The Born Identity

Ken AshfordObama OppositionLeave a Comment

I generally don't have much success embedding The Daily Show videos, but I'll give it a shot this time, because Stewarts roast of the "Birthers" (the tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists who espouse that Obama isn't a legitimate president because he wasn't born in the United States) is excellent.

I especially love the end where Stewart describes exactly what the conspiracy theory means — i.e., that back in 1961, a nobody man from Kenya and his nobody wife from Kansas somehow conspired with the government of Hawaii and the Hawaiian media to engage in a conspiracy on the chance that their black baby Obama would someday become president of the United States.

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Gawker has a nice FYI on the whole birther thing.  A segment:

What Do Birthers Believe?

It is hard to pin down and explain what the birthers actually believe, because it an ever-shifting series of assertions, arguments, and insinuations that change on a dime depending on the audience and facts presented, but we will give it a shot.

Basically, birthers believe that Barack Obama is not a legitimate president, because he was not born in the United States. But, faced with rather overwhelming evidence that he was born in the United States, some birthers are even now changing their stories and claiming that he's not eligible because he was born a dual citizen (of the US and either Kenya or… Britain), making him, again, not eligible.

But these are the more popularly accepted theories:

  • Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Obama's mother was living in Kenya with Obama's father, and after his birth, she took him back to Hawaii to register his birth, because… she knew one day he would run for president? Birthers claim Obama's paternal grandmother admitted to being present during Obama's birth, in Kenya.
  • Barack Obama is a citizen of Indonesia, where his sister was born.
  • Barack Obama's real middle name is "Muhammed."
  • Barack Obama's birth certificate is a forgery.
  • Barack Obama's birth certificate isn't a forgery, but they used to give those out to people who were born overseas (this was what they had to settle on once Hawaiian officials confirmed that his birth certificate was real).
  • Hawaii didn't give out birth certificates to kids born overseas at the time of Obama's birth, but his mother lied about where he was born (and sent out two newspaper announcements!) in order to procure one.

But the details don't make sense, and don't matter. Here's a representative paragraph from a birther website:

Depending on what his long copy vault birth certificate states, this may or may not deepen the problem. If it states either of the two hospitals and the hospital records prove that he was in fact born in one of the Hawaiian Hospitals, then the location of his birth will definitely prove he is entitled to be a US Citizen in accordance to the 14th Amendment. This of course does not necessarily give him the necessary status of a natural born citizen.

If Obama issues another birth certificate that states, also, that he was born in Hawaii, in a hospital, he still might not be a natural born citizen. They'll come up with a reason why, however, should this chimerical document ever surface. For fun, here is another sentence from the same site: "If his long form birth certificate states he was born at home, then this in itself does not prove that he was born, and in fact could lead to greater problems."

Why, yes… if Obama wasn't actually born, that would create greater problems…. because it means our President doesn't actually exist!

Bonus Video:  Chris Matthews takes on G. Gordon Liddy about this.  Liddy looks like he's about to die….

By the way, Liddy refers to a "sworn deposition" from Obama's step-grandmother insisting that he was born in Kenya.

Not true at all.  Salon's Alex Koppelman has the story:

What Liddy was referring to is actually an affidavit filed by a street preacher named Ron McRae, who conducted an interview with Sarah Obama, the second wife of President Obama's grandfather, through a translator. (Sarah Obama is not the president's biological grandmother, but he calls her "Granny Sarah.")

In that interview, Sarah Obama does in fact say at one point that she was there for her grandson's birth. But that was a mistake, a confusion in translation. As soon as a jubilant McRae began to press her for further details about her grandson being born in Kenya, the family realized the mistake and corrected him. And corrected him. And corrected him. (The audio is available for download here.)

And here's the relevant part if you don't want to listen to the audio:

MCRAE: Could I ask her about his actual birthplace? I would like to see his birthplace when I come to Kenya in December. Was she present when he was born in Kenya?

OGOMBE: Yes. She says, yes, she was, she was present when Obama was born.

MCRAE: When I come in December. I would like to come by the place, the hospital, where he was born. Could you tell me where he was born? Was he born in Mombasa?

OGOMBE: No, Obama was not born in Mombasa. He was born in America.

MCRAE: Whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.

OGOMBE: No, he was born in America, not in Mombasa.

MCRAE: Do you know where he was born? I thought he was born in Kenya. I was going to go by and see where he was born.

OGOMBE: Hawaii. Hawaii. Sir, she says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father was also learning, there. The state of Hawaii.

The audio doesn't of course matter to the birthers.  They're going to believe what they want to believe.  But it IS rather nutty, huh?