I started writing about this yesterday, got sidetracked by something else, and now Dave Weigel’s written the post I wanted to write. Half a dozen people e-mailed us the link to Abercrombie’s comments with some variation of the claim that “he admits the birth certificate doesn’t exist!” Does he?

Q: You stirred up quite a controversy with your comments regarding birthers and your plans to release more information regarding President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. How is that coming?

A: I got a letter from someone the other day who was genuinely concerned about it; it is not all just political agenda. They were talking on Olelo last night about this; it has a political implication for 2012 that we simply cannot have.

(Abercrombie said there is a recording of the birth in the State Archives and he wants to use that.)

It was actually written I am told, this is what our investigation is showing, it actually exists in the archives, written down …

…What I can do, and all I have ever said, is that I am going to see to it as governor that I can verify to anyone who is honest about it that this is the case.

If there is a political agenda then there is nothing I can do about that, nor can the president.

So there is some sort of written record — which jibes with what the state’s director of health has been saying all along — but because Abercrombie didn’t use the words “long-form birth certificate” or claim that he’s seen the document himself, somehow this magically transforms into him being unable to find anything in the file. What I think happened here is that this well-meaning doofus, who knew Obama’s parents personally and who’s indignant at the accusations about his citizenship, spoke up in anger with a vow to put them to rest. Which, entirely predictably to everyone except Abercrombie himself, kick-started a whole new round of excitement and expectations among Birthers, who’ll never be satisfied no matter what document is finally presented. The state could produce a birth certificate signed in the doctor’s blood and it’ll be dismissed instantly by true believers as a forgery. So this whole endeavor is counterproductive to Abercrombie’s goal, which I assume he’s now realizing and which explains why he might not be doggedly following up on his investigation. If he follows up and reveals a document — which he’s still not legally empowered to do — it’ll be declared bogus; if he decides to lay off and let this drop, it’ll be taken as proof that there’s no document in the file and he’s engaged in a cover-up for his pal Barack. This is the sort of shrewd, farsighted political mind who’s now at the head of Hawaii’s ship of state.

Exit question: I’ve asked this before, but what’s the endgame here for Birthers? Let’s say the only thing in the file is an affidavit from one of Obama’s long-dead grandparents attesting to the fact that he was born in Hawaii. How do we get from that point A to the point B of the Supreme Court ruling that a sitting president is constitutionally disqualified from office?