Poll: Majority Of GOP Primary Voters Don’t Believe Obama Was Born In The U.S.

Four years after Barack Obama became a Presidential candidate, the birther myth not only persists, it seems to be becoming more prevalent. Why?

The irrational persistence of the birther myth among President Obama’s political enemies is one of the great puzzles of contemporary politics, and further evidence of just how prevalent the idea has become can be found in a new poll from Public Policy Polling:

Birthers make a majority among those voters who say they’re likely to participate in a Republican primary next year. 51% say they don’t think Barack Obama was born in the United States to just 28% who firmly believe that he was and 21% who are unsure. The GOP birther majority is a new development. The last time PPP tested this question nationally, in August of 2009, only 44% of Republicans said they thought Obama was born outside the country while 36% said that he definitely was born in the United States. If anything birtherism is on the rise.

There’s also an interesting, although, perhaps not surprising, divide in candidate support depending on voter’s opinions on the President’s birth:

Among the 49% of GOP primary voters who either think Obama was born in the United States or aren’t sure, Romney’s the first choice to be the 2012 nominee by a good amount, getting 23% to 16% for Mike Huckabee, 11% for Sarah Palin, and 10% for Newt Gingrich. But with the birther majority he’s in a distant fourth place at 11%, with Mike Huckabee at 24%, Sarah Palin at 19%, and Newt Gingrich at 14% all ahead of him. That pushes him into a second place finish overall at 17% with Mike Huckabee again leading the way this month at 20%. Palin’s third with 15%, followed by Gingrich at 12%, Ron Paul at 8%, Mitch Daniels and Tim Pawlenty at 4%, and John Thune at 1%.

There is really a remarkable divide in how the birther and non-birther wings of the GOP view Sarah Palin. With the birthers she is a beloved figure, scoring an 83/12 favorability rating. Non-birthers are almost evenly divided on her with 47% rating her positively and 40% unfavorably.

Considering the fact that every conceivable legal and factual arguments the birthers have made has been thoroughly discredited, and rejected by every Court of law that has had the matter brought before it. one has to wonder why the myth that Barack Obama is not an American citizen continues to persist, and even become more prevalent if this poll is accurate. David Weigel has one theory:

This doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Palin and Gingrich, more than other Republicans, have criticized Obama for policies they trace back to a lack of faith in America and its institutions. (It was Gingrich, remember, who promoted Dinesh D’Souza’s silly “Obama as Kenyan anti-colonialist” theory.) Birtherism, in this instance, is a logical response to the stimuli of 1) conservative opinion leaders saying that Obama’s policies amount to un-American socialism and 2) Republican leaders punting when asked whether Obama was born in the United States.

Additionally, as Michael Medved pointed out yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, the conservative media is filled with the message that President Obama is not only wrong, but that he wants to destroy America:

These attitudes thrive well beyond the blogosphere and the right-wing fringe. On Jan. 7, Sarah Palin spoke briefly on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, saying, “What I believe that Obama is doing right now—he is hell-bent on weakening America.” While acknowledging that “it’s gonna get some people all wee-weed up again,” she repeated and amplified her charge that “what Obama is doing” is “purposefully weakening America—because he understood that debt weakened America, domestically and internationally, and yet now he supports increasing debt.”

The assumption that the president intends to harm or destroy the nation that elected him has become so widespread that the chief advertising pitch for Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” promises to “reveal Obama for who he really is: a man driven by the anti-colonial ideology of his father and the first American president to actually seek to reduce America’s strength, influence and standard of living.”

(…)

On his radio show last July 2, the most influential conservative commentator of them all reaffirmed his frequent charge that the president seeks economic suffering “on purpose.” Rush Limbaugh explained: “I think we face something we’ve never faced before in the country—and that is, we’re now governed by people who do not like the country.” In his view, this hostility to the United States relates to a grudge connected to Mr. Obama’s black identity. “There’s no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily.”

When they’re exposed to this type of propaganda on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day, it really isn’t all that surprising that people would come to believe it, and, in turn, that they’d come to believe that the President isn’t really an American. It’s insane, there’s no evidence to support it, but it’s a belief system that makes perfect sense to the people who hold it, and that’s usually all that matters.

It was only the other day that House Speaker John Boehner said that it wasn’t his job to counter the rumors about the President:

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Sunday that he believes President Obama was born on U.S. soil and is a Christian, but that it was not his job to challenge people who think otherwise.

“It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think,” Mr. Boehner said on the NBC program Meet the Press. “Our job in Washington is to listen to Americans.”

When pressed by host David Gregory, Mr. Boehner declined to say that those raising doubts about Mr. Obama’s birthplace and religion should stop doing so.

“The American people have the right to think what they want to think. It’s not my job to tell them,” Mr. Boehner reiterated. “I’ve made clear what I believe the facts are.”

Perhaps the truth is that Boehner is unwilling to call out the birthers because he knows that they represent such a large portion of his party’s base. If that’s the case, it’s just sad and pathetic. Any Republican with courage and common sense should be willing to call these people what they are, lunatics.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Any Republican with courage and common sense should be willing to call these people what they are, lunatics.

    And that Republican will get primaried by a Tea Party nut. Self preservation is the name of the game. If any of these people had actual courage, they never would have gotten elected.

  2. The fact that we have a large chunk of the electorate who cannot accept basic facts on so simple an issue underscores why we cannot, as a country, come to gripes with the complex fiscal issues that face us.

    It is rather depressing.

  3. sam says:

    Here’s a better explanation, from Frum’s blog:

    Fox Geezer Syndrome

  4. Steven Plunk says:

    Should they call out those who believe in UFO’s or ghosts? There’s a large number of people on both sides of the aisle who believe in both. How about just let it be? That seems to be the prudent path.

    Of course Obama could put it to rest by trotting out who the attending physician was or nurses. Like many have speculated it’s in his interest to keep the controversy alive.

    Regardless, it’s not where he was born that’s the biggest problem it’s where he currently resides.

  5. EddieInCA says:

    Doug –

    Why? You’re really asking “why?”

    When Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor can’t condemn this for that it is – insane – you can’t ask “why” so many people believe it?

    When Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Sarah Palin, Neil Boortz, Michael Gallagher, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin, among other talk and television hosts, make jokes about Obama’s birthplace (not Hawaii) and/or faith (not Christian), you can’t ask why.

    Why? Because if any elected official forcefully attempted to correct the record with the truth, they’d have to fight a primary challenge from a tea party lunatic.

    For Example A, see John Boehner’s appearance this past Sunday on Meet The Press.

    That’s why.

  6. EddieInCA says:

    Steven –

    The fact that we have a large chunk of our elected GOP officials who cannot tell the truth to their constituents due to fear of being challenged in a primary underscores why we cannot, as a country, come to grips with the complex issues that face us.

    FIXED!

  7. Herb says:

    “It is rather depressing.”

