Thursday, April 28, 2011

About That Birth Certificate

Let me begin by saying that I believe that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. If there had been any real proof that he was born in another country then the Clinton campaign would have found and released it in 2008. Furthermore, even if he was born elsewhere, he would still be eligible to be president because his mother was a citizen (John McCain was born outside the US to American parents). I suspect that the whole "birther" rumor started with the Clinton campaign just as the "Obama is Muslim" rumor has been traced back to a Clinton worker.

That said, the long form birth certificate that the White House released just adds to the controversy. The problem is that two versions of the birth certificate were released. The one that the news media got is on a plain blue background. The White House also has a PDF version on the official White House blog site. This one has been superimposed on a background similar to a check. There was also some clean-up done and the certificate was done in parts making it possible to turn off layers and have text vanish.

Because an official release has been doctored, the controversy will not die down. But, because something has been released, the birthers will look crazy to most people.

There are two possibilities - one is that a campaign worker wanted the birth certificate to look more official and did the doctoring. The other is that the Obama campaign wants to keep the birther movement alive while making them look crazy at the same time.

In the meantime, I wish that all of the effort that the news media puts into making the birthers look bad was also used to make the 911 Truth Movement look bad. We have Truthers in Congress and at least one White House appointee (Van Jones) was a truther.

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