Dissents Of The Day

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 27 2011 @ 2:17pm

Screen shot 2011-04-27 at 12.38.18 PM

A reader writes:

The President absolutely did the right thing by not releasing his long-form birth certificate earlier.  Actually, I'm a little disappointed that he acquiesced.  The Birthers' theories are demonstrably untrue even without the long-form certificate.  His releasing it doesn't add any new information to the debate, it only lends an unfortunate amount of dignity to a racist smear.  The MSM have had all the information they need to completely squash the myth, and they have not.  That's their failure, not his.

It seems to me that Obama's decision not to provide the long form certificate when he could have added more fuel to the racist smear. And this is a president in favor of transparency in government. Another writes:

I wasted a lot of time once long ago obliterating birther “logic” on a forum, including a bunch of time digging through the statutes, so I take exception to your post.  Getting the LFBC released truly is exceptional. The only thing that can be released by the State is the copy already provided.  It is a certified copy. It isn’t even clear that the two governors of HI were legally allowed to inspect the certificate and only those with a direct interest would ever otherwise be allowed to inspect the cert.  (Read the statute here.) So don’t play that this is all politics and rope-a-dope; this is really and truly quite an exception.

I've covered the relevant statute. Obama had the right to seek the full form. The law states that. And while this may be a rare case, it is not an exception to the law, as I read the statute. It is the law. Another:

You say, "Because a president has to put his public responsibilities before his pride and his privacy. That's the price of the job – to defuse or debunk conspiracy theorists or just skeptics with all the relevant information you have." This is absolutely wrong. 

Obama went through the exact same process every other president in recent memory did.  He proved his citizenship to the satisfaction of the relevant authorities.  No other president has EVER released a copy of their birth certificate to the general public.  The demands made by the Birthers were simply unreasonable, and obviously so.  To claim that Obama was being somehow cagey by not releasing them until now assumes that the Birthers were asking an honest question.  They were not.

How do you know that every skeptic was a disingenous cynic? Just because they were Republicans? Another:

Your position is, I am afraid, not well thought out. What you're really saying is that a decent man who happened to be President of the United States must respond to every scurrilous attack made on him, that such a person has no right to privacy, nor any right to personal dignity, nor – and this is really appalling – any presumption of innocence.

And we already know, don't we, that the noise will simply get louder: the claims will become more and more vicious, more unanswerable?  The grades, when released, will be doubted; the Registrar's accuracy will be challenged; the teachers who gave those grades will be sought out and harried; if they are found to be liberals, their credentials too will be doubted, lied about, searched and pored over and found wanting.


To no surprise, the birth certificate accomplished nothing. The writers and commenters over at WND are still in denial, with mentions of a lack of a footprint and the race-listing of his father as "African":

If the document proves valid, it could answer the questions raised by those who have alleged he was not actually born in Hawaii. But it also could prove his ineligibility because of its references to his father. Some of the cases challenging Obama have explained that he was a dual citizen through his father at his birth, and they contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born citizens.

Nothing will satisfy them. This was pointless.

But many in the middle confused about this will now be more likely to dismiss Birtherism. It was not pointless. Another:

I think you have been obsessing on Trig’s birth certificate for too long. Obama released the short form three years ago, state officials attested to both the short form and the long form, but the birthers were not satisfied.  Sure he could have released the long form at any time, but FOX would still lead the story with "WHAT the White House says is the long form." Maybe he should have included a video of the delivery.

This isn’t about his birth certificate and never has been. It is about his skin color, due to either out-and-out racism or in most cases the many folks who are not comfortable with how the country is changing and Obama’s skin color puts those changes front and center. 

(Image hat tip: Laura Nahmias)