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Birther baloney and Truther tripe
April 28, 2011 - Stephen Browne
Well President Obama has released his long-form birth certificate, and Birthers, prominent among them Donald Trump, have egg on their faces.
The President is looking rather like the proverbial cat that ate the proverbial canary.
"So why didn't he simply release this before all the fuss?" I hear you say.
Do I really have to answer that?
For one, the Birthers have furnished the president with a handy club to beat his political opponents with. These nutballs were a gift from heaven Obama wasn't going to give up right away. The Republicans had their turn when it was revealed Van Jones, the president's pick for "Special Advisor for Green Jobs" was a "9/11 Truther." However the inconvenient truth about the Birthers and Truthers is, Birthers are found only on the right, while Truthers are found on the right and the left, and indeed overlap quite a bit. Many conspiracy fans are both.
For another, while the Birther controversy was always wildly improbable, requiring one to believe in a conspiracy stretching back to Obama's birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper, it conveniently distracted from other things the President has been less than forthcoming on, such as his SAT scores and his grades in college.
And by the way, why is he reticent about those? Scores and grades might be embarrassing, but a lot of the giants of political history have had poor academic records. Winston Churchill comes to mind, and if you ever had a look at Andrew Jackson's correspondence you'd see he was barely literate.
Furthermore, place of birth does not necessarily determine native-born citizenship status. The child of American citizens is an American citizen from birth, no matter where he's born. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. George Romney, father of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was born in the Mormon Colonies of Mexico to American parents. When he threw his hat into the ring for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 he just ignored the native-born citizen issue, and nobody called him on it.
Now here's the interesting issue that nobody has brought up to my knowledge.
My son was born in Warsaw, Poland, to an American father (moi) and a Polish mother. We registered him at the appropriate government office in Warsaw and the American embassy, and got him two passports. He has been a citizen of both countries since his birth, though his birth certificate was issued by the Republic of Poland.
Can he grow up to be president?
We don't know, the Constitution doesn't address the issue. Dual citizenship must have been very rare back then, if it even existed legally. Heck, it's only been since the late 19th - early 20th centuries that North American and West European governments routinely required passports to cross their borders.
So what I wonder is, Barack Obama's globe-trotting mother married first a Kenyan citizen, then an Indonesian citizen. At any time in his life did she ever claim dual citizenship for her son, or did he ever travel on a passport issued by another country?
That wouldn't show up on birth records. Neither of my son's passports says anywhere that he has another one. And would it matter? Again, we don't know.
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