Friday, November 6, 2009 update:
Apparently Rep. Deal knew he was going to stir up quite the proverbial hornet’s nest by seriously suggesting that he was going to ask the President to see his birth certificate. So, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (h/t PeachPundit), the castigations are now beginning.
As you read through what I post from the article, below, I’m going to interject my own commentary into what the included public figures say, because I think most of them are seriously full of it; the idea that somehow someone is considered to be, essentially, other than rational for daring to question the President is, itself, asinine:
“I have looked at the documentation that is publicly available and it leaves many things to be desired,” Deal said in an interview Friday.
Deal’s statement came a day after he noted in an online chat that he would join other U.S. House members in writing the president and asking that he release a copy of his birth certificate.
Welcome to the club, Rep. Deal. Some of us have been questioning this man with only the image of an alleged document for more than a year because there’s got to be more that could be available regarding this man’s background.
I only wonder who these “other U.S. House members” are.
He stopped short of saying he was a proponent of the so-called “birthers” movement that has questioned the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship.
Don’t you just love the way that the AJC editorializes via castigation those of us who are “fringe” enough (according to whom?) to question Mr. Obama’s bona fides? If the media were just as derogatory to the Left in this country, I’d otherwise shut my electronic mouth.
A spokeswoman for Obama said the White House had no comment on Deal’s statements other than what it has said in the past when refuting claims questioning Obama’s citizenship.
Nice. I wondered how they were going to initially respond. Hopefully Rep. Deal will continue to pester the great and mighty Executive branch for an otherwise very simple bit of info for which he has every right to ask (as do the rest of we, the People).
In June 2008, Obama’s campaign office released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate — a “certification of live birth” — that shows he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. Government officials in Hawaii have verified that the document is official, as have several news organizations.
Well, at least the AJC got part of this paragraph right; all that we have to date is an image of an alleged document.
However, I’m just a bit confused: the AJC then states that “[g]overnment officials in Hawaii have verified that the document is official.” Oh, really? That’s news to those of us who have been following this issue from the get-go. Where, exactly, did the Hawaiian officials actually claim that the alleged document that the blog FactCheck.org allegedly has on hand is exactly the same document that originated from the Department of Hawaii? In other words, where’s the record of the transaction?
Oh, and the “several news organizations” claim? Who the hell are you talking about? Surely you don’t mean that other news organizations merely took the image of the COLB and said, “Yep, we hereby proclaim this to be an official document,” without one single forensics investigator actually verifying the physical document?
Yet Deal and others say they still have doubts.
Uh, yes, we do.
“What I have seen — and I think it is the only thing that has been put out — is a certification of live birth, and it just does not contain the type of information that most state birth certificates would contain,” Deal said. “It obviously does not have the signature of a doctor. Most birth certificates or even certificates of live birth have those kinds of verifications.”
Bingo. He’s on the right track.
Some of Deal’s colleagues in Congress said they are disappointed and puzzled about why the Gainesville Republican is raising the citizenship issue.
Fasten your seat belts, dear readers; rough waters ahead… over 62 words found in the Constitution…
“I’m sorry to hear that Nathan, who’s a very decent person, is raising that question,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, a strong Obama supporter. “I don’t think there’s any question, any doubt, that the president was born in America, in Hawaii.” …
In Washington, Lewis said he thought it was time to end questions about Obama’s citizenship.
“This is an issue that needs to be put to rest,” he said. “I don’t believe the president of the United States of America, knowing you must be a citizen born in America, would even consider, even think of running for president,” if he were not a citizen.
I will give Rep. Lewis one point — he states his opinion and doesn’t browbeat Rep. Deal (at least in this instance) for doing what he’s doing. Yet, it’s exceptionally incomprehensible — and politically irresponsible — to make such a broad-based assumption — assumption — that anyone who would be ambitious enough to run for the presidency would simply not run, by definition, without being eligible.
