Despite being reelected to a second term, or perhaps because of that, there are still a sizeable number of Americans who believe that Barack Obama is holding the office of President unconstitutionally.
Michigan State Senator Tom Casperson is the latest to fly the banner of birthers. On Michael Patrick Shiels’ radio show, Casperson blamed the media for dropping the ball on pursuing the truth behind Obama’s birth certificate. He also claimed that if this controversy had arisen with George W. Bush, Bush would have been hounded until the truth came out.
After responding “don’t know” to the question if Obama was born in the U.S., Casperson continued:
“I don’t know because it seems like that issue was dropped immediately as far as the major media went. My gut tells me if it had been a different president, like say George W. Bush, they’d have been digging into like there was no tomorrow and trying to get to the bottom of, which they never really tried to get to the bottom of, so it became a conspiracy theory and no big deal.”
“Dropped immediately” is hardly a description for the birther phenomenon. It is going on five years now and Obama’s birth certificate pops up as a news item from time to time.
Once again, we have to question not just the critical thinking skills of an elected official but his competence. Obama’s birth certificate has been analyzed up and down and sideways so many times that there is little we don’t know about it.
Obama has released the short form, the long form and Republican officials from the state of Hawaii have claimed to have seen the original and verified it as valid. Every legitimate question about the certificate has been answered factually. When critics claimed to have discovered layers in the long-form birth certificate released by the White House, as if a group of inept photoshoppers amateurishly put it together, it was pointed out that any document scanned with over-the-counter scanning software would look the same.
The birthers have yet to produce a single piece of evidence that Obama’s mother was in Kenya when the President was born or that she ever visited Kenya period.
This conspiracy has turned into one of the wackiest since the first doubters emerged about the moon landing. Just as with the moon landing, there is not a single piece of valid evidence that has ever been presented to question the official story.
Unlike the moon conspiracy, large numbers of Americans, generally conservative and Republican, cling to the idea that Obama can be swept from office if only the journalistic skills found in Watergate reporting were used.
In the interview, it was mentioned that only 26% of delegates to the Republican Party Convention in Michigan believed Obama was born in Hawaii. With numbers like that, the birther foolishness isn’t going to end anytime soon.
What is particularly disturbing with elected officials like Casperson is that he must craft and vote on complicated legislation dealing with real problems. Yet he can’t read a simple birth certificate or know how to separate the fact from fiction as an independent thinker. That’s where the real danger is in this birther nonsense.