A stake through the heart of birtherism

Mike Isikoff managed to get an interview with the Hawaii official who, at the request of Hawaii’s governor, inspected the physical birth certificate – the famous “long form” – documenting the birth in Honolulu of Barack Hussein Obama II at 7:24 pm August 4, 1961.

The official answers the question the birthers have been so relentlessly asking: Why won’t the President release the “long form”? Answer: the “short form” he asked for and got in 2007 is all you get in Hawaii. No one gets a copy of the underlying document.

The original birth certificate, with the doctor’s signature, is backed up by an entry in a bound vital-statistics index, available for public inspection.

Of course, since the whole think was an exercise in bad faith from the git-go, this won’t change anything, including Donald Trump’s ranting and Sarah Palin’s praise of Donald Trump for ranting. But I’m glad Isikoff did the work.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

33 thoughts on “A stake through the heart of birtherism”

  1. Nah. They have no shame. No corrections or apologies will be issued. The outrage and fear is needed and useful for their marketing strategy.

  2. To a birther this is at most “proof” that Obama paid the guy to plant a fake long form. It’ll be in the Articles of Impeachment drawn up by Bachmann to launch her Presidential campaign.

  3. You forgot about Bride of Birtherism. She won’t be stopped by a stake through the heart, but if you keep a piece of the Consecrated Host with you at all times you can prevent her from advancing.

  4. O.K. please, please (and putting on my best Nixon impersonation) I AM NOT A BIRTHER!

    But, does anyone here know why the original “long form” is not produceable? To just say, “that’s their procedure” just isn’t satisfactory. Can the person born in Hawaii see their own original certificate?

    Personally, I believe Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution is dated anyway, and deprives our citizens from choices that a more enlightened, and inclusive, pool of candidates would provide.

  5. Isn’t it a key rule of conspiracies that evidence disproving the conspiracy theory is just yet more proof of how deep the conspiracy goes and how devious and dedicated those plotting its machinations?

    I mean, it’s not like the Birthers ever had the slightest sign confirming their wacky theories, other than their visceral dislike of Obama, with his multicultural, polyglot upbringing; his other-than-lily-white hue; and his tale of having sought out an American Black cultural and social identity by working among the dispossessed African-Americans of Chicago’s South Side. So they embrace absurdities entirely without the slightest vapor of substantiation, like saying that the newspaper announcement of Obama’s birth was planted by poor college students for no apparent purpose, or that Bill Ayers must have written Obama’s memoir, or – and I wish I had the imagination to make this up – that Obama may be the secret love child of Malcolm X.

  6. The birthers are an embarrassment to their own cause, but I do find it curious that Hawaii’s “long form” birth certificate is not a public record. What’s on it, anyway, that would violate someone’s privacy.

    In any case, someone says he saw and it’s real. What kind of evidence is that? Hearsay. Why would Isikoff’s interview give anyone who had already gone down that rabbit hole reason to come out?

  7. Bruce: “What’s on it, anyway, that would violate someone’s privacy?”
    Just a thought but since a birth is a medical procedure, perhaps there are medical details outside of the normal date, time, sex, birth weight.

  8. I’m with NYShooter: the point of the ‘birthright’ business was to keep the vile Brits from running some sleeper who would bring us back under the Hated Crown. And the likelihood of that, these days, is increased by not letting Anna Chapman run for President? I don’t think so! What we have done is to make Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jennifer Granholm ineligible. The idea that someone non-native-born who has had enough success in the USA political ecosystem to run for President would be an agent of a foreign power – or that the likelihood would be greater than for someone native-born, is risible. Once Obama is out of office, and it’s not able to be painted as being about a particular individual, we should repeal the native-born requirement.

  9. What, do you imagine this is some kind of news that Birthers and ‘birthers’ (People like me, who think Obama damned well ought ot have to prove he was native born, and could do so.) have somehow been unaware of?

    The substance of the matter is that, yes, there IS a long form birth certificate, recording other information besides what’s on the short form, and no, they won’t let us see it. And Obama has spent an awful lot of (other people’s) money making sure nobody gets to see it. It’s mad to think that’s not going to incite suspicion.

