I need to stipulate right up front that I am not a part of the “Birther” movement in any way, shape or form. It only intrigues me from the standpoint of someone who enjoys investigating and digging for information that otherwise might remain questionable or never known. And although I don’t subscribe to the belief that President Obama wasn’t born here, I don’t view everyone who has an issue with his lack of release of his long-form birth certificate as “crazy” or as a “nutter” (although there are certainly some “birthers” who are “out there”). There are quite a few people I deeply respect who have their doubts about Obama’s citizenship. Even noted Obama worshippers like Chris Matthews have questioned more than once why Obama just won’t clear the air by authorizing the release of the long form. I suspect it has everything to do with the fact that most everyone views birthers as “crazy” and Obama, rather than putting the issue to bed, deliberately keeps the issue alive so as to insinuate all of his political opposition is “nuts.”
Having said that, I had to chuckle upon reading this story from Fox News about a journalist friend of Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie who has done a 180 on comments he recently made asserting that the Governor himself said he had not been able to find Obama’s long form birth certificate:
A celebrity journalist now claims he misspoke when he said last week that Hawaii’s governor told him he was unable to find President Barack Obama’s original birth certificate after a search of state and hospital archives.
Mike Evans told FoxNews.com on Wednesday he was remorseful and embarrassed that he appeared to have given the impression that he had discussed the search for Obama’s birth certificate with Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Evans, who says he has been a close friend of Abercrombie since the 1980s, appeared on Minnesota’s KQRS radio last week and said he’d been told by the governor himself that Obama’s birth certificate was nowhere to be found. Evans told KQRS on Jan. 20:
“Yesterday, talking to Neil’s office, Neil says that he searched everywhere using his powers as governor ….. there is no Barack Obama birth certificate in Hawaii. Absolutely no proof at all that he was born in Hawaii.”
But that’s no longer Evans’ story.
“Only this I can you tell you is 100 percent fact: that Neil never told me there was no birth certificate,” Evans told Fox News. “I never talked to him.”
Read the whole story to get a good laugh out of the verbal contortions the guy puts himself through to try and wiggle out of his initial statements. Regardless of what you think about “birtherism”, I think it’s pretty clear that he’s lying about never talking to Abercrombie about the birth certificate. Not even the world’s best gymnast could twist and contort in such a way as to make the “he searched everywhere using his powers as governor” part of Evans’ original comments go away. Not only that, but Abercrombie hasn’t exactly been doing any favors for himself over the last month with his alleged attempts at disproving birtherism claims.
An interesting side note: This issue may come to a head in 2012, thanks to … Arizona:
An Arizona lawmaker has reintroduced a proposal that would require presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates in order to remain on the ballot in the state.
The “birther bill,” which state Rep. Judy Burges failed to get through the Arizona legislature last year, has already attracted more than 30 co-sponsors in both chambers. The proposal comes out of a fringe movement that believes President Obama, whose father was from Kenya, did not meet the citizenship requirements to run in 2008.
Under Burges’ bill, presidential campaign committees would have to provide an affidavit stating a candidate’s citizenship and age. The bill would require along with that “an original long-form birth certificate that includes the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician and signatures of the witnesses in attendance.”
It would also require a “sworn statement attesting that the candidate has not held dual or multiple citizenship and that the candidate’s allegiance is solely to the United States of America.” Finally, it would require another sworn statement detailing the candidate’s “places of residence” in the United States 14 years prior to filing.
The bill would prohibit Arizona’s secretary of state from listing on the ballot any candidate who does not meet those requirements.
I’m not sure what the political composition of the Arizona state legislature is, so I’m not sure if the bill has a snowball’s chance in you-know-where.
Finally, I have to say that I get a bit irritated when any official – whether they be from Hawaii or wherever – takes offense at the idea that anyone here in America would want proof of citizenship for political office. Every political office has job eligibility requirements and American citizens – as employers of politicians – have the right to know whether or not a candidate is eligible. This question popped up for John McCain, also, in 2008 but he handled it the correct way by releasing both the short and long term birth certificate forms. Candidate Obama should have done the same. Sure, even if it was authorized for release you’d still have some in the “birther” crowd claiming it wasn’t authentic, but it would lessen the number of people questioning President Obama’s citizenship. That he continues to refuse to authorize the release of his long form birth certificate just shows how politically calculating he is.
Phineas butts in: Regarding the AZ legislature, the current composition in the wake of the 2010 elections is 21 R vs. 9 D in the state senate and 40 R vs. 20 D in the state house of representatives. Assuming party unity holds, the Republicans could push this through even in the face of a two-thirds requirement. But, here’s a question: the information recorded on state forms changes over time. What if someone has a birth certificate that was legit for their state at the time they were born, but doesn’t meet the new AZ requirements?
Update – 10:18 PM: My friend Simon’s got a good post up at Stubborn Facts about the Arizona eligibility proposal. Make sure to read the whole thing.