Why do I say this? Because, as I’ve documented on my site — and as Justin Riggs over at YourFellowCitizen.com has done yeoman’s work — even the major political parties take the question seriously enough to make the candidate sign a self-ascribing document in which the candidate proclaims themselves to be eligible (of course, the document assumes that the person wouldn’t lie, because it doesn’t require physical documentation to back up the claim).
So, if major political parties promulgate such documentation, what in the world is Rep. Lewis doing simply assuming that a presidential candidate wouldn’t otherwise run if they weren’t eligible?
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine said he believes Obama is a legal U.S. citizen.
“Any serious adult running for governor of Georgia needs to understand that we have a responsibility to do business with the president of United States,” Oxendine said. ” Questioning his citizenship after he has been elected to the highest office in our land is disrespectful.”
Mr. Oxendine, you’re completely out of order on this issue. Even some of the vehemently (at times) opposing commenters on my site would wholeheartedly disagree with you that it’s disrespectful to question the President.
How is it disrespectful to question the President’s bona fides? Are you suggesting that there is some sort of statute of limitations on eligibility? Who are you to determine what is considered “respectful” versus “disrespectful” questioning of any elected official?
What’s more, is this to say that if you were to be elected my Governor in our great State of Georgia that individuals such as myself couldn’t question you or your actions in office?
Mr. Oxendine, perhaps you should go ahead and simply shred the Bill of Rights while you’re at it. Obviously you have no use for the First Amendment, much less Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5.
Ben Fry, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson said, “We take the government of Hawaii at its word when they say the president is eligible to serve.”
Uh, there’s just one teensy-weensy problem with your comment, Mr. Fry: The great State of Hawaii never said a word about whether or not Mr. Obama is eligible to be President. They only ever claimed that he’s a natural born citizen, though that means absolutely nothing with respect to any legal authority on Mr. Obama’s eligibility — unless, of course, we could get the Director of Health into Court and begin questioning her for the record.
And even if the great State of Hawaii actually made such a proclamation, please do point out to me where in the Constitution it says that States are the ones responsible for enforcing the eligibility clause, with what type of documentation and to what extent such documentation is sufficient for such substantiation.
I don’t think you can do it.
Said Republican candidate Karen Handel’s spokesman Dan McLagan, “I think its pretty kooky and probably not very helpful for our water negotiations and other issues with the administration.”
I see. So, when the question is considered too weird or extreme (even though it’s completely constitutional), let’s just call the question “kooky” so we don’t have to face it head-on. Yeah — that’s exactly how I’d want my next Governor to act on a constitutional issue. Not.
Chris Carpenter, a spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes characterized Deal’s statements as “great silliness.”
Governor Barnes, there are probably a few reasons why you’re currently the former Governor of Georgia; let’s just leave it at that.
And I’m not leaving PeachPundit — a blog that I otherwise completely enjoy following via my RSS feeds for important news out of Georgia — out of my critique:
In all seriousness (too late?), I am pleased to see most of the candidates – and yes, Oxendine too – stand up and call crazy “crazy”. We’ve got serious issues on the table. I have no interest in watching top tier candidates allow themselves to be drawn in to discussions of birthers, secession, or other fringe causes of the day.
“Icarus,” oh “Icarus,” I do believe you’re rhetorically flying a bit too closely to the sun today; your waxed wings are melting, because I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.
Let me explain something to you. A “birther,” as they’ve been pejoratively called ever since anyone has begun questioning Mr. Obama’s eligibility, is merely someone who wants to see some actual, original documentation regarding the President’s background.
Is that fringe? I fail to see the illogic of the question, considering it’s actually in the Constitution.
A “secession[ist]” is someone who actively advocates for the literal dis-integration of the American States. “Tenthers,” as the term has recently been coined, merely wish to see the 10th Amendment be upheld as a balance of power between the several States and the federal government. You know, federalism, that wonderful concept that our founding fathers gave to us and that some of us feel is rapidly slipping away. Go check out Michael Boldin’s TenthAmendmentCenter.com for a complete portfolio of postings regarding federalism, not secession. Please, educate yourself before showing yourself to be so ignorant.