    Personally I suspect Obama’s motive in this is some combination of glee at seeing his enemies frustrated, and desire to keep them chasing after something he knows won’t lead to anything, rather than looking about and finding a lead to something he actually has to worry about. That’s just speculation, though.

    “Personally, I believe Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution is dated anyway, and deprives our citizens from choices that a more enlightened, and inclusive, pool of candidates would provide.”

    Personally, I believe that articles of the Constitution don’t cease to the the highest law of the land just because some people think they’re ‘dated’.

  10. Brett, please read the linked article. It answers all of your points about the “long form” birth certificate and why it hasn’t been released to the public.

    Moreover, the “short form” birth certificate is what everyone gets when they request a copy of their birth certificate. If you need to prove your place of birth, for a passport or whatever, that’s the one you need. Please explain why Obama should have to provide more than that. And, no, “crazy racists are not convinced by the standard documentation” is not any kind of reason.

  11. Brett, maybe you can help me. I was having a discussion with a birther friend of mine and he brought up the “Obama spent big money to hide it” argument. I’ve been trying to track down a reliable source for this claim and have been unable. Best I could find was a blogger claiming records show Obama has spent x dollars on legal fees since taking office, hardly uncommon these days. Got a citation?

    P.S. According to the article anyone can see the long form. You have to go to Honolulu and see it in person, you can’t make a copy even if it’s a certificate of your birth.

  12. Brett Bellmore says:
    “Personally, I believe that articles of the Constitution don’t cease to the the highest law of the land just because some people think they’re ‘dated’.”
    *************************************************************************************

    Thankfully enough people disagreed with your point of view in passing the 13th. amendment.

  13. Brett, please read the linked article…

    But Wisch, the spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said state law does not in fact permit the release of “vital records,” including an original “record of live birth” — even to the individual whose birth it records. “It’s a Department of Health record and it can’t be released to anybody,” he said. Nor do state laws have any provision that authorizes such records to be photocopied, Wisch said. If Obama wanted to personally visit the state health department, he would be permitted to inspect his birth record, Wisch said. But if he or anybody else wanted a copy of their birth records, they would be told to fill out the appropriate state form and receive back the same computer generated “certification of live birth” form that everybody else gets — which is exactly what Obama did four years ago.

  14. NYShooter: You are being unfair to Brett, whose correct rejoinder is that this mess could be avoided with the 28th amendment, repe a bitaling that part of Article 1 Sec. 2.

  15. The Certificate of Live Birth. Good enough for the State Department and every other government agency. But not good enough for that defender of truths Brett Bellmore!

    In any case, someone says he saw and it’s real. What kind of evidence is that? Hearsay.

    Actually, no, that would be actual eyewitness testimony. Hearsay is when someone says that he talked to someone else who saw it. So if Isikoff had interviewed Fukino, and Fukino said “the Governor told me he saw the certificate and he says it’s real”, that would be hearsay.

  16. A stake through the heart will not kill birtherism.
    We are dealing with zombies on steroids, not vampires.
    You might be able to kill birtherism if you cut off enough heads…

  17. “Somebody saw it, and testified to seeing it under oath” would probably satisfy me. “Testified to seeing it under talk show” just isn’t official enough…

    “Brett Bellmore says:
    “Personally, I believe that articles of the Constitution don’t cease to the the highest law of the land just because some people think they’re ‘dated’.”
    *************************************************************************************

    Thankfully enough people disagreed with your point of view in passing the 13th. amendment.”

    Even a moment’s consideration would probably caused you to realize that passing an amendment to the Constitution constitutes a bit more than “some people think it’s dated”.

  18. Brett, I hardly think anyone was suggesting that we should decide to sneer at and then flout the Constitution; surely, it seems likely that those people opposed to the native-born requirement would like to see it removed by Amendment. Given such an assumption (and I think you really do have to grant it, as any other assumption impugns those wanting this change), and given that you apparently have no problem with lawfully enacted Amendments, your objection makes no sense whatsoever. Instead, it becomes an insupportable and illogical visceral reaction to the notion of legitimating a President who is in some way Other. Such a stance is of course highly relevant to the theme of this post, but it hardly makes you look good.

  19. Brett sees a complaint about the constitution and assumes we all want to flout the the plain text.
    He thinks this because of the various areas we disagree about the interpretation of the constitution (e.g. commerce clause), and believes we are willingly flouting that, rather than honestly holding a different opinion.

