Birthers, Birth Certificates, and Trickiness

President Obama’s birth certificate, or lack thereof, occupied the rightwing for 2 and 1/2 years. It’s occupying some of them even still.

My personal thoughts on the president’s birth certificate were of two strains.

First, asking to see the president’s actual birth certificate, the long form, was a perfectly reasonable request that could have been granted with minimal effort on the part of some aide within days of being made. The short form they provided on the internet was not, in fact, good enough.

Second, I was sick of hearing about it after, possibly, a week.

Let’s say the man was not, in fact, born in Hawaii, but simply to an American citizen in Kenya or where the hell ever. Still an American citizen at birth because his mother was a citizen and he was, therefore, subject to US jurisdiction. Arguing that ‘natural born’ must mean born within the borders of the geographic US, rather than to an American mother or father, seems a bit much to me. At the end of the relevant clause in the constitution it even stipulates how long a citizen must reside in the country to be eligible. President Obama fits both bills, birth certificate from Hawaii or not.

So, why did he hide the long form for so long? And I think it’s pretty obvious he was hiding it because it would have been so easy to obtain when the request was made.

I think he was watching the far right eat itself up over the issue and decided to just let them, to see how long they’d stay at it, distracted. They could have been up to other mischief for these last two and a half years. Instead they’ve been obsessing over the birth certificate, which he knew he could provide at any time to make them look stupid. Pretty canny, Mr. President.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the constitution is an amazing document with laws that should be followed as close to the letter as possible. I swore an oath to defend it. If Obama had been flouting the law, tricky dicking his way around it, breaking it, action needed to be taken. But unless you’re going to argue that his natural birth mother was not a citizen, the man is eligible and has been since the beginning.

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