    Yes it is…..and sad to say it, but I don’t think you can pin this all on the pundits. The loudest birther voices I hear are from people I know. Are they dangerously susceptible to punditry? Not really. Are they stupid? Nope. Uninformed? Nope. Birthers know things about the President’s upbringing I just don’t care about.

    So what accounts for the continuing birtherism? (You’d think birthers want Joe Biden to be president or something.)

    Any ideas?

  8. george says:

    They’re wrong of course, but they’ve plenty of company people believe a lot of strange things. Everyone knows the usual list of conspiracies, something there for everyone.

    I think the point is what was in the “Fox Geezer Syndrome”: they don’t only believe something unreasonable by most standards, but are vehement about it, and think people who disagree with them are either idiots or evil. And that’s whats becoming alarming about a lot of this. I can have a discussion with someone who thinks the moon landings were faked, and its very unlikely to get emotional. A conversation with a birther (less so with truthers, though there are some pretty fanatical exceptions) is likely to end with them being extremely emotional.

    Being able to disagree reasonably is one of the necessities for civilization …

  9. Should they call out those who believe in UFO’s or ghosts? There’s a large number of people on both sides of the aisle who believe in both. How about just let it be?

    Perhaps because belief in UFOs doesn’t indicate that one thinks that the current president of the United States is illegitimately in office–not to mention the clear racist undertones of birtherism.

  10. ponce says:

    I don’t think will end well for the Republicans.

  11. mantis says:

    Should they call out those who believe in UFO’s or ghosts? There’s a large number of people on both sides of the aisle who believe in both. How about just let it be? That seems to be the prudent path.

    Those topics rarely come up in politics, so they’d really wouldn’t have much reason to. Obama’s birth, however, comes up all the time, and this poll shows it is largely a partisan thing. This will have an effect in the 2012 election, and state legislature after state legislature are pushing birther bills. It’s a political issue. The same can’t be said about UFOs or ghosts, can it?

    Here’s a question. If a majority of one party were composed of 9/11 truthers or truther-sympathetic voters, who constantly talked about it at rallies, on TV, and on the Web, and had state and national politicians who repeatedly brought it up as well, maybe even sponsoring some sort of 9/11 legislation, would you be suggesting that politicians from that party who disagree just ignore it? Would that be the prudent path? If when asked on a television show what he thought of the 9/11 truthers, Harry Reid (or Boehner, or whomever) said “It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think,” what would your response be?

    Of course Obama could put it to rest by trotting out who the attending physician was or nurses. Like many have speculated it’s in his interest to keep the controversy alive.

    Oh, you’re a birther yourself, I see. The physician is dead, and I seriously doubt Obama has the nurses present during his birth locked away somewhere. He probably has absolutely no clue who they are. What an absurd suggestion. He’s not keeping the controversy alive. Idiot assholes like you are.

  12. Ben Wolf says:

    “Regardless, it’s not where he was born that’s the biggest problem it’s where he currently resides.”

    And there you have it. The real grievance is that Steve Plunk and The Birthers (wouldn’t you like to hear that on your top 40 station?) have been robbed of their right not to have a black president.

  13. MM says:

    I can have a discussion with someone who thinks the moon landings were faked, and its very unlikely to get emotional. A conversation with a birther (less so with truthers, though there are some pretty fanatical exceptions) is likely to end with them being extremely emotional.

    I don’t know about that. I avoid convesation with conspiracy theorists in real life, but on the internet, every conspiracy theorist whether birther, truther, anti-vaxxer or anti-fluoridation type pretty much believes that anyone who doesn’t come to the same conclusion they did has been co-opted by the man or is just to dumb to see truth

    Should they call out those who believe in UFO’s or ghosts? There’s a large number of people on both sides of the aisle who believe in both. How about just let it be? That seems to be the prudent path.

    There is no major conspiracy theory about a secret cabal trying to hide the existence of ghosts from the sheeple. And if a candidate or the slim majority of members of a major political party were going to rallies with “SHOW ME THE MEDIUM GRAYS MR. pRESIDENT” signs, then I don’t think leaving them be would be a very smart choice, no.

  14. reid says:

    Then you have seemingly intelligent people like Steven P defending birtherism with dopey analogies and “reasonable questions”. What is wrong with people? Steven, why can’t you just admit the whole thing is dumb?

  15. Herb says:

    “Of course Obama could put it to rest by trotting out who the attending physician was or nurses.”

    How is this relevant to anything, Steve?

    Seriously….this is birtherism in a nutshell.

    Everyone who is entitled to seeing Obama’s birth certificate –his schools, his employers, government officials– all of them have been satisfied. None of them have ever made a stink about it.

    People who are NOT entitled to see Obama’s birth certificate have NOT been satisfied, even after showing them a copy.

  16. Drew says:

    Seems to me you are overthinking it, Doug. This is a self inflicted wound by Obama; and for what purpose? I’m no birther; I feel quite confident he’s a citizen.

    But when I moved back from the East Coast to IL I had to show a birth certificate to get a new driver’s licence. My passport was stolen in a robbery when we lived on the East Coast. To get a new one required a birth certificate. Is it so outrageous to ask a candidate for the Presidency to present same?

    To get a job you have to reveal transcripts etc etc. Is this so outrageous to ask of a Presidential candidate?

    One has to ask: “what are the motivations of Team Obama to not be totally transparent and forthcoming?” Just because they can? And for defenders, why the strident defense? Just because they can? Seems similar to the explanation for pulling the wings off flies. A grevious act? No. But why? I can’t imagine if the political party’s were switched that the views would be similar.

    Oh, and I sadly note yet another commentor invoking racism as the reason for legitimate policy differences, or simply differences in view. Disgraceful.

  17. EddieInCA says:

    Drew –

    Had you moved from Hawaii to Illinois, you’d have had to show the exact same document that Obama presented online, and which other have verified as “The Official Document of the State of Hawaii”, in order to get your new driver’s license.

    The rest of your comment is rationalization. You claim not to be a birther, but yet question why the US President hasn’t offered up his Birth Certificate.

    If you quack like a birther, don’t be surprised if people think you’re a birther.

    Based on your comment above, you’re a birther. Sorry.

  18. sam says:

    “Is it so outrageous to ask a candidate for the Presidency to present same?”

    What is the thing at the top of this post? If that won’t satisfy you, what in the hell will?

  19. mantis says:

    Drew, you moron, open your eyes. Obama’s birth certificate is at the top of this very page.

    Birthers: dumb, crazy, and unbelievably persistent in their dumb crazy.

    Oh, and I sadly note yet another commentor invoking racism as the reason for legitimate policy differences

    Birtherism is not a legitimate policy difference.

  20. Matt B says:

    Steve P wrote:
    Of course Obama could put it to rest by trotting out who the attending physician was or nurses. Like many have speculated it’s in his interest to keep the controversy alive.
    Steve,

    Simply put there is no evidence that birthers will accept that would prove Obama’s citizenship. And frankly, if he was white and without a foreign sounding name, the current preponderance of evidence – including the copy of the certificate of live birth and newspaper announcement — would have been more than enough (if this issue had ever been questioned).