Is that fringe? I fail to see the illogic of federalism — unless you want to see a completely bloated federal government operating outside the confines of the Constitution.
One of the contenders for Governor in the Republican primary here in the great State of Georgia is Representative Nathan Deal. In an interesting move this morning (according to TalkingPointsMemo and AJC — oh, yes, and thanks to commenter “Geir (Gerhardt) Smith” for my h/t), the Congressman informally announced that he’s going after Mr. Obama’s birth certificate:
[He] has announced that he is signing a letter to the White House with several of his colleagues — asking for a copy of President Obama’s birth certificate.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that this isn’t the first time that Rep. Deal had been asked about presidential eligibility for Mr. Obama:
Back in July, Deal was asked a similar question by Mike Stark of the liberal Firedoglake blog. The exchange outside the U.S. Capitol was caught on a Youtube video. (Deal is at :45 and at 1:20 on the video.)
In the video, Deal is asked whether opponents need some basis in fact or reality to suggest Obama is not a legitimate president. Deal responds:
“You know, the best way to do that, I think, is to produce the birth certificate and let that be the end of it. I don`t think that`s been done yet.
Rep. Deal’s spokesman followed up with TPM on the story:
Deal’s campaign spokesman Harris Blackwood confirmed the authenticity of the chat to TPM, explaining the Congressman’s comment: “There have been so many constituents, a lot of people have asked him, they ask him on the campaign trail. Let’s just get an answer, that’s all we’re saying, not suggesting anything to the contrary.”
Showing his proverbial constitutional credentials, the AJC also reported that he’s pushing for States’ rights via the 10th Amendment:
In today’s online chat, Deal also enlisted in the 10th Amendment movement, promising that if elected governor he would “reassert the role of states rights” and “reclaim the rights that are reserved to our state” under the U.S. Constitution.
While in my view it should be applauded that there is a Congressperson willing to further push the issue to conclusively establish once and for all whether or not Mr. Obama is eligible to be President, it is interesting to note that Rep. Deal is not a co-sponsor of HR1503, Rep. Bill Posey’s (R-FL) bill that would require documentation to be submitted for all future presidential candidates to establish their background information.
Recently, there has been a bit of discussion on the eligibility front between myself and various “opposition” commenters here on my site questioning that if Mr. Obama’s eligibility were truly in question, were I suggesting that there’s a major conspiracy of hundreds of players purposefully attempting to defraud the American people. Of course, my answer was an emphatic no.
Not only would my answer to such a question be no, but I think that the general political ignorance of Article 2, Section1, Clause 5 of the Constitution so escapes federal officeholders — either intentionally or no — that most of their constituents who have asked various Members, to date, about the President’s eligibility have received form letters with nearly as many different definitions of eligibility as their are Members of Congress!
There is no conspiracy theory here, in my view. Clearly, however, there continue to be questions about this President’s background, because we have nothing. Yes, we have an image of an alleged Hawaiian Certification of Live Birth that is alleged to have been procured by the Obama campaign back in 2007. However, to date, there is neither no receipt for the transaction (after all, States don’t just give this information out to legitimate requesters for nothing!), nor has anyone of a forensics background actually physically inspected the document.
Yet, even beyond this document, the American public has absolutely nothing else in hand that substantiates who this President is. It truly is as if America has elected someone that practically came out of nowhere to be the holder of the highest political office in the land. Given the current political climate in Washington, D.C. today, for me, that doesn’t sit too well.
Again, there is nothing wrong in asking the question. In fact, I would wager that it is wrong not to, precisely for the fact that it is a quintessentially constitutional issue. And, as such, I am glad that Rep. Deal is taking the initiative — despite the fact that he may be using this as a political move in the GOP gubernatorial primary — to specifically ask the question of the President.
