The 'Birthers' have a point

So how are we supposed to know that a candidate for U.S. president meets all the qualifications laid out by the Constitution?

Do we leave it in the hands of the verbal free-for-all that passes as a
debate over whether President Barack Obama actually was born in
America? Or will Congress create an official path for presidential and
congressional candidates to prove their qualifications?

For all the sneering denunciations heaped on the "birthers" -- those
who feel compelled to prove that Obama wasn't born in the United States
and thus is not eligible to be president -- no one, it seems, has touched on a
critically important question: How do we know if someone, anyone is
qualified: Is the candidate at least 35 years old, a resident in the
U.S. for 14 years and a natural-born citizen?
Who officially confirms
that a member of the House of Representatives is at least 25 years old,
has been a citizen for seven years and lives in the state from which he
is elected? Or that a

obama birth certificate.jpg

Obama's "certificate of birth." Is it the same as his "birth certificate?" Who is supposed to sort this out?

Senate candidate is at least a 30-year-old,
nine-year citizen and lives in the state he represents?

None of the wiseacres who have been laying it on the birthers seems
interested in the question, choosing instead to use the debate as
another opportunity to jeer and taunt the "wing nuts," "Obama haters,"
"right-wing zealots" and various species of alleged goofballs who have
raised the question about the president.

For some reason, the attacks recently have intensified in frequency and
intensity as liberal and mainstream commentators are having fun dishing
it out. I've started to read FactCheck.org and other similar debunkers,
and the more I read, the more convinced I've become that this tearing
at the seams is not good for the commonweal.

What we have now is a system in which the last man standing wins the
fight. Some official in Hawaii attests to the legitimacy of the Obama
birth certificate or certificate of birth, and that's that. (Here's an
example of just how finely tuned this fight has become: There's a
difference between the two state documents, and on that variance rest
endless arguments.) Internet fact-checking sites have become the de
facto arbiters for serious constitutional questions.

Enforcement of the most basic law of the land -- the Constitution --
is, for all practicable purpose, left in the hands of a laissez-faire
fight between anyone who chooses to enter it. Why must the proof of
such an important federal issue be left with the word of some state
official? There are the courts, yes. But the courts have done their
best to avoid getting involved, including the U.S. Supreme Court, which
has twice refused to hear a case.

I don't blame them; no court now would want to or should be in the
position of overturning Obama's election. A slew of other cases reside
in other courts, but their chances of reaching evidentiary stage are
iffy. One reason is that cases have been thrown out for "lack of
standing." In other words, under the complexities of the law, a citizen
of the United States lacks the standing to bring a case challenging
whether his president has abided by the Constitution.

Amazing.

One federal judge, James Robertson, of the District of Columbia
district court, didn't just throw out a case making an unusual claim of
standing (as an "interpleader," and don't ask me to explain it), but
said it was so "frivolous" that he reprimanded the attorney, John
Hemenway, who brought the claim.

Conspiracy loons are found in all corners of the political map,
and some deserve the razzing they get. Others find great satisfaction
in using the conspiracy theories as a great foil, to discredit one side
or the other. Still others, in my business, use it for an easy story or
column. It's as though they're on automatic and can't think beyond
their prejudices.

This column also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, where you will find more comments. Click here.

Comments

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  • Good God! You accuse the courts of not doing their jobs and suggest the answer is that a commission or something like it be created to vet federal candidates?

    I think you're throwing out a column, as you accuse others of doing, as an easy way to fill your BLOG today. There are too many strange contortions in this posting to begin to refute them all. But let's start with the idea that no court would want to overturn an election result. Well duh! Courts are reluctant to overturn the will of the democracy. Why is that a bad thing?

    I expected better thinking from you. This is disappointing.

  • In reply to LouGrant:

    I was suggesting some way of validating qualifications PRIOR to the election. I'm also raising the question of standing: If citizens don't have standing to bring an issue involving the president and the Constitution, then who does? I admit that my knowledge of the law is no better than the average layman's, and that questions of standing involve complex and very technical issues, but it seems to me that these are some basic points that need to be addressed. I'm not prescribing any particular board or commission or process; just bringing the question up for debate. Thanks for contributing.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    Having "standing" means that they are personally impacted. It's pretty difficult for an average citizen to make the claim that they have been personally impacted -- in a tangible way -- by Obama's election. Did it cost someone their job (aside from McCain)? Was there financial loss? Demonstrable physical pain? Demonstrable suffering of any kind?