    Producing the original document wouldn’t change anything. Simply put, to anyone who is still a birther, there is no way that Obama could possibly be American

    The fact is, that generally speaking, all sides want to keep this issue alive. For those on the right (especially those in the Right Wing Noise Machine) its an easy way to keep feeding raw meet to the base and not having to tackle the substantive issues. And for those on the left, it’s a great issue to “prove” how crazy people on the right are and therefore prove that there’s no need to take them (or their issues seriously).

  21. reid says:

    sam: Nothing will satisfy them, clearly. Years of rightwing propaganda paying off. “Must… find… way… to rationalize hatred….”

  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    Why should this surprise us? After all those Republican primary voters are the 30% of the total electorate who represent the core of the GOP (look at any poll). They also think Bush was a great president, Palin should be president, Fox News really is fair and balanced, and Obama is a communist/fascist,. The party leadership is terrified to prick their balloon in case some loony comes out of the woodwork to primary them and it can be used against them. It’s actually reached the stage where it’s doing the president more good than harm with the wider electorate. These Republicans have turned into Obama’s useful idiots. None of it is going to change and in fact what I find most interesting about the entire controversy is the way in which Republicans with some intelligence try to ignore it or rationalize it away. A typical example is this bit of unintended hilarity where the obviously conservative author believes the entire base of his party has the reasoning power of believers in flying saucers or spiritualism.

    Steven Plunk says:
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 13:15
    Should they call out those who believe in UFO’s or ghosts? There’s a large number of people on both sides of the aisle who believe in both. How about just let it be? That seems to be the prudent path.

    Or there’s Doug, who professes surprise that his party is to all intents and purposes under the control of what he describes as “lunatics” but continues to insist that Republicans offer realistic solutions to our problems.

  23. ponce says:

    Is this really any surprise?

    Every two years the Republican Party has to convince 40-50 million middle and lower class Americans to vote against their own interests.

    The first step to achieving this goal is to destroy their reasoning skills…

  24. Taiko Drum says:

    I was born in a US naval hospital in Japan and this document (CLB) is what I have. In fact, on my CLB it clearly states, and I’m paraphrasing, that my CLB has all the legal status of a birth certificate. IIRC, it also states that the CLB is all I will ever get, but I would have to take a look at it to verify.

    However, that CLB hasn’t stopped me fom getting numerous passports, passing a secret security background check when I joined the military, getting PRP certified while in the Air Force so I could be around nuclear weapons/components and passing a top secret clearance check when I was going to work for DARPA. They all accepted my CLB as proof of US citizenship.

  25. Ben Wolf says:

    “Simply put there is no evidence that birthers will accept that would prove Obama’s citizenship. ”

    Because they know there is no posssibility someone with dark skin could become president legitimately.

    The lowest corn pone redneck in this country has the satisfaction of knowing he or she is superior to to every single black or latino who has ever lived. It can’t be any other way. Everyone knows crackers are the smartest and hardest working people in the cosmos, therefore a black man could not, under any circumstances, do what Bubba couldn’t.

    The only way this “thing” (we all know he doesn’t really count as a person) could become president is with a massive conspiracy driven by liberal traitors and foreigners with stupid names.

    Come on Doug! Don’t you get it?

  26. tom p says:

    Taiko Drum: You are obviously an islamo fascist sleeper sympathizer who hates everything about America and wants to destroy all that is great about it.

    May you rot in hell.

  27. Crust says:

    In the view of many Republicans — subconsciously or otherwise — Democratic presidents just aren’t legitimate. Not just bad, but illegitimate. Starting from that premise, this is the primary justification they come up for it in the case of Obama.

  28. Matt B says:

    Ben,

    It isn’t just dark skin — cause let’s face it, Bohner is one self-tan away from passing the darkness of Obama. But seriously, yes there are hard core racists this would be true of. But I’d hold that the majority of birthers are not in fact racist or bigots (or at least not recognizably so — I make the same argument about Tea Party people as well). And I think that a significant subset would accept a different (“The Right”) black president.

    Their problem with Obama is:
    dark skin + foreign name + Hawaii (which really isn’t a state… way too exotic) + democrat + ivy league

    In other words, he’s the “total package” for this post-9/11 moment in time to be the “sum of all their fears.”

  29. george says:

    > In the view of many Republicans — subconsciously or otherwise — Democratic presidents just aren’t legitimate. Not just bad, but illegitimate. Starting from that premise, this is the primary justification they come up for it in the case of Obama.

    I think this is pretty accurate. My recollection was that they threw as much hate at Clinton during his presidency, as they now throw at Obama. On the other hand, Bush got just as much from democrats during his presidency.

    More than anything else, it reminds me of watching college football fans from opposing schools going at each other.

  30. jwest says:

    Liberals have always been remarkably fair and reasonable people.

    If a conservative president was refusing to disclose his birth certificate, I’m certain that practically all liberals would not only accept the COLB as fact, but call out those in their ranks who questioned why the document remains hidden.

    It’s just how those on the left roll.

  31. @jwest:

    The galling thing about the whole affair is that a COLB is what one gets when one goes to request a “Birth Certificate” from a given state’s dept. of health.

    As has been repeatedly pointed out, a COLB will get you a passport.

    As such COLB=”Birth Certificate” (legally speaking)

    So the notion that Obama has “refus[ed] to disclose his birth certificate” is hogwash, plain and simple.

  32. Steven Plunk says:

    Can none of those on the left read a statement and understand it? Can Mantis do anything other than call names like a playground bully? Even our esteemed professor can’t get the point about UFO’s.

    Boehner can’t go out and do his job worrying about every false notion that might infect the minds of his constituents. He has to worry about real problems and real solutions. That’s what is meant by let it be. Ignore it and move on.

    The point about the medical staff is to point out many see this controversy as a plus for Obama so he has no interest in killing it. If he wanted to kill it there are a number of ways to do it but I believe it serves him so it’s kept alive. I’ve noticed it’s also kept alive by the Left as much as the Right.

    I am no birther for the simple reason he was elected and that election will not be undone. The bigger issue is stopping his policies that are harming me, mine, and this country. It’s not his name, it’s not the color of his skin, it’s not where he was born, it’s his policies.

  33. Brummagem Joe says:

    jwest says:
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 15:42

    “It’s just how those on the left roll.”

    I’m not sure I could say irrationality is entirely absent on the left (there after all those who subscribe to Bush conspiracy theories rather than just recognizing he was an incompetent lightweight) but generally speaking they tend to be more pragmatic and open minded. The nuts are a distinct minority, while it’s the other way around in today’s GOP.

  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    Steven Plunk says:
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 16:02
    “Can none of those on the left read a statement and understand it?”

