives deep in the heart of the Cold War.
Less insane birthers claim merely that Obama can’t be a “natural-born” citizen because under the law as it stood in the 18th century, one could not be “natural-born” if one’s father was not a citizen at the time of birth. Of course, that’s not the law in the United States. The 14th Amendment confirmed that any person born on American soil is automatically and by birthright a natural-born citizen. So, that theory’s out the window.
The less inventive birthers insist that Obama’s certificate of live birth wasn’t proof of anything, despite the fact that writing on the document itself indicates that it is “prima facie evidence of the fact of birth in any court proceeding“. So, to shut the thing up once and for all, the White House released the long form birth certificate, pictured above.
Of course, these people immediately accused the White House and/or Hawaii of falsifying the birth certificate, analyzing the PDF version of it for “layers”, (as if the PDF wasn’t merely a scanned image in a particular format of a physical document). The “layers” theory was handily debunked here.
There are still dummies all over the internet claiming that Obama is a foreign-born usurper and that everything is phony. In the most tea-party prone state in the Union, Arizona, a whopping (sarcasm – ed.) 1,200 emails were sent to Secretary of State Ken Bennett, (who – totally coincidentally – is also the Arizona co-chairman of the Romney campaign), to demand that Hawaii confirm Obama’s eligibility before the President is allowed to be listed as a candidate on the November ballot there.
The emails between Arizona and Hawaii are utter comedy, but ultimately Hawaii did send a verification to Arizona, which you can see here. It seems pretty legitimate to me, even if it is a PDF and likely has LAYERS!
But for some reason, the Romney campaign has not yet answered claims that the likely Republican nominee is, in fact, a unicorn. You see, Arizona was chasing down Obama’s eligibility, and claiming to Hawaii that it had a duty to do so. It would therefore follow that they had a duty to chase down Romney’s eligibility. After all, Romney’s father may not have been born in Kenya, but he was born in Mexico. But Arizona hadn’t contacted Michigan, and had no plans to do so.
So, if a mere 1,200 angry, xenophobic, conspiratorial emails can get Arizona’s Ken Bennett to conduct a birther investigation, then certainly 15,000 emails will be more than persuasive for Mr. Bennett to conduct an investigation into the shocking, un-contradicted claims of Romney’s alleged unicornhood.
The Republican rush to appropriate and placate the tea party is going to start coming back to haunt it – the tea party, which is at its core little more than a reactionary movement that facially opposes “spending” but never really coalesced for some reason until 2009. I wonder what that reason might be?
After all, here’s a chart that shows a comparison of the growth in government spending between the Obama administration and other recent Presidents. (It starts with 2010, because the 2009 budget was passed in 2008 under President Bush).
If conservatism is about smaller government, shrinking the federal budget, and lower spending, it would perhaps seem as if our political labels may be, quite frankly, reversed. The deficit? It wasn’t caused by spending – it was caused by a dramatic reduction in revenue during the 2008 downturn.
But the longer we blama Obama for outrageous “spending” and for not being “natural-born”, the longer we’ll just keep going around and around, not really solving any big problems, but instead punting and making them worse for future generations.
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