    It is unlikely that any individual can prove they were adversely affected IF it were to be true that Obama was not eligible. The hypothetical "he's commander in chief, making decisions that put me into Iraq" don't cut the mustard either, as they are so far removed from Obama's direct command. (Those would be orders coming way down the chain of command from him.)

    Standing is important, because otherwise someone in California could sue someone in Maine for things that didn't affect him. It helps to prevent frivilous lawsuits from clogging the courts, most of the time.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    How foolhardy you are, Mr. Byrne. Has any presidential candidate ever been questioned about their Constitutional authenticity prior, during or after a presidential election? Every candidate fills out forms before they can run for the US President. This is checked by government officials and the FBI.
    I think it is obvious why the Conservative Republican, Right-Wing losers are going nuts over this. We elected a black man as president. John McCain was born in Panama, but we would never have questioned his Constitution authenticity. Why? Because he is a wealthy white guy and a Republican, to boot!
    Really, Mr. Byrne, I can't for the life of me figure out why the Tribune gives you this space, on the Op-Ed page. You should be assigned to the obits or suburban boy's High School sports pages. You are too goofy to be taken seriously. Your McCarthy-era style and lack of comprehension of important issues make you a laughing stock. Retire. Go home. Stop wasting the newsprint.

  • In reply to LouGrant:

    We'll release the birth certificate for Barack Obama when you release the IQ Test for George W. Bush, the Narcissistic Rating for Dick Cheney and Karl Rove's autographed poster of "Brokeback Mountain."

    We've been asking for over 8 years. You've been asking for little over a month. Frustrating, huh?

  • In reply to GregMorelli:

    Nice red herring, Greg. None of those items, as funny as they may be, are required by the Constitution. And I haven't been asking for the birth certificate; the Birthers have. But whatever mechanism that might be set up for verifying a candidate's qualifications, they'd apply to every candidate, equally to Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Is there a problem with that?

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    First of all, Herring is a complicated fish. Second of all, if they do feel pain, it begs the question: should we stop eating fish? I say no: life is pain, and life is delicious.

    Old Jewish recipes for Gefilta Fish had Herring. Here's my favorite recipe.

    Ingredients: 5 pounds of fish, including Carp, Herring, White Fish and Pike all ground together, salt to taste, white pepper to taste, 2 onions small diced, 2 carrots shredded, sprinkle of sugar, 3 large eggs, 1/4 cup matzah meal.

    Preparation: place ground fish in a large metal bowl, fold in onions & carrots & salt & pepper & sugar, fold in eggs & matzah meal, form 3 inch oval loafs, place loafs in simmering chicken stock (about 25 minutes), pour loafs and stock into a deep hotel pan, refrigerate overnight.

    I love it. But to be honest, it's fish meatloaf which is inherently disgusting, like the birther movement. But in honor of the birther movement, instead of Red Herring, let's use Black Herring.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    For all you obama leghumpers I see out there, here is Sen. Schumer saying "when you are running for President all records should be public"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ6iLuyCAx0

    Where are O-bozo's collge records?

    What nationality passport did O-bozo use to travel to Pakistan?

    Where is the long form Birth Certificate that details the hospital he was born at and the attending doctor?

    PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

  • In reply to DynaChrome:

    Just say it, "I'm not comfortable with the Negro-In-Chief." We'll shut up when you stop pretending. As far as putting up...we've put up with you long enough.

    I say let's switch the order of the 1st and 2nd Amendment and declare open season on the unarmed. I'm liberal, to the left of lesbian. But be careful. Liberals are misunderestimated.

  • In reply to DynaChrome:

    Little Mary - since you have the case sitation on Bush vs. Gore maybe you should have ACTUALLY READ THE OPINION. The issue was whether Gore's "cherry picked" areas for recounts should receive preferential treatment to other areas of the state. And, by the way, studies conducted by news organizations after the election confirmed Bush would have still won the election, even if Gore's and the Florida Supreme Court's attempted end-run around the equal protection clause had worked.

    Summary of decision:
    Held: Because it is evident that any recount seeking to meet 3 U. S. C.

  • In reply to DynaChrome:

    Still missing the point Dynachrome, the public elected him, he didn't trick anyone into voting for him.

  • In reply to theroostarr:

    "...he didn't trick anyone into voting for him." Ummm... I think you will find a great many people who will disagree with you. Oh sure the far left were always in the tank for him, but the independents are finding that they were sold a bill of goods. The bottom line is that BO sold himself in the campaign as politically moderate when in fact he is governing as a far-left beholden-to-the-unions hack. No hope and certainly no change - simply more of the same-old tax and spend liberal...(IMHO! 8^)

  • In reply to DynaChrome:

    "Still others, in my business, use it for an easy story or column. It's as though they're on automatic and can't think beyond their prejudices."