    Actually we can since your meaning was very clear. I’m not sure which is causing me more amusement the original solecism or your pretzelesque attempts to wriggle out of it. Keep it up I’m sure there more instalments on the way.

  35. Rock says:

    “The lowest corn pone redneck in this country …”

    All the lowest corn pone rednecks I know in this country are Democrats.
    All the racist I know are Democrats . . . yet throw down a race card at every opportunity.

    Obviously, Obama’s call for civility landed on deaf ears.

  36. jwest says:

    Steven,
    Let’s walk through the controversy, shall we?

    “There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record,” DOH Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said.

    Fukino said she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.

    “Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures,” Fukino said.
    http://www.kitv.com/r/17860890/detail.html

    So, here we have the officials in Hawaii (the same ones who issued the COLB) stating unequivocally that a long form birth certificate exists, that they have seen it and it remains in their care.

    All that is required to release this document is for Obama to agree to it. What possible reason would someone who holds public office object to releasing such information?

    You could stop the birther movement and give millions of liberals a great talking point if only you could answer that simple question of ”why not” release the document.

    Personally, I consider any child born (anywhere) with 1 U.S. citizen parent a natural born citizen. However, I still want to see his records released.

  37. george says:

    > (there after all those who subscribe to Bush conspiracy theories rather than just recognizing he was an incompetent lightweight)

    That’s the part that always got me about that conspiracy – Bush, who by every other measure seemed to be quite stupid, was in this one thing a genius who was able to keep such a huge conspiracy under wraps.

    That he was incompetent just seemed so much more consistent with everything else about him. So why did a fair number of democrats decide that he was suddenly brilliant in this? Because it was politically convenient. Same reason so many republicans now are willing to let the birther thing continue – its politically convenient. Though in the long run I think this helps Obama more than those opposing him … the birthers look like crack pots, and that’s always a nice image to hang on your opponent.

  38. mantis says:

    Can none of those on the left read a statement and understand it? Can Mantis do anything other than call names like a playground bully?

    Yes, I can point out how full of shit you are, as I did. Birther moron.

    Boehner can’t go out and do his job worrying about every false notion that might infect the minds of his constituents.

    He doesn’t have to. He was asked a direct question. He took the cowards way out, too afraid of his batshit crazy supporters. And it’s not every false notion. No one is asking Boehner about all the other crazy things you wingnuts believe. Just this one, because the right has been beating this drum nonstop since 2008.

    The point about the medical staff is to point out many see this controversy as a plus for Obama so he has no interest in killing it.

    Your point was that Obama keeps the story alive by not tracking down the medical staff present during his birth? What a ridiculously stupid point.

    Yeah, he could release his birth certificate, as issued by the State of Hawaii. Oh wait, he did that years ago! It’s right at the top of the page! Why does Obama keep this story alive by not releasing what he already released well before even being elected? He’s so cunning!

    I’ve noticed it’s also kept alive by the Left as much as the Right.

    Insofar as we will continue to point out how stupid and crazy you wingnuts are, yes.

    I am no birther

    Your duck-like walk and quack tell a different story.

  39. Brummagem Joe says:

    jwest says:
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 16:20

    “You could stop the birther movement and give millions of liberals a great talking point if only you could answer that simple question of ”why not” release the document.”

    Why should he? It’s his decision. But this is another interesting conservative spin. It’s all Obama’s fault this controversy exists. As I suggested above I’m sure he’s unconcerned because what was attempt to destroy him has actually become a useful tool to discredit his opponent and after all the first rule of politics is when your opponent his hanging himself don’t remove the rope.

  40. mantis says:

    So, here we have the officials in Hawaii (the same ones who issued the COLB) stating unequivocally that a long form birth certificate exists, that they have seen it and it remains in their care.

    Wrong. The paper records were digitized a decade ago. They verified the information, and that the records were on file wherever they went when the digitization took place.

    All that is required to release this document is for Obama to agree to it.

    Wrong. The State of Hawaii does not issue such documents anymore. They issue COLBs, and those are good enough to get a passport from the State Department, or any other official purpose. They are the Hawaii birth certificates. There are no others to get.

    Stupid birthers…

  41. mantis says:

    Why should he? It’s his decision

    It’s really not. The State of Hawaii does not issue long-form birth certificates. They issue COLBs. That’s all there is to get.

  42. Brummagem Joe says:

    george says:
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 16:22
    “That he was incompetent just seemed so much more consistent with everything else about him. So why did a fair number of democrats decide that he was suddenly brilliant in this? Because it was politically convenient. ”

    I don’t think anyone in the Democratic leadership or commentariat wanted anything to do with loony theories that Bush was behind 9/11 etc. Whereas the reverse has generally been the case over the birther controversy. Boehner’s claim it wasn’t his job to correct his followers was fairly typical of the puerile responses we’ve seen.

  43. jwest says:

    George,

    I agree that the original birthers seemed like crackpots. Normally, as time goes on and more information comes out, only the diehard believers would cling to such a theory.

    However, in this case the number of people questioning Obama has grown. It all comes down to common sense and the lack of an answer to “Why not release the original document?”. Perhaps this issue did help Obama in the beginning, but your average person does not take “Because he doesn’t have to” as a good answer to the question.

    He’s losing ground on this. It needs to be addressed.

  44. Brummagem Joe says:

    mantis says:
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 16:36
    Why should he? It’s his decision

    “It’s really not.”

    Ok you obviously know more about it than I do. As far as I’m concerned as our Republican friend pointed out this entire controversy belongs with alien abduction. The only thing that makes it worrisome is these loons are calling the shots in the GOP.

  45. Brummagem Joe says:

    jwest says:
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 16:39
    “He’s losing ground on this. It needs to be addressed.”

    The only people he’s losing ground to are the fruitcakes who were never going to vote for him anyway. In the wider electorate it reinforces his claim to be the adult in the room.

  46. jwest says:

    Mantis,

    1. “Fukino said she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.”

    2. “Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures,” Fukino said.”

    Most people fluent in English would interpret these two statements to mean that an original document does exist and that the officials have seen it.

  47. jwest says:

    Why not release the original?

    (crickets……)

    This is the challenge for all liberals. Come up with an answer. You don’t need to have all or any facts, you can make shit up if you want, just try to fabricate an answer that would sound plausible to a reasonable person.

    I’ll bet Obama would pay for a good one.

  48. @Steve Plunk: I understand what you are trying to say about the UFOs. I just don’t think that it is a valid comparison.

  49. Why not release the original?

    (crickets……)

    This is the challenge for all liberals. Come up with an answer. You don’t need to have all or any facts, you can make shit up if you want, just try to fabricate an answer that would sound plausible to a reasonable person.

    This continues to utterly ignore the fact that the COLB is a legal birth certificate. YOU CAN GET A PASSPORT WITH A COLB.

    This is ridiculous.

