Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
The birther myth won’t go away, Mr. Obama. Facts don’t interest the birthers. At least facts that do not suit their needs.
The White House produced a long-form birth certificate for the media Wednesday, which then was followed by the President making some statements about it, saying that he wanted the birthers to end what he called “the silliness.” He asked the public to focus on the real issues confronting us.
Sadly, this is not going to be the end of the birther movement. Donald Trump, confronted by the media, revived the other great birther myth to keep this going: The $2M legal bill that Mr. Obama allegedly spent in legal fees to keep his long-form birth certificate out of the hot little hands of conservative conspiracy crazies.
WorldNetDaily, a conservative web publication, came up with the $2M figure, which political myth-buster Politifact.com checked out. Obama’s law firm did indeed get close to $2.6M between 2008 and 2010, but it was for general legal business on a wide variety of issues to the wind down of their campaign. The number sounds big, but when you consider that the 2008 Obama Campaign was a $750M operation, the amount is in line with the many things that needed to be resolved as the Campaign closed up shop. The McCain Campaign, which raised far less, spent $1.3 million.
Campaign finance documents do not require itemization of specific expenditures with the law firm. The majority of the money though was spent fending off Republican challenges to Obama’s fundraising with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Even though none of them had merit, hundreds of pages of documents had to be produced for each FEC request that followed up a GOP grouse.
“After we looked through court records and spoke to experts in the field, we found insufficient evidence to support the claim that Obama for America spent $2 million solely on birth-certificate-related work.
Four campaign-finance experts we interviewed all agreed that after the campaign was over, a law firm in Perkins Coie’s situation would have a full plate of legal work to do that had nothing to do with birth certificate questions. Two of the experts who took this position have represented Republicans — Trevor Potter, a campaign finance lawyer who worked for the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of John McCain and the 1988 campaign of George H.W. Bush, and Robert Kelner, who has represented the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. A third attorney who agreed, Allison R. Hayward, is the vice president of policy for the Center for Competitive Politics, which filed an amicus brief opposing the Obama administration’s position in the landmark Citizens United Supreme Court case, which ended a broad swath of campaign finance restrictions.”
Once the $2M rumor finally dies off, though, racists in the birther movement are more than happy to serve up more. Ian Mosley, a blogger on former Klansman David Duke’s website, tries to spin the concept that Hawaiian birth certificates can be handed out to non-U.S. citizens:
“Why does the state of Hawaii repeatedly make the claim that the unsigned and unnumbered and unverifiable “Certificate of Live Birth” (COLB) waved aloft by the Obama groupies constitutes legal proof when in point of fact; it doesn’t. It sounds like it’s a birth certificate, but the state of Hawaii issues the COLB to Hawaiian parents even if their child was born in a foreign land. In the case of Obama, his mother was below the legal age to pass citizenship onto her child and the father was a Kenyan so if Obama were born in Kenya, he would be a Kenyan citizen, not a US citizen. But because he had a Hawaiian parent, Obama could still get the Hawaiian COLB even though he’s NOT a US citizen.”
“[T]he state of Hawaii issues the COLB to Hawaiian parents even if their child was born in a foreign land.”
Children born to American citizens were granted birth certificates from their state of their parents’ residence provided that the parents showed them a Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350), which verified and naturalized the child, as a condition of obtaining that birth certificate. No such DS-1350 exists for Mr. Obama. No one has produced one, which would be a relatively easy thing to do under the Freedom of Information Act. Mosley’s contention that “because he had a Hawaiian parent, Obama could still get the Hawaiian COLB even though he’s NOT a US citizen,” is fantasy.
“In the case of Obama, his mother was below the legal age to pass citizenship onto her child…”
The age of a U.S. citizen bearing children is not a consideration. If a 17 year old, valid passport-carrying U.S. citizen were to have a child, they would still have filed the DS-1350, which has been replaced by a new consular form today. The age of Barack Obama’s mother, had she hypothetically given birth under age and out of the country, would not have mattered.
Many of the cases that were brought were handled by government attorneys, as in the case of the famed Orly Taitz challenge. Robert Bauer, who tried to take his case to the Supreme Court, was handled by the private law firm, but no evidence exists that his futile filings came anywhere near a tiny fraction of the total of the Obama Campaign’s legal bills.
So the myth machine goes on. The Birthers will find other “challenges” to Mr. Obama’s legitimacy. Unless he becomes suddenly white, a large segment of the American public that was afraid of a black man in office, particularly in heavy Red states like Iowa and in race-challenged states like Mississippi, is still going to find ways to justify their racism.
My shiny two.