    Easily the funniest line I have read this year.

  • In reply to DynaChrome:

    The real issues here is that the only time, at least in recent history, anyone has asked anyone to prove they were eligible to run for president just happens to coincide with the election of the first African-American. Coincidence? I think not, especially when you look at the people who are yelling, as well as the mindset (e.g., Barack the Magic Negro) of too many right-wingers. These nuts just can't stand the fact that they lost to a black man, and the idiots in Congress keep fanning the flames ("I think it's worth looking into..." answers given by members of Congress).

    To your point, though, we have the FEC and state election committees. Don't they certify candidates? I'm just asking. If they don't, then that would seem to be the place to do it.

  • In reply to DynaChrome:

    Dynachrome,
    I understand you are a Communist and have been in the Communist Party for a number of years. Can you prove you are not a Communist? Do you have official documents saying you are not a Communist? I believe you are a Communist and therefore, you can never run for President because I say so. Please prove to all of us that you are not a Communist.

  • In reply to GregMorelli:

    I think it's supposed to be the same people who should have been able to determine there were weapons of mass destruction before we went into Iraq. Oops.

    Let's face it, we've had a LOT of unqualified people as elected officials, even if they're the right age, or have been a citizen for the proper amount of years. Tell the "Birthers" if they are so unconvinced, to take a little trip to Hawaii and check it out for themselves. The rest of us have accepted Barack is our president, whether we like it or not.

  • In reply to SophiaMadana:

    Doesn't it make you wonder why BO doesn't just produce the long form birth certificate? Every other candidate has done this. If his long BC show that his is legit - fine. But for you you to suggest that we should just "accept it" sounds like the bad advice given to a woman being raped - "just lay back and enjoy it". No thanks.

  • In reply to jonno99:

    Women generally don't vote on whether or not they're raped. Big difference, wouldn't go there.

  • In reply to SophiaMadana:

    Obviously. However, the point remains - to simply state "this is the reality - accept it", is not reasonable.

  • In reply to jonno99:

    Since the birthers don't accept the validity or authenticity of the documents provided thus far, why would you think they'd accept the long form certificate? They'd just claim it was a forgery. (I've heard that already from a birther I know.)

  • In reply to TomFields:

    It's not that the validity or authenticity of the documents provided thus far are not accepted - alone. It's simply part of a much larger issue of secrecy. BO has released hardly any of his "historical" documents (e.g. grades, papers, transcripts, health records, etc). this begs the question - why? Maybe the birth certificate he has released is accurate, but the fact that he won't release the BC long form - or any of his other personal records only gives credence to the assertion that he has something to hide. You would think he would have learned that it is seldom the crime that brings down an administration - but rather the coverup. Why the secrecy??

  • In reply to jonno99:

    "Maybe the birth certificate ... is accurate". Not maybe - it is accurate. The State of Hawaii and its Republican governor have confirmed its accuracy.

    "The fact that he won't release the BC long form"? There is no "long form" to be released - as confirmed by the State of Hawaii. They have digitized their vital records. Here's a link to a June newspaper item about it, in case you missed it elsewhere in these comments:

    http://www.starbulletin.com/columnists/kokualine/20090606_kokua_line.html

    You keep saying things that simply aren't true. Repeating them will not make them any less false.

    One other questions, "Jonno". Did you ever complain about the fact that George W. Bush refused to release documents relating to his alleged National Guard "service"?

  • In reply to EdNickow:

    Regarding Bush and the NG controversy: apples & oranges. The left was simply trying to dig up any dirt they could on GW. The inference was that while GW was in the guard, at one point he may - or may not - have have taken an unauthorized leave of absence to participate in a campaign event. Ok, without knowing one way or the other, I'll concede he was awol - whoopee!! Big deal.

    You wrote: "There is no "long form" to be released - as confirmed by the State of Hawaii. "

    There seems to be some dispute about that as well:

  • In reply to jonno99:

    AWOL does not have a statute of limitations on it. (Oh, and we're not talking about one incident, but most of his so-called "service" in the guard.) If guilty, W should have been arrested and put in prison. It could even go hand-in-hand with a charge of treason (which is very broadly defined).

    So, it's apples-to-apples, since if AWOL were true, then W should also not have been eligible, because he should have been a prisoner. So, yes, it IS a big deal.

    W also didn't release his medical records related to being grounded as a pilot -- most believe it was due to drugs. Where is the outrage from his supporters?

