Solving the fiscal crisis at the state level?

by on January 28, 2011 at 10:34 am in Current Affairs, Economics, History, Political Science | Permalink

Moving to dispel claims that President Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii, his supporters in the state's legislature have introduced a bill that would allow anyone to get a copy of his birth records for a $100 fee.

The idea behind the measure is to end skepticism over Obama's birthplace while raising a little money for a government with a projected budget deficit exceeding $800 million over the next two years.

Here is more.

Rich Berger January 28, 2011 at 6:51 am

Now that's a cool idea – let's get a resolution of this contentious issue so that Obama can sleep better at night!

Ted Craig January 28, 2011 at 7:20 am

You should have titled this "Markets in Everything – birthers edition."

Yancey Ward January 28, 2011 at 7:32 am

There will probably be a fair number of suckers falling for this and getting for $100 what has already been released for free.

Look, I think Obama is eligible to be president by virtue of his mother's citizenship, and I find the entire argument that he is ineligible to be tiresome and pointless, but the fact that the long form has never been released is highly suggestive that he was not, in fact, born in Hawaii. His team seems to have really backed themselves into a corner by not admitting this right from the start. The longer this charade, about how the long form can't be released publicly, goes on, the worse it looks. Most of the evidence suggests that Obama's mother returned to Hawaii a week or so after his birth.

Rich January 28, 2011 at 7:46 am

Yancey–

Just to be pedantic, children of U.S. citizens do not always gain citizenship automatically. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), the following would have to be true (for someone born to one U.S. citizen parent between 1952 and 1986):

1.The person's parents were married at the time of birth

2.One of the person's parents was a U.S. citizen when the person was born

3.The citizen parent lived at least ten years in the United States before the child's birth;

4.A minimum of 5 of these 10 years in the United States were after the citizen parent's 14th birthday.

I don't know whether Obama's mother met (3) and (4), although I have no reason to believe she did not (I have never bothered to investigate it).

khc January 28, 2011 at 7:48 am

This will raise thousands of dollars!

Can we get back to looking for real solutions now?

Rich Berger January 28, 2011 at 8:20 am

Tom-

I think the left prefers not to debate issues on the merits, but rather to slander their opposition, hoping to shame them into submission. This is no longer working effectively, as people don't necessarily wilt when called racists, homophobes, heartless, opposed to all that is good and right, etc. Right now, Sarah Palin is the foremost example of the left's inability to win the debate without firing an intellectual shot. As much as they despise and disdain her, she refuses to back down and this drives them nuts. The latest, Winning the Future, wtf, was a hoot. The increasing shrillness on the left is a reaction to the decreasing effectiveness of their traditional tactics. When something is no longer working, just redouble your efforts. That'll work!

Tom Grey January 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

All states should print bearer bonds of 0% interest and use them as payment for state obligations, promising to accept them immediately at full par value for taxes.

Not money, not "legal tender"; yet valuable. Semi-inflation that only reduces the income of those getting the state gov't bonds, without as much reduction in value of real money (tho a little).

On the Birthers, it might be that Barack Soetoro, his legally adopted name, is Obama's name on the paper. Which he never bothered to legally change back.
Which is a bit embarrassing, if true — and makes both the birthers wrong, but even more so the anti-birthers wrong, for not finding out sooner.

The failure to easily refute the claims by producing the legal documents has made me feel it's more likely there is something not fully honest.

Jim January 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

JAE:

Obama refuses to release the long-form of his birth certificate, and you want Rich to prove that Obama has something to hide?

OK, then.

Helen January 28, 2011 at 8:56 am

4. A minimum of 5 of these 10 years in the United States were after the citizen parent's 14th birthday.

This cannot be true, because his mother was not yet 19 years old. It's impossible to live anywhere whatsoever for 5 years after your 14th birthday until you've reached the age of 19.

8 January 28, 2011 at 9:13 am

This is becoming a thorny issue. The energy level of the opposition increases due to this issue, and it folds into other kook ideas such as Obama is secretly a Muslim. This stuff doesn't matter if he's popular, but his polls are just getting back to about 50%.

A lot of kooks believed the "birther" story right away, but a lot of people (myself included) thought it was an Alinsky trick. Don't release some innocuous piece of information, let your opponents go crazy, then whip it out and make them look like fools. The problem I have is that Obama should have pulled out the birth certificate during the healthcare debate or in late summer, ahead of the midterm election. His party was shellacked and part of the reason was the intensity of the opposition. At this point, I'm still thinking there's nothing wrong and the Obama team is just incompetent, but a lot of reasonable people are starting to wonder why they won't release the information, such as Chris Matthews and the Governor of Hawaii.

