Home > politics > Now Really, Was That So Hard?

Now Really, Was That So Hard?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 12:12 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

President Obama’s much-anticipated long form birth certificate has finally been released. It shows that he was indeed born in Hawaii as he said.

Top of BHO's long form birth certificate

I can understand why questions arose about his birth. He is our first President in quite some time whose parents were not both American-born. He lived many years of his childhood in another country. But the single biggest reason the question of his birth developed legs was Obama’s own resolute refusal to release his original birth certificate.

He has finally budged and provided proof that the conspiracy theorists were wrong. Why didn’t he do that three years ago, when Hillary Clinton supporter Phil Berg first raised the issue, or over the intervening years when some conservatives jumped on the bandwagon? Only Obama knows the answer to that. Until today, my guess was that his parents weren’t married at the time of the birth and he didn’t want anyone to know, though why he thought that would be an issue in this day and age is a mystery to me (says the single mother who has never been married).

But even if he hadn’t been born in the United States, I never believed it would be an impediment to being President. The Constitution specifies only that the President must be a “natural born Citizen,” which he would be even if he had been born in a foreign country as long as at least one of his parents had been an American citizen at the time. There are probably hundreds of thousands of children born outside the country to American parents, and they don’t have to be naturalized. Of course, the first time we have a Presidential candidate whose birth falls under those circumstances, we’ll probably have a court case over it, since that method of attaining citizenship has never been explicitly acknowledged by Constitutional amendment or by statute. But I believe it eventually will be established by judicial interpretation.

Until then, I suggest we all stop talking about it. Obama is not unfit to serve because of his birth. He is unfit to serve because he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

(Note: Suddenly, WordPress won’t won’t let me enable comments or trackbacks. Hmmmmmmm…..) (UPDATE: Fixed!)

Categories: politics
  1. Preston Wheatley
    Sunday, May 1, 2011, 22:19 EDT at 22:19

    If I may, I would like to answer your question. I think many people are under the impression that Mr. Obama was in possession of his long-form birth certificate this whole time and refused to release it. Many Americans who believe that Obama was born in Hawaii have been upset by what seemed an obstinate refusal to release the document. The facts, however, run somewhat differently, and in light of those facts Mr. Obama’s “refusal” to release it is not only reasonable, it was appropriate.

    First we have to understand that individuals are not the keepers of their vital records. Neither is the federal government. Most of us have a state-issued copy of our birth certificate, but none of us have the actual document. Vital records are solely the prerogative state government. This means the states themselves maintain the only original document and the states themselves decide what official copies will look like and what information is included in those copies. Coincidentally states rights, local government, and minimal Federal regulation is integral to Conservative ideology.

    Next and most important: when asked for a legally recognized, official copy of Barack Obama’s vital birth record, the state of Hawaii – not Obama – provided that record. That this was not a copy of the long-form record is immaterial. The record provided was 100% official. It was every bit as official as any other Hawaiian state issued document. Once that record was released the certainty of Obama’s natural-born citizenship was completely established.

    Next we must also consider that Hawaiian state law (statute HRS §338-18) does not permit a copy of a long-form vital records from being obtained. Some states offer copies of long-form records, and other states do not. This is because the Federal government does not regulate the states’ record keeping practices. Barack Obama did not write this Hawaiian policy. We are talking about a local government’s laws – laws that the Federal Government and the President cannot circumvent simply because conspiracy theorists and political opponents dislike something. To produce the copy of the long-form birth certificate Mr. Obama had to request that the state of Hawaii make an exception for him.

    So, to answer your question: yes. It was that hard. It was also inappropriate and insulting to the State of Hawaii. Not only was the Birthers’ question answered in 2008 with official state records, these so-called Conservatives have effectively demanded that the Federal government by-pass Hawaiian state law to re-establish a proven fact. Frankly, I find it ironic that a fringe of the Conservative movement has gotten the Federal government to ask for an exception to state law. It’s even more ironic because Hawaii stopped issuing copies of long-form birth certificates to skim back on bureaucracy and save money. Serious Conservatives should be more irked by that.

  2. Monday, May 2, 2011, 11:47 EDT at 11:47

    No, it wasn’t that hard. It was only hard because Mr. Obama chose to make it hard. You correctly note that the individual is not the keeper of his or her vital records, but your implication that that means the individual does not have the right to access those records is incorrect. Hawaii state law does not prohibit release of the long form birth certificate; it merely restricts who can obtain it, and first on the list of parties that can do so is the person whose record it is. (See the applicable law at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol06_Ch0321-0344/HRS0338/HRS_0338-0018.htm.)

    By the way, what the “birthers” wanted to see is nothing more than what is required for anyone born in the United States to obtain a passport. The Department of State does permit alternative forms of proof of citizenship if for some reason the applicant cannot produce (as opposed to will not produce) a certified “long form” birth certificate, but they really make you jump through hoops. Why? Not because a “certificate of live birth” isn’t a legally recognized official document, but rather because it’s easier to forge than a long form certificate.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s