    As to President Obama, the document provided clearly states that it is evidence of birth. Is there some OTHER evidence of birth that the long form would contain? Giving weight, hair color, length, doctor's name, whatever is not actually more evidence of birth. Again, I've already been told by a birther that they wouldn't accept any provided long form as being geniune. Perhaps birthers should get their stories coordinated.

  • In reply to TomFields:

    Here is a reasonable story on re: Bush Awol:
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2446/did-george-w-bush-go-awol-during-his-time-in-the-national-guard

    Treason? Jail time? Hardly, it appears however, that his superiors were more than a little lackadaisical when it came to supervising the young GW.

    Now re: the BO BC issue: that some "birthers" would not accept a long form as genuine - I could care less.

    The fact that this controversy lingers (builds?) along with the HUGE hole that is BO 's history (e.g. grades, school papers, transcripts, health records, etc), makes one wonder - WHY ALL THE SECRECY?? Why does the MSM show no interest - other that maligning the curious? Why do YOU have no interest?

  • In reply to jonno99:

    One final note: Bush DID volunteer to go to Viet Nam, but was turned down in favor of pilots with more flight hours:
    http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/content/2009/08/25/a-lost-fact-in-the-rathergate-mess-part-1/

  • In reply to TomFields:

    I really appreciate your commentary on the birth certificate issue. There isn't anything wrong with curiosity and investigation. There are issues that should be discussed concerning the relationship of the common citizen and how the Constitution is supposed to be enforced in a situation like this. But there is something very, very wrong with the villifcation and outright hatred flowing from the left. I found your article a most calm, clear and rational discussion. Thank you.

  • In reply to arbitor:

    "Hatred flowing from the left"?

    Do you listen to Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reily, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage or the darling of the right Sarah Palin? It isn't "the left" trying to sabotage town hall meetings by yelling lies and refusing to let other speak - or destroying the property of others as I just saw on the news.

    As far as Dennis Bryne's "calm, clear and rational discussion" is concerned, he is doing the bidding of the wingnuts who refuse to accept the reality that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is President of the United States. Behind Byrne's "calm" words is a foundation of lies, and those radicals who are trying to overturn the results of the election will simply use his column to show that their wacky theories have infected presumably responsible journalism.

  • In reply to jonno99:

    Um, to InMaryland: Obama's mother was born in this country, so she didn't have to comply with any residency requirements. And here is the passage from the Constitution: "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."

    And our current, legal, President meets those requirements. What's so hard to understand about all this anyway?

  • In reply to SophiaMadana:

    Re: Obama's mother conferring citizenship - no, her citizenship does not automatically confer citizenship - there are age and residency requirements - available documentation suggests Obama's alleged mother did not meet these requirements.

    Re: Why wasn't this an issue for McCain? It was - McCain submitted all his documents for examination and an opinion by a Congressional Committee, who found he was eligible.

    Re: Not one lawsuit against Obama was for the purpose of having him show his birth certificate. Of the six or seven I looked at, none even asked the court to order Obama to provide a copy of his birth certificate to the court.

    Guess you didn't look very far:

    COMPLAINT FOR
    DECLARATORY JUDGMENT;
    EXHIBIT 1: SUMMONS

    ANDY MARTIN,

    Plaintiff,

    vs.

    LINDA LINGLE, in her
    Official capacity as Governor
    Of the State of Hawai'i,
    DR. CHIYOME FUKINO, in her
    official capacity as Director
    of the Department of Health,

    Defendants.
    _

    COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT

    Plaintiff ANDY MARTIN ('Plaintiff'), pro se, alleges in his Complaint for Declaratory Judgment against the Defendants as follows:

    PARTIES, JURISDICTION AND VENUE

    Plaintiff ANDY MARTIN is the author of a book on Senator Barack Obama ('Senator Obama'). He has also been writing columns and commentary about the senator for over four (4) years.
    Defendants LINDA LINGLE and DR. CHIYOME FUKINO are Governor and Director of the Department of Health, respectively.
    This Complaint for Declaratory Relief and these proceedings are instituted pursuant to

  • In reply to InMaryland:

    I clearly said in the cases against Obama. The Andy Martin case is a case against Hawaii. Obama is playing no role in it. Obama is not being sued.

    My point is that it is Hawaii that refuses to send out the original birth certificate, not Obama.

  • In reply to InMaryland:

    Dennis Byrne, I am ashamed of you for this. The election will not be undone (and subsequent elections will not need such hinderances). Birthers. Tea-baggers and now these idiots (yes, the mentality of a two year old) shouting in town hall meetings need to be encouraged to embrace reality, not right winged pipe dreams.