Who is the winner in all of this? Hillary Clinton.

beamish January 28, 2011 at 9:46 am

The long form contains more information than the short form but the short form contains the relevant fact: place of birth. It's not as if the long form is more official than the short form. It's less official. The short form is the legal birth certificate. What are you hoping to find out? Stanley Dunham's blood pressure at the time she was admitted to the hospital?

anonymous January 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

At this point, I'm still thinking there's nothing wrong and the Obama team is just incompetent, but a lot of reasonable people are starting to wonder why they won't release the information

First of all, those who care about birther theories would probably never vote for Obama in any case, even if all their questions were satisfactorily answered.

Secondly, addressing a conspiracy theory head-on sometimes paradoxically makes the public believe it more ("they're on the defensive… there must be something to it after all"). This has been the case, for instance, for NASA when dealing with moon landing hoax theories. And if documentary evidence is produced, it can simply be denounced as fake, so nothing is accomplished in the end.

On the other hand, the very existence of birthers tends to unfairly tar the entire spectrum of Obama opponents with the "bunch of mean-spirited kooks" brush, and it mobilizes his supporters to feel outraged and close ranks despite their lingering disappointment over his not so "progressive" policies.

You are assuming that there's a downside, politically, to letting the birther conspiracy theory quietly simmer. What if it's the exact opposite?

Dana January 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

I have to agree with more bosco. I didn't realize my fellow readers were so fringe. Makes me wonder why I ever waste my time posting on here…

Brad_sk January 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

Kind of surprised how many people on this comment section are taking birthers seriously

Posted by: More bosco at Jan 28, 2011 2:15:57 PM

Never underestimate the stupidity of today's RINO teabaggers.

JonF January 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Re: Obama does NOT have a birth certificate. He has a Certificate of Live Birth, which merely acknowledges his birth.

That's basically all any of us have. My "birth certificate" is a "certificate of live birth", based on info my mother gave the county health depatment three weeks after I was born, signed by the registrar, and sealed and certified by a health department employee when I ordered a copy of it years later.

Nevertheless it's legally valid evidence of the date and place of my birth, and my parentage. Every public and private authority in the US (including the passport office) accepts it as such.

Why should Obama be held to a higher standard than every other citizen of the United States (inlcuding other presidents and candidates thereto)

Yancey Ward January 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm

JonF,

I actually still have my originally issued birth certificate, plus the copy (certificate of live birth??) the State of Illinois sent me in 1994 when I couldn't immediately locate the original. The two are very different. The original has the hospital in which I was born, who delivered me, my mother and my father's signatures, etc. It even has my heel print. The copy sent to me is clearly different, but still has the hospital information, and the doctor's name, and it also had my parent's signatures, which I recognized immediately, (no heel print, though). I don't know what standards Hawaii uses, but the info contained in the certificate of live birth that Obama released to the media seems awfully short of the sort of details my copy of my own birth certificate contains.

AnonCA January 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Jon, we're not holding Obama to a "higher" standard. It's about due diligence. You keep dragging this back to a personal attack on Obama rather than holding our government and elected officials accountable.

He probably had more of a background check when he applied for his first credit card. A certificate of live birth couldn't get someone on an airplane!

Neither my mother nor my father were foreign citizens, and I didn't leave the country until I was 20. I didn't live in a foreign country in the early years of my life. There's no reasonable doubt about my citizenship status.

There is reasonable cause to doubt Obama's status based on his father's citizenship and his residence abroad. But even if the doubt is far-fetched, the government has the duty to investigate and to answer all FOIA requests. Obama has the duty to produce all legally requested documents.

There are millions of illegal immigrants all over this country with false birth certificates. I'm merely suggesting that the government should do more than base their inquiry on an old piece of paper, case closed.

I was wrong about the FEC – they monitor ONLY campaign finance. So apparently there exists NO government entity charged with the duty to verify the basic qualifications for office, unless someone else knows of any.

Tell me – if someone unearthed incontravertible evidence that Obama was not born in the US, what remedy do you think should be applied? What punishment should Obama get if he knew about it? Which government official would be held responsible for failing to do their job?

Or do you think it doesn't matter?

Careless January 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I would love to hear your theory on how Obama's long-form birth certificate would reveal that his real name is Barry Soetoro though.

As other people have speculated before, Obama is a time traveling secret ninja Muslim. Now don't you feel stupid?

Tom Grey January 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

If, when Obama's mother married her second husband, and Mr. Soetoro legally adopted Barry, his "official birth certificate" would be changed to show this legal name change.
As I read somewhere.

He could, thru "common use", in CA at least, change it back without any legal document. Like I changed mine. But my birth certificate has my birth name, not the no-legal decision name change I now use.

Having Soetoro on the certificate would not change his eligibility for being president. But it might change the evaluation of his competence, and legal thoroughness, and, now, his honesty.
I don't doubt he's legally eligible to be Pres.
I do doubt that he's competent, and doubt that he has been honest.
Plus I hate his big-gov't spending, like I didn't like Bush's big gov't spending, while voting Bush.

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