  20. Brett,

    The substance of the matter is that, yes, there IS a long form birth certificate, recording other information besides what’s on the short form, and no, they won’t let us see it.

    You know, Brett, you’re pretty dogmatic about abiding strictly to the Constitution, and convenience being no excuse, and so forth. But suddenly, when the stae of Hawaii abides by its laws about releasing documents you allege all sorts of conspiracies: “they won’t let us see it,” etc. Give it a rest.

  21. Just one correction. The prohibition regarding non-native citizens becoming President was not put in due to concern that a Brit or other foreign born citizen would act as a traitor; the clause was specifically included to prevent Alexander Hamilton from becoming President by his many enemies among the delegates.

    Clearly, the ‘remedy” if one is desired would be to go through the amendment process.

  22. The other ‘remedy’ is to declare the entire earth US territory in some manner. Since we’re already the policemen of the world, might as well make it legit. Then we can also feel good about taxing the overseas profits.

    Make it the 51st state, and we’re done.

  23. Redwave,

    The prohibition regarding non-native citizens becoming President was not put in due to concern that a Brit or other foreign born citizen would act as a traitor; the clause was specifically included to prevent Alexander Hamilton from becoming President by his many enemies among the delegates.

    I don’t think that’s correct. Section 5 says:

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    Was Hamilton not a citizen at the time of adoption?

  24. Brett,

    And Obama has spent an awful lot of (other people’s) money making sure nobody gets to see it. It’s mad to think that’s not going to incite suspicion.

    Surely you don’t believe the nonsense Palin cites.

  25. So, it comes down to “preponderance of the evidence,” or “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    I’m satisfied with #2, unless Danny Ocean is not a fictional character, but really a republican operative.

  26. And Ed Whitney:”NYShooter: You are being unfair to Brett, whose correct rejoinder is that this mess could be avoided with the 28th amendment, repe a bitaling that part of Article 1 Sec. 2.”
    *****************************************************************************************

    It could be a rejoinder, but obviously the Founders felt the republic could withstand a traitor in a sea of representatives but not when you’re the Big Enchilada.

  27. Redwave, Bernard,
    I’ve heard the assertion that Redwave made about how this rule was intended to preclude a possible Hamilton Presidency a million times (well, a lot of times), so I’m pretty sure that this is assertion is widely believed; it may even be believed by historians. On the other hand, Bernard’s rejoinde to the effect that the rule did not in fact preclude Hamilton seems fairly convincing. It did perhaps preclude Tom Paine and some other prominent people, but I don’t think any of them were likely contenders. Nor does the idea that it was crafted to prevent the ascension of a foreigner in the pocket of a foreign power seem to make a lot of sense; I guess I’m not really sure what explains the rule.

  28. “Nor does the idea that it was crafted to prevent the ascension of a foreigner in the pocket of a foreign power seem to make a lot of sense; “

    I’m a bit unclear as to why you think that. Seriously. I mean, at the time it’s not as though the number of Americans who’ supported the British, or simply sat out the war, was negligible. They might have feared a charismatic scion of British royalty winning a plurality victory.

  29. Does it really matter?

    The question of Obama’s true birth site is no longer a question of where the President was born; the question of the President’s birth place
    has metastasized into metaphysics.

    Since ancient times, Persians and now Iranians, have thought that Alexander the Great was not only the Devil but was two horned.

    In the Koran , Alexander the Great is “Dhul-Qarnayn (in Arabic ذو القرنين, literally “The Two-Horned One”, also transliterated as Zul-Qarnain or Zulqarnain)”

    This Blog has never seen any evidence from the Greeks nor the Macedonians that Alexander The Great sported two horns under his helmet; yet to this day,
    the Persians believe that he did.

    Questioning the birth place of Obama is historically equal to Alexander The Great having horns; the President’s leadership and goverance are hated for
    their effete elitism, so things are believed, rightly or wrongly.

    Claiming to be a birther, has nothing to do with the accuracy of the President Obama’s birthplace; claiming to be a birther is a shorthand code for letting
    the world know, you believe President Obama is an effete elitist.

    In the end, as with most things human, we must yield to the insights of John Ford; in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, he answers your email.

    “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE

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