The Perils of “Birtherism”
The birthers are coming! The birthers are coming! And here I was thinking they had faded away like crocs and silly bands. Apparently I was wrong. Recently, claims that the President was not born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as Commander-in-Chief have been brought to the forefront yet again. “Birtherism” was seemingly put to rest in 2011 when the President released a “Certificate of Live Birth” showing that he was in fact born in Hawaii in 1961. Unfortunately, that was not enough for the small number of people still waving the birther flag. Recent events have done nothing but refuel the movement.
The seemingly unquenchable fire of birtherism was reignited this month when Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett petitioned Hawaii to verify the certificate released by the White House in 2011. Breitbart.com released a 1991 booklet from the President’s literary agent which stated that Obama was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” In addition, a 2004 AP story was recently discovered which referred to the “Kenyan-born Obama.” That whirlwind of birther fuel was certainly enough to rally the movement. Yet, these claims still stand upon shaky ground.
I can see Ken Bennett’s concern in wanting to verify the certificate’s authenticity. The Obama administration has certainly not proven to be a trustworthy source. However, the verification is not worth the mass birther hysteria caused by such a request. For once, perhaps we should give the president the benefit of the doubt, although I cringe at the idea. Additionally, the two recent stories on birtherism are without merit. Obama’s literary agent claimed that the “Kenya” comment was simply an error on her part. She never received any information from Barack Obama or his staff about the issue. The “Kenyan-born Obama” phrase in the 2004 AP article was actually not from AP at all. A Kenyan paper actually added the line about Obama’s heritage. There is likely nothing devious behind this act. The paper, wanting to promote their ties to the up and coming politician, added that line for their own self-promotion.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the birther movement did not begin in right-leaning circles. It was actually started by lawyers acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton. The current Secretary of State’s presidential campaign released the information in an attempt to damage her primary opponent in 2008. However, her efforts have since backfired. You know who benefits most from the birther hysteria? President Obama himself. That’s right. While birthers are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, searching for proof they will likely never find, the President’s horrendous economic policies lose a large degree of the critical attention they deserve. Bithers are playing right into the hands of the Left and they’re doing the job of the liberal mainstream media. Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to be distracting us from the President’s record? Liberals are already trying to distract us with social issues. We don’t need to add birtherism to their agenda again.
The birther movement is not only dangerous to conservatism, it’s also pointless. Do they really think that “proving” the President was not born in the United States will somehow erase the last four years of destruction brought on by the Obama Administration? Sure, you could spend all of your time and energy questioning the “Certificate of Live Birth” or probing into the credibility of the president’s literary agent. However, what good would that really do in the end? This movement has been raging for 4 years. If they haven’t “disproved” Obama’s citizenship by now, they probably never will. Actually, the past four years have further solidified the president’s birthright citizenship. Perhaps this is an issue to be raised at a time when America is experiencing a period of utopia with no major news stories and no national crises. Considering that it’s about as likely to happen as Nancy Pelosi joining the Republican Party, I don’t think there will be a time in the near future to make the birther issue our first priority. Leave that to future historians. Our nation is on fire for crying out loud. Don’t we have better things to talk about? I think my colleague Sarah Hinds said it best in her recent article “It’s Still About the Economy.” We need to be focusing on the President’s actual record because it’s one of failed policies and radicalism. It’s time to bury the birther issue once and for all and deal with more substantial news stories.