The Spectacle Blog

Shame on Rush

By on 7.22.09 | 6:28PM

Up until now, I have never posted about President Obama's birth certificate, because I don't want to give those who claim he is not a U.S. citizen the attention they so desperately seek. I don't even want to describe the matter as a "controversy," because to do so suggests that there is a serious dispute over Obama's place of birth. To any sane human being, there is no controversy. Obama has produced an authentic certificate of live birth from the state of Hawaii that clearly shows he was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii at 7:24 p.m. State officials have confirmed the document as legitimate and have stated that such facts would have to be verified by the state before they appear on the document. And if that isn't enough, the fact is corroborated by a contemporaneous newspaper birth announcement.

While I'd like to continue to ignore this story entirely, it's hard to do when a figure like Rush Limbaugh is giving it credence, declaring this week that, "Barack Obama has yet to have to prove that he's a citizen. All he has to do is show a birth certificate. He has yet to have to prove he's a citizen." If he addresses the issue at all, Limbaugh should be using his perch to explain why this story is complete nonsense. Doing so would help to keep these citizenship conspiracy theorists in the fringe, where they belong. Instead, he's just encouraging them. I've lost a ton of respect for Limbaugh this week.

Meanwhile, Florida Rep. Bill Posey has also added cover to the lunatic conspiracy mongers by offering a House bill aimed at having future presidential candidates produce birth certificates. It has 9 Republican co-sponsors so far, and all of them should be embarrassed: Marsha Blackburn, Dan Burton, John Campbell, John Carter, John Abney Culberson, Bob Goodlatte, Kenny Merchant, Rander Neugebauer, and Ted Poe.

Some who attempt to take neutral ground on this issue ask, why doesn't Obama just release his original birth certificate and put this matter to rest? There are two reasons. The first is that it would obviously not put the issue to rest, because the conspiracy theorists have demonstrated that they do not care about facts. At this point, anybody who questions whether Obama is a citizen will not be convinced otherwise because of a document released by the White House. But beyond that, there's absolutely no reason for Obama to cave into these people. Doing so would set a standard in the future so that people can start whatever insane rumors they want about an elected official, and then the burden is on the official to dispute them. It's no different than those calling for an investigation of whether 9/11 was an inside job.

This is the last thing that I intend to write on the issue, because I'd prefer to concentrate my energy on laying out why Obama's ideas and actual policy proposals will have disastrous consequences for the nation, just one American criticizing another.

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