  • In reply to jonno99:

    Re: "I am a tad suspicious because he has spent $1.4 million in legal fees to avoid having to prove it when, if he was actually born in Hawaii, all he has to do is give permission for his original long-form birth certificate to be issued. Hell, if he does that, I'll even kick in the $10 or $15 it costs!"

    Obama has not spent a dime on avoiding proving anything. Not one lawsuit against Obama was for the purpose of having him show his birth certificate. Of the six or seven I looked at, none even asked the court to order Obama to provide a copy of his birth certificate to the court. All the lawsuits against Obama claimed that even if Obama proved that he was born in Hawaii, he still would not be eligible because his father was not a citizen.

    All of the lawsuits against Obama were to stop the election, to stop the certification of the election or to nullify the election. None was simply for documents. Most did not ask Obama to provide his birth certificate to a court.

    So, nothing spent on keeping documents secret.

    Re: "All he has to do is give permission for his original long-form birth certificate to be issued."

    Sadly, no. He cannot give permission for Hawaii to issue the original. All that he can give permission for Hawaii to do is to issue the document that Hawaii issues, which is only the Certification of Live Birth. Hawaii no longer issues copies of the original birth certificate to anyone. http://www.starbulletin.com/columnists/kokualine/20090606_kokua_line.html

    So, Obama sent in the $10 for a copy of his birth certificate, and Hawaii sent him the Certification, which is what it sends to everyone.

    Interestingly, there is a move in the legislature in Hawaii to pass a new law that would authorize the release of original birth certificates. I am in favor of this because it will show, as it must show, that Obama was born in Hawaii, as the two officials said, and as this witness confirms: http://www.buffalonews.com/494/story/554495.html

    The fact that legislators in Hawaii want to change the law to make the original available was discussed on a birther site, and what do you know, the birthers claimed that the only reason that the legislation was introduced was that Obama had prepared a "perfect forgery," which he has slipped into his file.

    This is exactly what the Wall Street Journal predicted would happen. It said on July 31: "The release of the obsolete birth certificate would not

  • In reply to SophiaMadana:

    Nice try Dave, but birthers are not "... those who feel compelled to prove that Obama wasn't born in the United States and thus is not eligible to be president". We are the ones who feel compelled to force Obama to prove he is eligible to be President in accord with the Constitution. I have no idea where Obama was born - but I am a tad suspicious because he has spent $1.4 million in legal fees to avoid having to prove it when, if he was actually born in Hawaii, all he has to do is give permission for his original long-form birth certificate to be issued. Hell, if he does that, I'll even kick in the $10 or $15 it costs!

    Try going to get a U.S. passport and telling the clerk - "I don't have to prove I'm a citizen - you have to prove I'm not!" and see how far you get.

  • In reply to InMaryland:

    Nice try InMaryland, but you can get a passport using the document Obama supplied. It's official.

    {gong!} You're wrong, but thanks for playing.

  • In reply to InMaryland:

    InMaryland proves that you do not need facts to write on a blog, just personal opinion and innuendo. InMaryland is the new American Idol generation, i.e. reality-free, feckless, non-informed blabber to fill the blank page void of her brain.

  • In reply to InMaryland:

    Dennis Bryne is of the same ilk as those who continuously harassed Bill Clinton during his presidency. The Whitewater crap wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and discovered nothing after five years of special prosecutor Ken Starr's investigation and innuendo-based persecution. Then, there was the contention that Hillary murdered Vince Foster. He committed suicide, but the Right-Wing nuts kept up this fake story of Hillary murdering him over Whitewater secrets. Then there were the numerous Bimbo eruptions that hounded Clinton with scandalous reports of infidelity while he was Governor of Arkansas. All this was used to distract and discredit a Democratic president by unhappy, loser Republicans and their scorched-earth policies. The Republicans methods are shameful and they should be embarrassed for their senselessly punitive actions.

  • In reply to SophiaMadana:

    I'm gonna guess that if the President, Senator, or Congressman's election's opposition didn't dig up any dirt, there's just no dirt to dig. Politics is afterall a bloodsport, and the other Sharks would have had a feeding frenzy.

  • In reply to SophiaMadana:

    Do we know that John McCain wasn't born in the U.S.? He was born in the Canal Zone. Yet, he is still a natural born citizen because one or both of his parents were natural born citizens. Likewise, Barack Obama is a natural born US citizen since his mother was a natural born citizen. Doesn't matter WHERE you were born if a parent is a US citizen. End of discussion.