  50. mantis says:

    jwest,

    Take my challenge first. Find a Hawaii resident to go and demand their long-form birth certificate. See what happens. I’ve been suggesting this for years and not one single Hawaiian has been able to get Hawaii to give them one (that I know of).

    So get to it. If they’ll just do it, as you say, then we should be flooded with recently obtained long-form birth certificates.

  51. @jwest:

    You are avoiding cold, hard facts and eliding obvious truth.

  52. Herb says:

    “This is the challenge for all liberals. Come up with an answer.”

    No, no, no. I don’t need to see the original. I accept the preponderance of evidence before me.

    Seriously, if we’re living in a world where a guy can fool everybody but the birthers, we’re doomed.

  53. MM says:

    This continues to utterly ignore the fact that the COLB is a legal birth certificate. YOU CAN GET A PASSPORT WITH A COLB.

    To add on to what Dr. Taylor said, I lost my original birth certifacte during some move or another, when I went to the stae of Colorado, I got a document that looks *identical* to Obama’s, except for the fact that the state seal is Colorado and the paper is blue. It appears that both states use the same software.

    I used that piece of paper, along with my driver;s license to get my passport. If I needed to prove citizenship on an I-9, that passport would be evidence of said citizenship. The computer generated paper (that does not have my foot prints or the name of the attending physician or my parents religion) would be proof of natural born citizenship.

    Now, I’m not saying that birthers are racist, since as mentioned upthread, Clinton was an illegitimate president as well because he didn’t get a makjority of the vote or he smoked pot or he didn;t serve in the military. But I will say that even if I were to run for public office I doubt anyone would question my citizenship or expect me to show any more documentation than I posses. of course I’m a white guy with a very white name. yet people do expect to see more out of Obama for some reason.

  54. tom p says:

    “Why not release the original?

    (crickets……)”

    How about this Jwest: My parents lost it. I lost it. I was born in the state of Texas but when I went to get a passport I had to go back to Texas to get a birth certificate…

    Did they give me a COLB or a BC? HELL AND DAMNATION…. I don’t know, I would have to go to my safe deposit box to find out…. What I do know is I got my passport.

    So did Obama.

    I would be very surprised if they did things the same in Hawaii as they do in Texas (I would be disappointed if they do)

    Looking for the original is stupid. Can you produce yours? Now? NO. You may or may not have a copy… the original? No.

  55. An Interested Party says:

    “All the lowest corn pone rednecks I know in this country are Democrats.
    All the racist I know are Democrats…”

    Obviously you need to expand the circle of people that you know…

    “This is the challenge for all liberals.”

    On the contrary, it is a tremendous opportunity for liberals to paint people like you as a loon and/or partisan hack and make the president look very good by comparison…

  56. john personna says:

    There was a famous experiment which showed that when partisans were given contrary evidence, they became MORE convinced in their starting opinion. People are crazy.

    And its good to be a moderate

  57. michael reynolds says:

    So by my rough count this is Doug’s 9 millionth post on the subject of: Republicans Are Morons.

    And yet he proudly maintains he only votes Republican.

    The gospel of Doug:

    1) Republicans are idiots.
    2) I vote Republican.

    Is it a violation of the comment TOS to take that to its inescapable conclusion?

  58. matt says:

    Drew : I was born in Illinois and I do NOT have a birth certificate. I do on the other hand have a COLB just like Obama and it was good enough to get me a passport and a license in Texas..

  59. PJ says:

    A birth certificate or a COLB isn’t enough.

    There should be DNA testing of all future presidential candidates and their parents.

    How else would you know that the father is actually the father? The mother might have had a fling with an illegal alien.

    And just becuse the doctor was present at the birth doesn’t mean that the mother is actually the mother of the child she gave birth to. She might be a surrogate mother for some wealthy illegals who are willing to do anything to make sure that their child gets to be president.

    /SNARK OFF

  60. andrew says:

    Isn’t this whole “birther” thing just payback for the media/Democrats pushing those conspiracy theories about George Bush being AWOL. Anyway, it’s funny as hell.

  61. Drew says:

    Boy, I’ve just plucked that last arrow out. (They sting, too.)

    If that document is legit, then its game over. I guess its testament to how little attention I’ve paid to this issue that I didn’t know it existed. Is it legit?

    I know how desperately some of you want to categorize certain people, me included. I also find it amusing.

    Carry on.

  62. Rob Prather says:

    tom p,

    I bet you got a COLB. That’s what the State of Mississippi gave me a few years ago.

  63. anjin-san says:

    > yet people do expect to see more out of Obama for some reason.

    Well, he is, you know…. a… negro.

  64. Scott says:

    “Why not release the original?”

    And while were at it maybe just one more investigation into the death of Vince Foster

  65. jwest says:

    Mantis,

    “Take my challenge first. Find a Hawaii resident to go and demand their long-form birth certificate. See what happens.”

    Any Hawaiian resident who wants a copy of their long-form birth certificate can have one. You really should try to understand what the facts are.

  66. sam says:

    @Drew

    “If that document is legit, then its game over. I guess its testament to how little attention I’ve paid to this issue that I didn’t know it existed. Is it legit?”

    Dude, if this doesn’t convince you, then you are beyond any hope of a rational discussion (you can join jwest in the birther leper colony)

    Born in the U.S.A. – The truth about Obama’s birth certificate

  67. jwest says:

    Sam,

    Because of all the misinformation associated with this subject, it’s hard for people to grasp the basic facts. Let’s take the information you linked to as an example.

    “FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate.”

    Here, FactCheck.org conflates the “original” birth certificate with the COLB that the Obama campaign released. In reality, this is a false statement.

    “The Associated Press quoted Chiyome Fukino as saying that both she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.”

    This is a true statement; however there are people on this very website who insist that the original has been destroyed.

    Personally, I’m 100% convinced that Obama is a natural born citizen based on his having a U.S. citizen for a mother. Even if it turns out he was born in Kenya, it doesn’t make any difference in his citizenship or his legitimacy as president. However, I do believe that Obama’s refusal to release the original birth certificate raises questions that the public deserve to have answers to.

  68. Brummagem Joe says:

    jwest says:
    Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 08:34
    “However, I do believe that Obama’s refusal to release the original birth certificate raises questions that the public deserve to have answers to.”

    Another one of the “I don’t believe he murdered his wife…but it could be trrue” pieces of spin. We know the public good is your only concern jwest. It’s heart warming to know the country still has people whose only concern is the truth.

  69. george says:

    This is mainly a political football. If that original birth certificate was somehow presented, most of the birthers would say it was a forgery. I don’t think there’s any feasible evidence that would change most of their minds (that’s the fun thing about conspiracies – all evidence is just part of the conspiracy – the truthers and fake moon landers share this, as do the flat earth society … who incidentally still exist as well).

    Something like this was predictable, and would have happened no matter which democrat candidate (there’s always something to quibble about on anyone) became president, because to a large extent its about power. Clinton and Lewinsky and Whitewater Gate, Bush had going AOL and the truthers, Obama has the birthers. Perhaps it just gives people something to do.

