Where was the question of where Obama was born, born? That is now the question. And GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has his own answer: “Hillary Clinton, and her campaign of 2008, started the Birther controversy,” he said at a Friday campaign event. “I finished it.”
This assertion has now been backed up by a reporter, too, with former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher revealing that Clinton surrogate Sidney Blumenthal pitched the story to him in 2008.
Furthermore, even a former Clinton campaign head admits some involvement. As Breitbart reports, “Patti Solis Doyle, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager in 2008 until the Iowa caucuses, admitted on Friday that a Clinton campaign staffer had, in fact, circulated the Birther conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born outside the U.S. and therefore potentially ineligible to serve in the presidency.” Doyle, however, claims the staffer was a “rogue” whom she quickly fired.
Yet there may be an even earlier and more notable source of Birtherism: Barack Obama himself.
Moreover, he may not qualify as a natural-born citizen even if he can boast U.S. birth, according to what some say is the proper constitutional interpretation. More on these issues later.
Trump, apparently responding to a Thursday tweet in which Clinton accused him of heading the Birther movement, made his comments (video below) at a campaign event at his new hotel in Washington, D.C. Aiming to put the Birther issue behind him as well as at the Democratic nominee’s feet, he followed his accusation against her by boldly stating, “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”
This has been a bad week for Clinton. Beginning with her passing out at the N.Y.C. 9/11 ceremony and continuing with Trump passing her in more polls, her raising of the Birther issue appears to be blowing up in her face. Just consider the Twitter responses to Clinton’s from the aforementioned Asher:
Note that being someone who advocates changing the National Anthem, saying it’s “tainted by racism,” Asher is no conservative.
And neither is former Clinton advisor Mark Penn, who wrote a 2007 memo highlighting “Obama's perceived 'lack of American roots' as a potential liability,” writes the Daily Mail. The paper continued, “‘[H]is roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited,’ wrote Penn. ‘I cannot imagine electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.’ Penn went on to advise Clinton to say in every speech she was 'born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century' as a way of showing a contrast without going 'negative' — something Clinton frequently did.”
While Penn didn’t claim Obama was born overseas, the memo does illustrate how the Clinton campaign was the first to question Obama’s Americanism.
But then there’s the man who apparently did claim Obama was born overseas: Obama himself. The story originated during Obama’s early days as an author. As Breitbart reported in 2012, “Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama's then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as ‘born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.’" The booklet, which was distributed to ‘business colleagues’ in the publishing industry, includes a brief biography of Obama among the biographies of eighty-nine other authors represented by Acton & Dystel.”
The individual who helped edit the booklet, Miriam Goderich, came forward and claimed that the information about Obama was merely a “mistake.” Yet this doesn’t ring true — and not just because Acton & Dystel is a big-money, professional publishing outfit. As Breitbart also wrote, “Goderich's statement fails to explain why the ‘fact checking error’ persisted for 16 years, through at least three different versions of Jane Dystel's website, and through at least four different versions of Obama's biography. It persisted, in fact, more than two years after Obama became a United States Senator, and until after Obama had declared his campaign for the presidency in 2007.” Moreover, as American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson deduced at the time, “There is no plausible explanation of how the literary agency came to believe Obama was born in Kenya, other than that Obama told that to his agency. They could not make a mistake ‘fact checking’ without an initial fact to check. Only Obama could have supplied such information.”
For certain. As someone widely published, I can tell you that while author bios are written in the third person, the information comes from the author himself — in fact, bios may even be composed by the author.
None of this is to say Obama actually was born in Kenya (although no less than a Kenyan ambassador claimed in 2008 that he was. Video below). It’s entirely possible he simply lied knowing that, with political correctness already intense in the ‘90s, claiming exotic pedigree would enhance his cachet as an author.
Then there’s Obama’s birth certificate. Largely forgotten is that Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, assembled a group of experts to examine the long-form certificate released by the White House in 2011. And in 2012 he announced his investigators’ determination (video below):
The document is fraudulent.
Many will dismiss this as the sheriff is an Obama opponent. But consider the two most striking possibilities here:
The president of the United States is peddling a false document in what would be a con job of historical proportions.
A major law-enforcement agency in the United States is peddling a false story about the president in what would be a hit job of historical proportions.
Either way, it’s a huge story — that has been successfully buried.
Yet some say that digging deeper reveals another matter here: that even if Obama’s life narrative is absolutely accurate, he’s still not constitutionally qualified for the White House.
At issue is the definition of “natural born Citizen,” a status the Constitution deems necessary for the presidency. One perspective, as put forth by the Harvard Law Review, is that the term reflects British common law and “means a citizen from birth with no need to go through naturalization proceedings.” Another view is that it “is almost certain that the men who drafted our Constitution accepted Swiss legal philosopher Emerich de Vattel as the authority on the definition of” natural born Citizen, wrote The New American's Joe Wolverton, II, J.D. in 2013. He continued, “In his seminal treatise, The Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law, Vattel wrote, ‘Natural born citizens are those born in a country to parents who are also citizens of that country. Particularly, if the father of the person is not a citizen then the child is not a citizen either. Children cannot inherit from parents rights not enjoyed by them.’” Wolverton concludes, “Obama’s father was not an American citizen at the time of his son’s birth — and thus the president is the child of a person with legal allegiance to a foreign sovereignty and therefore does not conform to the accepted legal definition of ‘natural born citizen’ and is thus not constitutionally qualified to be president.”
Of course, this standard also disqualifies senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and many other individuals as well.
Whatever the case, this debate indicates that we should spend more time studying old words and seek to clarify and less time inventing new words, such as “Birther,” meant to vilify.