Why Obama’s records — not his birth certificate — matter

James Lewis nails what’s driving the Birther issue, and gives a very good reason why we should abandon the birth certificate, but nevertheless focus on the other records:

The birth debate about Obama is real enough, but it is legally complicated, as analyzed by legal beagle Andrew McCarthy at National Review. No judge is going to question the Constitutional qualifications of an elected president. I’m sorry, but that’s the practical reality. The judge is going to follow stare decisis — the sheer weight of commitments that cannot be reversed without creating chaos. Once the political system of the United States, the voters, the media, and the politicians themselves are all committed to the proposition that Obama is president, trying to reverse it would mean riots in every city in the nation. At some point even debatable claims become irreversible. That is why Al Franken is now the US Senator from Minnesota, even if his election was corrupt and wrong. It’s water under the bridge. Leave it to history.

And yet the Obama “birther” debate is important. What’s important about it is the feeling a growing number of Americans have in their bones that Obama is foreign — to our traditions, loyalties and shared understandings about the nature of America. In a way the legal debate matters less than that bone-deep sense that Obama is fundamentally “Other than American.”

Obama’s in for the next four years, folks.  His citizenship or lack thereof is a dead issue.  It’s not coming back.  But who he is still matters a great deal, both in terms of defining his agenda for the American people and in preventing him for a four year re-run in 2012.  It’s all the other records — the school information, the work information, the travel to Pakistan in 1981, etc. — that still matters.  These will tell us if his much-vaunted genius is one of the big lies and, even more importantly, who his friends and what his values really are.

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Comments

  1. says

    Can’t destroy enemies without intelligence on them. That’s why the US needed informants in Iraq.

    It’s one thing to have the power to kill, but quite another to understand when and where.

  2. suek says

    “No judge is going to question the Constitutional qualifications of an elected president. I’m sorry, but that’s the practical reality.”

    I was about to plant this link here – it’s really an excellent article.

    But I hope _this_ statement is wrong. I do understand it.

    If a person murders another, what difference does it make if the murderer serves jail time, or is executed? It won’t bring the dead person back.

    Would you advocate for that? I wouldn’t. Justice _must_ be served, or there is no point in having laws. Yes, it will create chaos. But the Dems voted for that chaos when they passed on checking his eligility. (Making the assumption here, that O really _isn’t_ eligible.) I think the Dems knew it, and it sounds like Lewis has come to that conclusion as well.

    And of course…maybe it’s all a big bag of smoke.

    Drag out the birth certificate – the original long form – and all the various secret information and lets see.

  3. Ariel says

    Suek,
    On principle I have to agree with you. If there were definitive, incontrovertible proof that Obama was not “a natural born Citizen” (however that is defined, McCain for example) I could not consider him the legitimate POTUS. On the pragmatic side, it likely would be left to history to decide. I would hope we would never let it happen again.

    This, I think, is the most important insight:
    “And yet the Obama “birther” debate is important. What’s important about it is the feeling a growing number of Americans have in their bones that Obama is foreign — to our traditions, loyalties and shared understandings about the nature of America. In a way the legal debate matters less than that bone-deep sense that Obama is fundamentally “Other than American.”

  4. suek says

    >>In a way the legal debate matters less than that bone-deep sense that Obama is fundamentally “Other than American.”>>

    I wonder what blacks think about Obama these days. If they felt betrayed by him, would they be able to say so?

    In the days long ago when we were in Europe, there were times when it was a blessing to see a black man – we knew he would speak English. I understand it is different today, but that’s how it was then. Blacks in the US today are American, for the most part. No matter how much they might pine for the glory days of Africa before their forbears were enslaved, they are today, American. Some of them are probably not even aware of it. Some have been so indoctrinated that they have learned to hate America, even though they’re still – down deep – American. Obama is for them a Pied Piper. Will they follow him _anywhere_ ? or is there a limit?

    I wonder.

  5. Mike Devx says

    suek #4:

    > Will they follow him _anywhere_ ? or is there a limit? I wonder.

    SueK, I suspect you already know the answer to this one! The answer is, Obama would have to really mess up, at a very deep level, for them to turn their back on him. They have adopted him as the first black president, at an emotional level. It’s hard to see him doing something that would result in their feeling betrayed, because once you’ve made that kind of emotional commitment, you’re in for the long haul, and you’re blinded by love.

    It’s almost like the utterly devoted wife whose husband is blatantly cheating on her. And she can’t see it – but solely because she refuses to see it. Or even worse, the husband who is molesting their child. At a deep level, she knows it’s happening, but there’s no way to face up to it, so the knowledge would remain deeply repressed.

