As a sign that discussion of “birthers” claims that the President was not been born in the United States has reached feverit pitch, the House of Representatives earlier this week “unanimously passed a resolution stating that Obama was born in Hawaii.” Echoing David Kuhn, blogging law professor William Jacobson believes “discussion of the birth certificate issue has exploded in the past month, pushed mostly by Obama supporters as part of a political tactic against Republicans.”
It seems that tactic has failed. Unanimous passage of a House resolution means no Republicans voted against this resolution. A slightly higher percentage of Democrats did not vote on the measure than did Republicans.
Over the past few months, I have talked to quite a few “birthers” and while not sharing their skepticism about the place of Obama’s birth, I am impressed with their awareness of the “missing” evidence. Yet, just because evidence is missing does not mean it’s not there. (And in this case, it’s not missing, just not publicly available.) I believe Barack Obama was indeed born in the United States and has met the constitutional requirements to serve as President (whether he has the qualities to govern effectively is another issue altogether).
A House vote is not likely to satisfy the birthers. To them, the evidence is still missing. The only way to quiet their drum beat would be for the President to authorize the release of his birth certificate. After all, didn’t he promise a new era of unprecedented transparency when he took office?
Officials in Hawaii have confirmed that the original, long-form paper birth certificate filled out at the time of President Obama’s birth exists. The President can easily ask them to release a copy of the document to the media to be photographed at high resolution, where it can be posted on news web sites and blogs around the word and debated and parsed, ultimately shutting down all but the most fringe elements of the debate, those that still believe that 9/11 was an inside job and that Ron Paul would have made a good President.
It only takes a phone call. Do this, Mr. President.
The President has it within his power to quiet this minor media firestorm. Release the Birth Certificate to allow the focus to return to your agenda.