I really thought we’d put this conspiracy theory to rest over the summer, but it has arisen like a zombie yet again to suck the credibility out of the conservative blogosphere. I have had at least 40 e-mails begging me to watch this video featuring Phillip Berg, a PUMA suing Barack Obama and the Democratic Party to prove Obama’s citizenship — even though Obama has already produced a certification of live birth from Hawaii that would get him a passport any day of the week:
Last week, we got tons of e-mail purporting to claim that Berg had won in court and Obama had three days to produce proof of citizenship. It turned out that someone had posted an exemplar of the order, produced by the plaintiff in case the judge granted their motion. In other words, it meant nothing, and neither does this.
Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, making him a natural-born citizen of the United States. Hawaii’s certification of live birth proves this, as Allahpundit and I have both noted this summer. Fact Check also verified it, although the video does its best to undermine that by noting the connection to the Annenberg Foundation. By the way, Berg and the video manage to mangle this, too, by claiming Obama sat on the board of the Annenberg Foundation itself and distributed their funding. He ran the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, one of the foundation’s beneficiaries. (The St. Petersburg Times also verified the certification independently.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a contemporaneous corroboration of Obama’s Hawaii birth? As it happens, we do — provided by another PUMA who wanted to find ways to disqualify Obama. Lori Starfelt found this in the archives of the Honolulu Advertiser in a print copy from August 1961:
Unless people want to start claiming that the conspiracy to have Barack Obama infiltrate the political system started at the moment of his birth, that’s pretty conclusive evidence that Obama was born in the US and is a natural-born citizen.
I already know some of the rebuttals that will fly through the comments, so let me address them here:
- A court is hearing this case, so it must be serious — Any fool with a lawyer and a couple of hundred dollars can file a lawsuit. That’s one of the reasons why tort reform is so badly needed. Frivolous lawsuits cost consumers billions of dollars. Conservatives used to make that argument, at least until Phillip Berg filed this lawsuit.
- Why isn’t Obama answering the lawsuit? — Maybe because it’s ridiculous, and Berg has no standing to file it anyway.
- Why not produce the birth certificate? — Obama has … twice now, once on his website and once to Fact Check.
- Well, then, why didn’t he produce it sooner, smart guy? — Sooner than what? This came up at the end of the primaries, and the Obama campaign produced it within a couple of weeks. So far, that hasn’t done much to quell the conspiracy theories.
- Why not produce the original birth certificate? — Most people, I’d wager, don’t have their own original birth certificate. If you applied to get your records, in most states you’d get what Obama has – a certification of live birth spit out from a computer system. I doubt Hawaii has the original record any longer, either. The certification proves citizenship well enough to get a passport.
Let’s stop chasing absurd conspiracy theories that make it more difficult to win the real arguments in this election. Stick to Obama’s absurd theories on national security, his radical political allies, and his disastrous economic policies that will make these past few weeks seem like a breeze. He’s the wrong man for the job, but still an American.
Update: To answer another question (reasonably asked in the comments), Barack Obama’s Indonesian stepfather could not have revoked Obama’s birthright as an American citizen, no matter what he told the school Obama attended.
Screw Loose Change has dealt with Phillip Berg before. It turns out that Berg thinks Bush and Cheney either created 9/11 or let it happen deliberately. Conspiracy theory nuts don’t usually stop at one paranoid fantasy, and this demonstrates it. It turns out he has quite a history of lawsuits and publicity stunts, and this was written at the beginning of 2007. (via Public Secrets)