  • In reply to SophiaMadana:

    My question is what exactly does "natural-born citizen" mean? Even if Obama was born in Kenya, his mother was an American citizen, which should automatically qualify him as an American citizen. So what's the problem? The phrase "natural-born" does not say "born in the USA".

  • In reply to Sheilakit:

    A good point. Technically, the first President to qualify appears to be Martin Van Buren, since the prior ones were born in the Colonies. Source: About the White House: Presidents.

  • In reply to SophiaMadana:

    The answer to the question in the caption under the "Certificate of Live Birth" is "Yes, it is the same." It is the only proof of birth available in the State of Hawaii. Hawaii converted their birth records to electronic format and destroyed the paper originals. Every inquiry has been answered the same way, this document is "the" birth certificate. There is no so-called "long form" birth certificate to be had.

    Here is a link to an article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin from June of this year confirming this:

    http://www.starbulletin.com/columnists/kokualine/20090606_kokua_line.html

    I suspect the Birthers will tell us that this article, just like the Obama birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser in August 1961, is part of the grand conspiracy - hatched at the time of Obama's birth - to elect a non-American as President. Jon Stewart explains:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-july-22-2009/the-born-identity

    As Greg Moreli observed, this is all about racism. There is an element in this country that still can't accept a black man as their President. This nonsense has been responded to and debunked repeatedly. If people like Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, and now Dennis Byrne would simply do their homework and report the truth the birthers would be exposed for the anti-Obama radicals they are and we could get on with the important business of reforming health care, reviving the economy, etc., etc., etc.

    "Maybe they have a point" columns like this one simply feed the conspiracy wingnuts. The comments posted here by jonno99, Dynachrome and InMaryland are evidence of this. No amount of evidence will satisfy these people, but so-called responsible journalists should not put themselves in the position of emboldening them.

  • In reply to EdNickow:

    Greg and Ed,

    Can you leave the race thing alone just once? First, you can't look into my head and read my motives. Second, it's not about race. And third, I'm only suggesting that we have a way of certifying a candidate's (of whatever party, or race, or gender, or faith, or sexual orientation, or whatever else) qualifications as laid out by the Constitution. I'm not judging for my readers what they should believe about Obama's birth. All I'm trying to say is that it raises an interesting point, which maybe guys would like to address. Is that so hard for you to understand? Sheesh, you guys have a one-track mind.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    No, No, No! I do NOT want the federal government deciding a STATE issue - marriage certificates, death certificates, drivers license and yes, birth certificates are state issues. I do not want to carry a federal id card proving I am an American and I do not want a federal standard to apply. This is a state issue and the state of Hawaii has said that Obama was born there. End of discussion.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    Dennis,

    I'm not accusing you of being a racist. My comments in that regard were aimed at the Birther movement generally. If any of the 42 white men who were President before Obama had been asked to prove - repeatedly, with the inquisitors ignoring all previously provided proof - that they were born in the United States then it might be easier to let the race thing rest as regards the motives behind the Birther movement.

    Now, back to your comments ...

    While I appreciate the desire to certify eligibility of candidates, I'm not sure why this is an issue right now. A question was raised, proof was provided. Despite the implication of the question I assume you placed below the picture in your post, what is shown is "the" birth certificate as issued by the State of Hawaii. I posted a link to a June news report confirming that everything was digitized years ago and there is no "long form" birth certificate to be had.

    People "speculate" that this isn't legitimate, but provide no proof. Contrast that with the quickly proven forgery that was the Kenyan "birth certificate."

    My problem is that your post, especially with the headline "The Birthers Have A Point", simply emboldens the lunatics who refuse to accept the mountains of evidence proving that they are wrong. They do not have a point, except to try to legitimatize the presidency of Barack Obama.

    You might have a point - the Birthers do not. Perhaps after Lou Dobbs is fired from CNN, Orly Taitz is told that there's no place for her on news programs and Glenn Beck is locked in a padded room for his own protection there can be an intelligent discussion about how to certify eligibility for public office.

    But until the news media stop giving airtime to these people, you should take care not to provide even a scintilla of legitimacy to their wacky conspiracy theories.

  • In reply to EdNickow:

    "...there is no "long form" birth certificate to be had. "

    Wrong. I wonder why didn't Ed reply to this:
    http://www.chandlerswatch.com/2009/07/28/cnn-wrong-once-again-%E2%80%93-birth-record-not-destroyed/

  • In reply to jonno99:

    Sorry about the sentence structure. English really is my first language!
    8^)

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    Let's make a deal: I'll let it go if you stop pretending, fear mongering and playing the drug addict game of "take the focus off the focus." You're an addict, Dennis.