  70. jukeboxgrad says:

    jwest:

    Any Hawaiian resident who wants a copy of their long-form birth certificate can have one. You really should try to understand what the facts are.

    The one who “really should try to understand what the facts are” is you. It is not the case that “any Hawaiian resident who wants a copy of their long-form birth certificate can have one.”

    Okubo has said this:

    “That (what was posted on the Internet) is considered a birth certificate from the state of Hawaii. … There’s only one form of birth certificate,” she said, and it’s been the same since the 1980s. Birth certificates evolve over the decades, she said, and there are no doubt differences between the way birth certificates looked when Obama was born and now. “When you request a birth certificate, the one you get looks exactly like the one posted on his site,” she said. “That’s the birth certificate.”

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/jul/01/obamas-birth-certificate-final-chapter-time-we-mea/

    What’s been true for decades is that Hawaii only issues the short form. Period. Notice this:

    The Hawaii Department of Health’s birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate

    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html

    The birth request form is here, so you can see for yourself:

    http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/pdf/birth.pdf

    The form is called “Request for Certified Copy of Birth Record.” And that’s exactly all that the state is willing to provide: a certified copy. Which is exactly what you see posted at the top of Doug’s article.

    If you claim it is true that “any Hawaiian resident who wants a copy of their long-form birth certificate can have one,” then you should do this: show us a single example of any “Hawaiian resident” who has made such a request in recent decades and has had that request fulfilled. Does it occur to you to even stop and wonder why you have never heard of such an example? If there was such an example, the birthers would be screaming about it.

    If Obama asked them for that document, and they gave it him, they would be doing something for him that they’re not willing to do for anyone else. There’s no reason for them to do that, and there’s no reason for him to expect them to do that. A state should not provide special privileges just because the person happens to be president. The request would be inappropriate, and granting the request would be inappropriate.

  71. jukeboxgrad says:

    It’s also worth understanding the problems that would ensue if Hawaii did indeed treat Obama differently, and release a kind of document that they haven’t released in decades.

    The official position of the state of Hawaii is that every COLB, including Obama’s, is legal proof of birth. The birther position is that Obama’s COLB is not legal proof of birth. If the state were to deviate from its current policy and release a different form, it would be indicating, by its actions, that the birther position is correct. How does that not invalidate every past and future COLB held by every other Hawaiian?

    If you were an attorney in a proceeding where your client could benefit by proving that someone’s COLB was invalid, it would indeed be rational, or even mandatory, for you to raise this argument. Which means that a huge can of worms would be opened.

  72. jukeboxgrad says:

    george:

    if that original birth certificate was somehow presented, most of the birthers would say it was a forgery.

    This is another important point that is often overlooked.

    It would be foolish to expect the nuts to be satisfied by this. The release of the document would be followed by a series of questions about its authenticity, and there would be further demands for officials to jump through further hoops to respond to those questions.

    The Hawaii DOH (Department of Health) has already said that Obama’s COLB is authentic. There is no reason to demand anything further unless those officials are considered untrustworthy. But if they are considered untrustworthy, why trust them to release something other than a forgery? If the birthers don’t trust DOH to make an honest statement, why should we expect them to trust DOH to release a genuine document?

    This process doesn’t end. Nuts don’t suddenly turn into non-nuts because one more document gets released.

  73. jukeboxgrad says:

    One more thing. When I say “a huge can of worms would be opened,” I should be more specific.

    If Hawaii releases Obama’s long-form certificate, it would cast on a shadow on the legal status of every Hawaiian COLB. Attorneys in certain cases would have an incentive to try to invalidate COLBs that were presented in court. The result is that it would become rational for every Hawaiian to demand that DOH do for them what it did for Obama: release something ‘better’ than a COLB. Many people would want that, and DOH would not have a good reason to turn them down. This would be a mess, and require DOH to do a lot of extra work. The whole point of the certified copy (COLB) is that it’s a computerized system, so there’s less labor involved, as compared with digging papers out of a warehouse.

    But I’m sure the people who want smaller government have no problem trying to create a situation where DOH would have to hire more people. And of course they are also federalists, but have no problem with the idea that a state would change their rules because the president said he wanted something from them that they aren’t willing to give to anyone else. States should always do what the president tells them to do, right?

  74. mantis says:

    Any Hawaiian resident who wants a copy of their long-form birth certificate can have one.

    Prove it. Find one single Hawaiian birther to walk in and ask for one. Just one. That’s all it takes. Surely you birthers can find one willing person in Hawaii, right? After all the money you idiots have spend on lawsuits? That’s all you need to do is find one.

    I’ve been saying this for years. Alas, no Hawaiian has shown they can go do what you claim. Prove it or STFU, dumbass birther.

  75. anjin-san says:

    > However, I do believe that Obama’s refusal to release the original birth certificate raises questions that the public deserve to have answers to.

    Really? What questions are those? Why someone who is just as American as you or I should have to jump through hoops to appease redneck morons who will hate him regardless of what he does?

  76. mantis says:

    Thanks for laying it out there while I took a break from the idiots, jukeboxgrad. Not that it will convince any birthers, but still…

  77. Drew says:

    “Well, he is, you know…. a… negro.”

    Please, anjin-san. I would have thought that beneath you.

  78. anjin-san says:

    > Please, anjin-san. I would have thought that beneath you.

    Do you really deny that there are folks out there who hate Obama simply because he has far more power than they want to see a black man have? It’s certainly not the only reason some folks don’t like him, but it is in the mix.

    I grew up in the civil rights era Drew, and I saw the shit my black friends went through first hand. Things have changed, but they have not changed as much as they need to.

  79. slimslowslider says:

    Always great to read your comments, Jukeboxgrad, especially on this topic.

  80. mantis says:

    According to the 2010 census, Hawaii has a population of 1,360,301. Surely one of them can go try to get a long-form birth certificate, right, jwest? How hard can it be to just find one willing person among more than a million?

  81. anjin-san says:

    Drew,

    I spent a little time on the phone with one of my relatives the other day. She is a cool old lady, a real pistol. But when the talk turned to politics, she commented “That Obama. He does not give a hoot in hell about real Americans. All he wants to do is give our money to the foreign people… his people”.

    Where is this coming from exactly? Lots of Republicans hated Clinton, but they never talked this kind of crazy crap about him.

  82. jukeboxgrad says:

    slim, mantis, thank you.

    According to the 2010 census, Hawaii has a population of 1,360,301. Surely one of them can go try to get a long-form birth certificate, right, jwest? How hard can it be to just find one willing person among more than a million?

    Yes, exactly. And it’s not just that they have failed to get one currently (for anyone). If such a request were refused today, they would claim that the purpose of the refusal is to protect Obama. Trouble is, they also can’t show us an example of anyone in recent decades being able to obtain the long-form version.