    Obama hasn’t done anything yet that would lead to that kind of situation. Sure, we conservatives think he’s worthless and execrable, but the liberals ought to still like him quite a lot. Their only objection so far should be that he’s just not very effective. (Which is why Jonah Goldberg, as Book pointed out in another recent post, shows that the liberals in the media are complaining that he needs to go all LBJ on his opponents, when he lacks the political experience and traits to do so.)

    But liberal blacks ought to remain happy with him; it would only make sense. To reject him, they would have to reject their own liberalism! Because what he’s failing at is liberalism/Statism itself. Until the whole thing collapses into COMPLETE misery, you can’t expect them to approach such a rejection even tentatively.

    It’s that 25% of the moderates we should be targeting, not the liberal Statists.

  6. Gringo says

    As a followup to Mike, recall that blacks voted ~ 92% for Kerry etc. For better or worse, blacks have been yellow dog Democrats for some time- ignore the irony in that statement, please. The additional percentage for ∅bama due to race isn’t that great. Also recall that JFK got a lot of Irish-American votes because he was “one of us.” While the arguments against ∅bama should be made to everyone, including blacks, one should not expect much deviation from the 97% approval rate blacks now give ∅bama .

    Agree that we should focus on the 25% of moderates.

    I agree that the issue is the paucity of ∅bama’s record trail, such as the trip to Pakistan. Such as, in contrast to Gore, Dubya, and Kerry, Obama’s not releasing his college transcripts nor SAT scores. (Exception: don’t think Kerry released his SAT scores: he knew that the perceived intelligence difference between “intellectual” Kerry and dumb Dubya was much smaller than the actual difference. Recall some analyses that Dubya had higher Armed Forces test scores than Kerry. But I digress.)

    We combine the paucity of a record trail with his less than forthright statements about such associates as Tony Rezko, Billy Ayers, and Reverend Wright, and it is not difficult to conclude: we don’t really know this man. With Dubya, what you saw was what you got. While I didn’t have high opinions of Gore or Kerry, I had an idea of who they were, of what they would say or do.

    ∅bama long has given me the impression that he doesn’t know mainstream America. Such as his “bitter clinging to guns & religion” remark: no one who has a clue about rural America would make such a remark, even in speculation ( and I believe it was made in speculation.) But this is really commonsense: how can someone whose life experience in the US has been Hawaii, the Ivy League + Occidental College, and the South Side of Chicago- very definitely outliers to the American experience- know about “mainstream” America?

    In some ways he appears to even not know Chicago: recall his talking about “Cominsky Field” in his interview with Bob Costas during the All Star break. While Kaminski Park appears to be a Chicagoese adaptation of “Comiskey Park,” how can anyone who knows anything about Chicago call it Field? I wager that 90% of males OUTSIDE of Chicago would identify it as “Comisky Park.” ( Now with a different name, due to a corporate sponsor.)

  7. expat says

    I agree that we need to win moderates, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to dampen the enthusiasm of the leftist single-issue supporters of Obama. If they feel they have been used or sold out, they are less likely to donate money and do legwork for the next campaign. Next time around maybe even the young will swap hope and change for been there, done that.

  8. suek says

    >>…he knew that the perceived intelligence difference between “intellectual” Kerry and dumb Dubya was much smaller than the actual difference.>>

    The fact that this was even offered as a factor is one of the symptoms of the problems on the Left. What difference does it make – the SAT scores or the grades they made in school? If it really made a difference, we could just require the SATs to supply us with scores, and appoint the highest scoring person as President. Or ask the Ivy League colleges to publish the highest grades and use that as a guide.

    In fact, it’s irrelevant. All those stories about the absent minded professor are not without some basis. Brains and the ability to pack information in one’s mind are not the assets we look for. They’re helpful, yes. But learning the times tables up to 13 is a tool – not an end accomplishment. It’s what you _do_ with the knowledge and brains that makes the difference. There’s also the assumption that a standard education in itself is the key to success. Home schooling is looked down upon. It isn’t what you know – it’s also required that you came to your knowledge in the accepted way. Otherwise, it doesn’t count – we’re not _sure_ you really know stuff. We only know that if you’ve shown it on the SATs or had approved people giving you grades. In spite of acknowledged grade creep.

    I have an autistic grandson. If you tell him your birthday, and ask him what day that falls on in …say…15 years, he can tell you. His accomplishments other than that are severely limited.

    I’m not saying that IQ and education are totally irrelevant, but they _are_ irrelevant to a political campaign. If the person is so fantastic, it should be apparent in their accomplishments.

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