After all — Rep. Deal does have standing to do so!
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the dangerous disregard for our nation’s founding legal document began. It certainly predates this administration. But the culture upon which it rests might be best exemplified in the apparent Congressional and media group think that our 44th President holds no obligation to respond to questions about his Constitutional eligibility, under Article II, Section I of the Constitution, to hold the office to which he ran and was elected. This Constitutional provision states unequivocally that no person except a natural born citizen shall be eligible to the Office of President.
Is Barack Obama a natural born citizen of the United States? Probably. But because Obama is going to great lengths to conceal the documents that would settle this issue definitively, it is impossible to say for sure. Since October 2008, Obama has spent in excess of $1.35 million in legal fees to file protective and privacy motions in at least eight federal lawsuits to avoid releasing the documents–his mother’s hospital admission record, his Hawaii certificate of live birth, his educational records during his four years of residence in Indonesia, his Indonesian citizen status at that time and the time of his subsequent reentry to the U.S., and his college and law school admission records–that likely would definitively establish his Constitutional eligibility. Congress, the media, and even many Obama opponents, meanwhile, have failed to exert any pressure on him to halt his pro-active legal measures to avoid disclosure of these documents.
Quite obviously, the question of a President’s Constitutional eligibility is serious business. It was serious business when, in February 2008, The New York Times called into question Senator John McCain’s eligibility for the office because McCain was born on an American Naval base in the Panama Canal Zone, which was then under U.S. control. “It is certainly not a frivolous issue,” The Times quoted Atlanta attorney Jill Pryor as saying at the time. The questions also were serious enough for the U.S. Senate to investigate them, with the Senate ultimately concluding in a unanimous vote that the U.S. administration of the Panama Canal Zone at that time meant that McCain was indeed a natural born citizen and eligible for the Presidency. …
Let me stipulate that, despite following this issue for a year, I am utterly unable to answer that question. But logic dictates that one would not expend in excess of a million dollars in legal fees, as Obama has done, knowing that the only likely result is that a certain percentage of the American people will view such efforts as non-transparent, or even malfeasant. Conversely, it also is wrong to conclude, in the absence of these documents, that Obama has necessarily misrepresented anything about his birth location or Constitutional eligibility, as some critics of Obama’s concealment of these documents continue to do. …
The most important point is this: No national interest is served by permitting these important questions to linger and persist. To settle them, Obama should cease blocking release of the documents sought by the plaintiffs in the various federal cases over his eligibility. And going forward, it seems reasonable to insist that our nation’s Federal Election Commission (FEC), which is charged with regulatory oversight of Presidential elections, require Presidential candidates to submit, along with their candidacy filing, the documents that clearly establish their natural-born eligibility for the office. Americans’ confidence in our Constitutionally-rooted democratic political system requires no less.
Apparently Mr. Johns similarly agrees with Rep. Posey that, practically speaking, the FEC ought to be required to be the depository for background information supporting candidate eligibility.
Do tell — what would be so wrong with that?
Mr. John’s bio:
Michael Johns is a health care executive, former White House and U.S. federal government official, and a conservative policy analyst and writer. In his industry capacities, Michael has held executive management responsibilities in several components of the U.S. and global health care industry. In addition to his extensive private sector career, Michael has served as a White House speechwriter to President George H. W. Bush, a senior aide to former New Jersey Governor and 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean (R-NJ), and a senior United States Senate aide to U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Michael began his career as a policy analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation and as an editor of the foundation’s scholarly magazine, Policy Review. Michael has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, National Review, CBS HealthWatch, and other national media. He has appeared on PBS, CNBC, C-SPAN, Al Jazeera, Fox Morning News, and other networks. Michael is a graduate of the University of Miami, where he majored in economics and graduated with honors.
See the following links regarding the eligibility saga:
- The background:
- The questions:
- The State Department and Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) Natural Born Citizen Resolution (April 10, 2008)
Photo courtesy ChattahBox