    Hooked on lies, power and ugly collard shirts. I'd say you need help. But then I'd be offering to get involved. Truth is, I'm not interested in helping you.

    Unfortunately, the joke will be extremely unfunny when someone on your side starts shooting. Someone on your side always starts shooting when they don't get their precious little way: MLK, JFK, Lincoln, Doctor George Tiller.

    Conservatives treat "the other" like the Trench Coat Mafia treated their classmates.

    The critical mistake you're making this time is you're underestimating the violence that will come bouncing back at you. Stop with the cloaked racism, or else.

    Don't care if I'm proved right. Don't care if you remember where you heard it first. Don't care if you don't take my warning seriously. After 8 years, I'm done caring.

    More than President of the United States, Barack is the husband of Michelle, the father of Sasha & Malia. If anything happens to him because phonies like you decided to extend this nonsense, and pretend guys like me were simply one-track minded, you're delusional.

    I call my blog "Food Fight." But it won't be tomatoes I'll be shooting, pal.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:
  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    And here's what the parental citizenship requirements are to confer citizenship of children, which his mother met. She lived in Hawaii when she married Obama Sr., gave birth there and filed for divorce there in 1964.
    "If the child was born between 24 December 1952 and 14 November 1986 the rules are slightly different. In such a case if only one parent is a US citizen, that parent must show 10 years

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    What point do the birthers have?? In fact, there is more factual information regarding Obabma's qaulifications to be President of the US than there is factual, historical evidence that someone named Jesus ever lived.

    Your column is one that displays absolutely and positively how ignorant you are. Ignorant meaning ignoring the facts.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    To have any validity to your claim "it's not about race", you'd have to have challenged at least one white president to provide documentation of their birth, and then not accepted the document they provided, suggesting they needed further proof.

    Sorry, but even if it isn't about race (and I'm not claiming that for you it is), the Constitutional question has already been answered. By being born in Hawai'i, Obama is a natural-born citizen. The applicable laws make that clear -- unless they're utterly ignored by birthers or those stoking those flames for blog hits.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    The article above is limited to whether or not it is reasonable to investigate Obama's birthplace. It is not about politics in general, so let's stay focused.

    You have nothing to worry about if Obama was born according to the requirements of the Constitution. It won't matter whatever those you consider leftist "wingnuts" might argue or think or yell. On the other hand, if facts show he was not born in accord with the Constitution, then he cannot be a US president. You may not like that, but that's the way it is, one way or the other.

    Obama is spending money to block those researching his birthplace, totally contradicting his promised "transparency". He has concealed almost all personal and professional history. His supporters are shouting down whoever dares to ask about anything. This is certainly is strange to me.

    There is indeed hatred from the left. Worse, a lot of it is racist hatred. Here are quotes from articles attacking folks wanting to see Obama's fundamental birth documents: "Racists in denial", "crackpot ideas", "vile falsehoods", "birthers are simply racist", "racial hatred", "cesspool of right-wing websites", "birther nonsense", "racist tide", "nutty claims", "paranoia", "a certain kind of old bigot", "a lifetime agitating white fear", "kooks", "phoniness behind the hysteria", "birther propaganda".

    Reagan said "Trust but verify".

  • In reply to arbitor:

    Terry, you are wrong. Obama has spent nothing "to block those researching his birthplace." That is simply untrue. A lie.

    "He has concealed almost all personal and professional history." That is simply untrue. A lie.

    There is absolutely no rational reason to continue to ask the rhetorical question "if facts show he was not born in accord with the Constitution..." since facts show he has already shown proof that he IS in accord with the Constitution. Those who continue to ask it, or ponder it, or claim forgery/conspiracy/whatever, ARE kooks. It also appears to be a fact that the overwhelming number of such kooks ARE white, begging the obvious racist description.

    If we were to see Blacks, Latinos, Asians, or any other ethnic group in huge numbers out crying against Obama's legitimacy, then perhaps it might be construed as a non-racial event. But that's just not what's happening.

    Let's recap for a moment:
    Obama is close to getting the nomination.
    Critics call for him to "prove" he's a 'natural born citizen.'
    Obama provides the information from the State of Hawai'i.
    Critics claim it isn't a 'real' birth certificate, and proves nothing.
    Obama supplies the birth notices printed in the Hawai'i papers.
    Critics claim they prove nothing, because they could be sent in by anybody. They claim no contemporaneous witnesses exist.
    Ms. Nelson has article about her printed on Inauguration Day, claiming to be a witness, teacher, etc.
    Critics ignore this and still claim no contemporaneous witnesses exist, and his certification of live birth is a fraud. Kooks supply several forged documents allegedly proving Obama was born elsewhere.

