My friend Carey recently referenced Charles M. Blow's opinion piece from the NYTimes on Donald Trump's opportunistic embrace of the birther argument and asked why more Republicans are not standing up to the ugliness that is birtherism. At the time I offered that many Republicans do not want to lend credence to the idiocy of questioning President Obama's birth certificate. I am happy to say that none other than Karl Rove has called Donald Trump a "joke candidate" since he has made the birth certificate issue central to his candidacy.
Let me add my weak little voice to that of Darth Karl. First, my bona fides. I have been a member of the Grand Old Party since I was sixteen years old and made my first donation to the Republican National Committee. That same year I worked for Bob Dole in the 1988 Republican primary, meeting one of my heroes Jeanne Kirkpatrick. I have voted in just about every election, local, state, and federal since I was eighteen, having the pleasure of voting against the likes of Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Ed Markey multiple times. A natural conservative, I was a Reagan Republican from the very beginning, a small government libertarian with foreign interventionist leanings.
I am no supporter of President Obama. I disagree with him on just about every policy decision he has made or supported, but as to the birther issue, there is no issue. First and foremost, the State of Hawaii, through its appropriate officials, have attested to and produced a birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama. At FactCheck.org, researchers were able to examine the birth certificate, and provide excellent photographs of the raised seal, official signature, and certificate number. Secondly, researchers have found the original birth announcement from August 13, 1961 Honolulu Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin. Finally, snopes.com notes a witness who knew and discussed the birth of Barack Hussein Obama with the obstetrician who delivered him and later taught him in prep school. This is more than enough for me. I hate conspiracy theories, and this is one of the wackiest I have heard in a long time.
For those who wish to play Constitutional scholar, a quick lesson. Even if President Obama had been born in a foreign country (for which there is NO evidence at all, as all evidence is to the contrary), his mother was an American citizen, born in this country, and thus her progeny are American citizens by virtue of her citizenship. American Consular Offices around the world regularly record the births of Americans abroad.
President Obama's citizenship is a non-starter. Donald Trump is an opportunistic douche bag catering to crazies, cranks, and Glenn Beck's army of wing nuts, but I repeat myself. There are plenty of reasons to vote against President Obama in 2012--from both the right and left--but questioning his citizenship is just a distraction from important policy debates. The birther issue may win Trump early support, but it will ultimately cost the GOP the election, which explains why Karl Rove jumped into the fray.
UPDATE: Today (April 26, 2011) CNN is reporting that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has joined Darth Karl and I in declaring birtherism dead. "'Trump and the candidates can talk about it all they want, but my position is that the president was born in the United States,' Priebus told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor."
UPDATE: Not that it will make any difference, but today (April 27, 2011) the White House has released the long form birth certificate from Hawaii. I think any candidate who panders to the crazies with this should be roundly booed and then promptly ignored until they crawl back in the hole whence they came.
UPDATE: One final addition, Politico is reporting that former Massachusetts Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday stated unequivocally "I think the citizenship test has been passed. I believe the president was born in the United States."