But the issue is out there and it is having a political impact no matter how much the Democrats and the media choose to ignore it.
For example, a just uncovered 2004 AP story from the Standard of Kenya reported:
"Kenyan-born US Senate hopeful, Barrack Obama, appeared set to take over the Illinois Senate seat after his main rival, Jack Ryan, dropped out of the race on Friday night amid a furor over lurid sex club allegations."
And this item from Political Wire:
"Breitbart News reports on a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama's then-literary agency which describes the author as "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." [Literary agent] Miriam Goderich issued the following statement to Political Wire: 'You're undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me -- an agency assistant at the time. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.' "
Interesting coincidence, nonetheless, when combined with the story from the Standard.
My take is that Barack Obama - whose past has been clearly manipulated in the cause of public relations - may have some loose ends that his handlers thought could be cleverly concealed. In fact, some - including myself - think being born of an American, e.g. his mother, anywhere on this fair earth, entitles him to being considered a "natural born" citizen as required by the Constitution. But I also know - especially after the right wing media has its day - a majority of Americans may not think so and thus, regardless of the merits, it is an important political issue and one that the pros had better start dealing with.
Back story. . .
Sam Smith, April 2011 - Dismissing the skeptics of Obama's birthplace with haughty ridicule doesn't help much. In fact, the percentage of doubters seems to be increasing.
This is another example where the media and politicians refuse to deal with real anomalies in a story and, as result, actually encourage greater unsupported speculation.
Here's how the story stands as of now:
There is no substantive evidence that Obama was born anywhere but in Honolulu. Evidence that he was born in Hawaii includes a short form birth certificate and two newspaper announcements at the time. Both the Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin published announcements of the birth of a son to Mr and Mrs Barack Obama on August 4, 1961.
The state of Hawaii, even at the request of the new Democratic governor, refuses to release the so-called long form birth certificate, saying that it can only be done at the personal request of the person on the certificate.
Obama, for reasons unknown, has not made such a request. Why does a Harvard lawyer let such a claim continue to fester in public without taking the simple steps necessary to quash it? Possible explanations include:
- An initial attitude of screw-them, which has now transformed into a major political issue from which Obama still doesn't want to back down, perhaps more for reasons of ego than of common sense.
- The lack of Obama's long certificate for reasons unknown. CNN has suggested that the original certificate no longer exists since all such records were discarded in 2001 but the state denies it. Hawaii is, in effect, denying the absence of something it can't or won't produce.
- Some information on the certificate that Obama did not want released, not necessarily having to do with birthplace.
Certainly the way Obama handled the matter during the campaign was strange. FactCheck.org alone was invited to view a hard copy of the original document and later reported:
"FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as "supporting documents" to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said."
But why not just tell Hawaii to let a pool of reporters and lawyers view the actual document? After all, in this case FactCheck was hardly the objective observer it pretends to be since it is funded by the Annenberg Foundation, whose Chicago Challenge had as a board member none of other than Barack Obama. One Annenberg fundee clearing another one is not the best way to prove your point.
Further, Governor Abercrombie's effort to resolve the matter has come to naught. According to Abercrombie, he was told by the state attorney general that he can't see the original certificate without the consent of the individual involved.
But this is not new information. This has been the state's legal position all along and Abercrombie presumably knew it from the start. Yet a day earlier, the British Daily Mail had reported:
"Abercrombie said on Tuesday that an investigation had unearthed papers proving Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. He told Honolulu's Star-Advertiser: 'It actually exists in the archives, written down,' he said.
"But it became apparent that what had been discovered was an unspecified listing or notation of Obama's birth that someone had made in the state archives and not a birth certificate.
"And in the same interview Abercrombie suggested that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of Health. . .
"He acknowledged the birth certificate issue would have 'political implications' for the next presidential election 'that we simply cannot have.'"
The other issue is whether - due to his father's British (not Kenyan) citizenship, Obama is a "natural born American" as described in the Constitution.
Several judges have already rejected cases involving the matter - undoubtedly in part on the unspoken grounds that determining that Obama was not entitled to be president would tear the country apart as never before, especially when the argument is based on something as shaky as his whereabouts during a stage of life when he couldn’t even pee in a toilet, let along speak the mother tongue.
Second, there is quite an interesting history of public figures being similarly challenged and an equally interesting history of nothing much happening as a result including Chester Arthur, Charles Evans Hughes, George Romney, Christian Herter, Barry Goldwater, Lowell Weicker, and John McCain. The definition of a "natural born citizen" has been a topic of a heated debate throughout our history. It wasn't well defined at the time of the Constitution was drafted and it hasn't been since.
It is worth noting, however, that (as reader Weld Henshaw points out) all the above mentioned were Republicans.