    At this point, it is clear that nothing will satisfy the kooks. They claim everyone is in on the conspiracy, every piece of evidence is forged. It simply isn't rational, so the wise person just ends up ignoring the loud fools, as Obama has done.

    As a simple question, who verified Reagan as being a natural born citizen? Have YOU seen his long form birth certificate and had forensic experts verify the authenticity? No? Why no outrage? Hmmmm . . .Could it be because he was White?

  • In reply to TomFields:

    "He has concealed almost all personal and professional history." That is simply untrue. A lie.

    Saying it is a lie doesn't make it a lie. Why are the documents unavailable?

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    The Birthers do have a point and that point is the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

  • In reply to EdNickow:

    I noticed way after the fact the casula use of my moniker so I MUST add a reply for the record 8^):

    That Ed would throw out "racism" is laughable. This is not about race. In fact, I would assert that the continuous cry of "racism!" by many on the left in simply "Freudian Slippery". To wit When GWB announces C. Rice to here post did the left applaud the historic event? No. Ditto to the Gonzales nomination.

    No Ed, it's not about race it's about qualification. And I'll state and ask what I've posted previously:

    "The fact that this [BC] controversy lingers (builds?) along with the HUGE hole that is BO 's history (e.g. grades, school papers, transcripts, health records, etc), makes one wonder - WHY ALL THE SECRECY?? Why does the MSM show no interest - other that maligning the curious? Why do YOU have no interest?".

  • In reply to GregMorelli:

    There is a lot of chaos in this area of election law. Five times, the Socialist Workers Party has nominated either a presidential candidate who was under age 35, or a vice-presidential candidate under age 35, or both. About half the states in which the party petitions, print the names of these underage candidates on the ballot, and the other half don't. In the half that won't, the party must designate "stand-in" candidates who are age 35.

    On the other hand, the real solution is simply to amend the Constitution and get rid of the natural-born law. Why not trust the voters to choose a naturalized citizen, like Michigan's Governor or California's Governor?

  • In reply to GregMorelli:

    While I'm not in favor of having the Supreme Court decide whether President Obama is constitutionally able to be President, it's not like they haven't weighed in on presidential elections before (see Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000)). A LOT of people would still argue that Gore won the election and Bush only got it because his dad's buddies on the Supreme Court gave it to him.

  • In reply to GregMorelli:

    The irony is that no president in more than 200 years was ever asked to prove his Natural Born Citizen status, and then in the latest election both major party candidates posted the legal birth certificates of the places where they were born, and this mess started.

    Since no president has ever been asked to prove his Natural Born status before (and some could not have since the records were lost, Lincoln being one of them), what is the mechanism that is in place to protect us against someone who is not natural born?

    Obviously, it is in the interests of opposing candidates to find out, as best they can, the Natural Born status of their opponent, and if the opponent is not Natural Born, to publicize the fact.

    This is what the McCain campaign actually did. It looked into the allegations what that Obama was born outside of Hawaii or that two US parents are required to make a Natural Born citizen, and it rejected both as not being true.

    This, however, begs the question if it is the opposing candidates who are supposed to be the prosecutors or devils' advocates in the Natural Born issue, who is the jury? Well, it is the voters of course.

    Which leads to an even more astonishing question. Suppose that a candidate who was less than 35 years old ran for president and won. Suppose that she had not hidden that she was less than 35, and despite that fact, we voted for her. Would the Supreme Court take away the election?

    Maybe, but maybe not. It might rule that the court that decided that someone was qualified was the electorate, and that even if the person was not 35, we voters considered that she was, which means that for legal purposes she is 35 regardless of the birth dates.

    The issue of setting up some board or department to determine the eligibility of candidates opens up the chance that the members of the board have their own political leanings. And it raises the question what standard of Natural Born should be applied. Is it merely birth in the USA or birth to two citizens even if not in the USA. Or does it, as the most rabid of birthers say, require both two US citizen parents and birth in the USA.

    Since we could not set up a body to check the Natural Born status of a presidential candidate without first settling the parentage question, and since that is not likely to be settled without a ruling from the Supreme Court, we cannot set up a board that checks the complete Natural Born status.

    We can, however, set some kind of way of determining whether a candidate was born in the USA, which I suggest would be merely showing the official birth certificate. There are some minor problems that would have to be tackled, such as the hundreds of thousands of birth certificates that were lost in New Orleans, and the problem of finding birth details on foundlings and adoptees, but if these points are dealt with, then I see no problem in vetting the birth location of candidates in future federal elections.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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