Birthers, Birthers Everywhere

Glenn Thrush notes that 58% of Republican respondents in a recent DailyKos poll...

"either think Barack Obama wasn't born in the US (28 percent) or aren't sure (30 percent)."

Glenn sounds incredulous at the numbers, seemingly bewildered at and afraid of the fierce, "Birther"* resistance to accepting Barack Obama as President.

While I think many of those pushing the Birther position most vehemently and most unthinkingly represent an unhealthy political outlier somewhere out in the Oort Cloud with the Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim folks, I don't think it's healthy to dismiss some concerns about Obama's birth outright.  It's interesting for me to see the media choose very decisively what is conspiracy theory as opposed to deep, fact-based skepticism.  And it's interesting to see new media outlets go on the offensive in Michael Moore fashion to produce gotcha video clips that lack any nuance in their treatment of the topic (Congressman Tom Petri is no raving Birther - he's reserved and intellectually skeptical at most, and I don't blame him for refusing to converse with the man in the linked video who tries to accost him).

We are a nation of laws and not of men, it is said, and ensuring that one of our Constitutional provisions is complied with seems a legitimate concern.  However, this concern has arguably been put to rest by way of a number of court cases quashing attempts to question Obama's legitimate birth in the United States of America.  Still, as far as I have been able to discern from my reading, Hawaiian state law bars revealing an individual's actual birth certificate document.  Thus, the document that supposedly should satisfy all the critics - and has satisfied the media - is a "Certificate of Live Birth" - a copy of the document made up by someone who has seen the original.

What's more, the judicial concept of standing, which determines who can bring suit in a court of law, basically precludes American citizens from bringing suit to ensure that provisions of the U.S. Constitution are being complied with, thereby blunting the meaningfulness of any of the suits advanced questioning Obama's birth certificate since it's nearly impossible to get to the merits.

I really don't see why Barack Obama's campaign didn't opt to waive the Hawaiian legal protection and produce the actual birth certificate document itself to mollify and end the Birther element.  Sure, there would still be some out there who would persist no matter what facts presented themselves.  But I think it would reduce the numbers and attendant deep distrust significantly.  Why don't candidates do this automatically, as they do with health records?

In the end, until I've personally seen the document Doubting Thomas style, I will likely continue to fall in the "aren't sure" category.  I don't continue to reside in that category because I want Barack Obama to fail or because I hate him or some other blind rage reason.  It's because, very soberly, as far as I can tell factually, we still do not actually know for sure.  

Even in light of all those thoughts, I recognize that the votes of the American people and the Electors represent a ratification of Obama's citizenship, in a sense.  It's not an issue to keep harping on, but, if we are talking seriously, I don't think we can be as dismissive of skeptics as the media and many observers have been.

*Note: I think the word "Birther" - political arguments aside - is a great word.  It's a pejorative stepchild of the "Truther" moniker and all the crazy loon tinfoil hat baggage that goes with it.  It also evokes an image of some sort of Plains State or Southern evangelical religious breakaway group tinged with the occult.  It also represents a loose echo of the hardcore anti-communist John Birchers as well.  As far as painting one's opposition as fringe, someone out there did a masterful job.