    The best the birthers can do on this point is make a fuss about the Nordyke twins:

    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=105347
    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2009/Jul/28/ln/hawaii907280345.html

    But those documents were apparently issued fifty years ago. Here’s one clue that these documents were not issued recently: they are “photostats.” Anyone seen a photostat machine lately? Xerox put them out of business when the Nordykes were tots.

  83. sam says:

    @Anjin

    “But when the talk turned to politics, she commented “That Obama. He does not give a hoot in hell about real Americans. All he wants to do is give our money to the foreign people… his people”.

    Where is this coming from exactly? Lots of Republicans hated Clinton, but they never talked this kind of crazy crap about him.”

    Here’s your answer: Fox Geezer Syndrome

  84. mantis says:

    Anyone seen a photostat machine lately?

    Yeah, it’s right here next to my mimeograph and my spirit duplicator!

  85. jwest says:

    Jukeboxgrad, Mantis et al.,

    Before embarking on a search for a Hawaiian resident who successfully obtained a long-form birth certificate, let’s take a deep breath and probe the depths of logic here.

    I believe we all agree now that long forms exists, either in paper form, digitally scanned or on microfilm. We should all agree that the State of Hawaii issues the COLB, just as a number of other states do, for simplicity, efficiency and standardization. Everyone understands that.

    Now to the logic portion of this pop quiz……

    Considering that the long form contains information not found on the COLB, including doctor’s name, hospital (if any), birth weight, etc., is it inconceivable that an individual would want access to his information for medical, legal or personal reasons?

    Assuming the logical answer to the previous question is “yes”, can any of you imagine a scenario in which a state agency would refuse to give that information to the citizen?

    If “yes”, please use the space below to justify how you, as (hypothetically) an elected state official, would explain the refusal to a citizen.

  86. mantis says:

    A document and information are not the same thing, jwest.

  87. Drew says:

    anjin-san –

    “Where is this coming from exactly? Lots of Republicans hated Clinton, but they never talked this kind of crazy crap about him.”

    Of course they did, just as the left did about Bush and Cheney.

    There are plenty of crazed, deranged partisans on both sides. Just look at the response to my posts in this thread. I stated that I wasn’t aware of the document, yet I’m labeled a birther. Even sam went off the deep end.

    These people are just clowns (not sam) but most must have pitchfork in hand as they post.

    But this constant invokation of race is just so intellectually light and tiring. Yes, there are racists, weirdos etc on both sides. But to constantly talk race is just cheap.

    I can’t stand Cornell West. I love Thomas Solow. Am I a racist one day, and OK the next? Please.

  88. sam says:

    “Even sam went off the deep end.”

    For Christ’s sake, I didn’t go off any deep end. You said you’d never seen the COLB, and asked if it was legit:

    “If that document is legit, then its game over. I guess its testament to how little attention I’ve paid to this issue that I didn’t know it existed. Is it legit?”

    I said if the evidence at Factcheck didn’t convince you (or anyone), then you’d be the one off the deep end.

  89. mantis says:

    I stated that I wasn’t aware of the document, yet I’m labeled a birther.

    The document is at the top of this page. The document is at the top of this page. The document is at the top of this page.

    Forgive us if we found your claims that the document at the top of this page had not been released to be disingenuous, because, you know, it’s at the top of this page.

  90. Drew says:

    Uh, sam –

    “Dude, if this doesn’t convince you, then you are beyond any hope of a rational discussion (you can join jwest in the birther leper colony)”

    I said: “if its legit, its game over.” Period. As I said: Game over. Get it? Game over? G-a-m-e. O-v-e-r.

    As you went over the cliff you were imputing something and shouting insanely about a birther leper colony…..

    mantis: uh, er, because its the internet??

  91. sam says:

    Drude, your reading comprehension skills need honing.

  92. mantis says:

    mantis: uh, er, because its the internet??

    Or…you’re a dumbass. I can see why you might not want to admit that.

  93. george says:

    > Where is this coming from exactly? Lots of Republicans hated Clinton, but they never talked this kind of crazy crap about him.”

    Actually they did. For that matter, the same kind of crazy was said about Bush.

  94. anjin-san says:

    > I can’t stand Cornell West. I love Thomas Solow. Am I a racist one day, and OK the next? Please.

    Well, speaking only for myself, I don’t agree with your politics, but based on what I know about you I would be highly dubious of any claims you are a racist.

    > But this constant invokation of race is just so intellectually light and tiring.

    Perhaps. But race is an area where the GOP needs to do some housecleaning, and Democrats are not going to stay silent on the issue in the meantime. We all make comments that are intellectually light sometimes, as there is not enough time for deep thinking and serious writing, and we all must enjoy posting a lot or we would not be here.

    On another topic, think I am going to pull the trigger on the Harbeths. Spent a few hours listening to them today and was very impressed. Actually had a demo by Alan Shaw at CES a few years back, that was pretty cool. Check out Youn Sun Nah sometime. Her new album just came out & she may well be the breakout jazz vocalist this year.

  95. jukeboxgrad says:

    jwest:

    We should all agree that the State of Hawaii issues the COLB, just as a number of other states do, for simplicity, efficiency and standardization.

    It’s not just “a number of other states.” I’m pretty sure it’s most or all states. And standardization is indeed a key underlying issue. There are federal guidelines relevant to this. I explained more details about this here:

    http://volokh.com/2010/08/31/the-ultimate-legal-blog-comment/comment-page-24/#comment-936729

    Considering that the long form contains information not found on the COLB, including doctor’s name, hospital (if any), birth weight, etc., is it inconceivable that an individual would want access to his information for medical, legal or personal reasons? … can any of you imagine a scenario in which a state agency would refuse to give that information to the citizen?

    As mantis told you, “a document and information are not the same thing.” The law in Hawaii is probably similar to the law in most or all other states. The Hawaii law says this:

    §338-13 Certified copies.

    (a) Subject to the requirements of sections 338-16, 338-17, and 338-18, the department of health shall, upon request, furnish to any applicant a certified copy of any certificate, or the contents of any certificate, or any part thereof.

    (b) Copies of the contents of any certificate on file in the department, certified by the department shall be considered for all purposes the same as the original, subject to the requirements of sections 338-16, 338-17, and 338-18.

    (c) Copies may be made by photography, dry copy reproduction, typing, computer printout or other process approved by the director of health. [L 1949, c 327, §17; RL 1955, §57-16; am L Sp 1959 2d, c 1, §19; HRS §338-13; am L 1978, c 49, §1]

    http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrs2008/Vol06_Ch0321-0344/HRS0338/HRS_0338-0013.htm

    The state is required you to give you the “contents” (i.e., “information”) from the original document. They are not required to give you the original form itself, or a photocopy of the original form itself. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like this, or you think it’s wrong. This is just the way it is. If you don’t like it, work to change the law.

    The logic behind this has to do with standardization, and it has to do with saving money. States computerized these systems roughly twenty years ago, when computer storage was infinitely more expensive than it is now (and other relevant computer resources were also more expensive, like the ability to transmit large amounts of data, and the ability to print graphics). As a result, these systems don’t generally store images of the original forms. Rather, they just store the most important data, in textual form. Then when a certified copy of the basic data is needed, it’s a simple matter to print it from the computer. Accessing the complete original form is much more difficult and expensive, because it’s stored away in a pile of boxes in a warehouse somewhere.

    Digging out one particular form is not an insurmountable problem, but once this is done for one person, the natural result is that everyone else will want the same thing done for them. Like I said, this opens a big can of worms. So there are good reasons why Hawaii and most or all other states handle this the way they handle this.

    So no, neither Obama nor anyone else has the right to require Hawaii to present a copy of the original form. Obama does have the right to ask Hawaii to tell him details from that form, but this isn’t what the birthers are demanding, and this wouldn’t satisfy the birthers.

    please use the space below to justify how you, as (hypothetically) an elected state official, would explain the refusal to a citizen.

    There is no “refusal” to provide the “information.” However, there is indeed a refusal to provide a photocopy of the original form, and I just explained why.

    You should know that the citizens of Hawaii elected the lawmakers who created the law I cited. So a “citizen” who doesn’t like this needs to work to change the law. And a key part of the law is this:

    Copies of the contents of any certificate on file in the department, certified by the department shall be considered for all purposes the same as the original

    Which means that it’s hard to imagine why some other “information” from the original form would be needed, in this case or in any other case. What is needed to prove birth, according to the law, has already been presented. Birthers say that something else is needed, but this means ignoring the law.

    There is a related issue that pops up, regarding the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. I explained the details about that here:

    http://volokh.com/2010/02/09/birther-claim-about-obama-and-the-bush-national-guard-hoax-fruit-of-the-same-poisonous-tree/#comment-748286

  96. jukeboxgrad says:

    Let’s review something. jwest, you said this:

    Any Hawaiian resident who wants a copy of their long-form birth certificate can have one.

    I have shown that this claim is false. You can get “contents” from that form, but you can’t get a “copy.” Here’s some more proof that your claim is false:

    the State Department of Health (DOH) no longer issues Certificates of Live Birth. When a request is made for a copy of a birth certificate, the DOH issues a Certification of Live Birth.

    http://hawaii.gov/dhhl/applicants/appforms/applyhhl
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/jul/28/worldnetdaily/birthers-claim-gibbs-lied-when-he-said-obamas-birt/

    “Certification of Live Birth” is what is called a COLB, and that is what Doug posted at the top of his article. ‘Certificate of Live Birth’ means the “long form” that the birthers are demanding.

    When are you going to retract your false claim, and apologize for making a false claim?

  97. michael reynolds says:

    I like mantis.

  98. anjin-san says:

    > the same kind of crazy was said about Bush.

    What, the AWOL thing? Given the way Bush’s family got him a pass from Vietnam, and the slacker attitude he had towards his service obligations, the AWOL thing was not all that far fetched. It may not have been true, but it was hardly a paranoid fantasy.

  99. george says:

    >What, the AWOL thing? Given the way Bush’s family got him a pass from Vietnam, and the slacker attitude he had towards his service obligations, the AWOL thing was not all that far fetched. It may not have been true, but it was hardly a paranoid fantasy.

    Actually I was thinking of the (strong) truther theory that he was behind what happened on 9-11 (as opposed to just being incompetent). There’s a real element of crazy in believing that, which is quite different to the AWOL theory, or lying about the WMD in Iraq, both of which may or may not be true, but are at the very least plausible. The thing about both the birthers and the truthers is that you really have to display the kind of willful suspension of disbelief that makers of C grade spy thrillers require of their audiences.

  100. anjin-san says:

    @ Sam

    > Here’s your answer: Fox Geezer Syndrome

    Luckily my mother loves PBS. My father was a lifelong Republican, but he felt that Bush turned the GOP into a joke, and basically hated him with the fury of 1000 white hot suns after the invasion of Iraq and the post 9.11 assault on civil liberties and embrace of torture/gulags. So I am pretty lucky, parent wise. Can’t imagine how my dad would have reacted if he saw the show Beck did last week, but I imagine the destruction of a TV set would be involved.

    He was a brilliant guy who spoke 5 languages, was a popular lecturer at bay area law schools, could recite Henry V from memory and discuss a remarkably wide array of subjects with wit and insight. He thought of himself as a conservative. Certainly he would be despised by many folks who describe themselves thus these days. What a frigging shame.

  101. anjin-san says:

    > Actually I was thinking of the (strong) truther theory that he was behind what happened on 9-11 (as opposed to just being incompetent).

    That was pretty much the fringe of the fringe on the left. The belief that Obama is not an American is mainstream thought in the GOP.

  102. jukeboxgrad says:

    which is quite different to the AWOL theory, or lying about the WMD in Iraq, both of which may or may not be true

    “AWOL” might not be the right term technically, but it is indeed the case that Bush failed to meet his service obligations:

    http://volokh.com/2010/11/29/say-it-aint-so-matt/#comment-1076770

    And “lying about the WMD in Iraq” is also a documented fact:

    http://volokh.com/2011/01/10/the-first-amendment-and-speech-that-allegedly-threatens-public-officials/#comment-1110628

    Also see here:

    http://volokh.com/posts/1199673472.shtml#311408

  103. mantis says:

    I like mantis.

    You and my mother makes two!

  104. matt says:

    “Where is this coming from exactly? Lots of Republicans hated Clinton, but they never talked this kind of crazy crap about him.”

    The difference in Clinton’s era is that the Republicans/Conservatives were forced to keep the accusations on the semi down low. For example you didn’t have the Republican leaders saying Clinton killed Foster just their underlings. Instead you had the leaders on the TV circuit talking about how Clinton has sullied the position of president etc. I imagine what we are seeing now is just the Republicans/Conservatives being more open about their crazy..

  105. Charles says:

    Even though birthers is a derogatory term made up by the left you can me in as one of them. And I say to all us birthers hang in there the left is standing on thin ice and they know it. More and more people are waking up and seeing Obama as a fraud. As the old saying goes : You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time. Hang in there people its about to hit the fan.

  106. Charles, you’re stupid enough to say and believe that, while posting in a thread *that shows his COLB*? Where is the basis of this? No, really, what basis do you have that hasn’t been thoroughly disposed of by people on both sides of the aisle?

  107. jukeboxgrad says:

    “Karl Rove: Birther rumors discredit GOP”

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49748.html

    Maybe that’s Charles’ goal. Keep up the good work!

    Or maybe Charles knows that Rove is part of the conspiracy to protect Obama. Along with WSJ, who said this:

    Obama has already provided a legal birth certificate demonstrating that he was born in Hawaii.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574320190095246658.html

    WSJ is obviously a commie rag.

    Or there’s this alternate explanation: the GOP base is now officially nuts.