Nine Reasons Why Birthers Are Almost Certainly Wrong

A fringe element of Obama critics contends that he’s not constitutionally eligible for office because, they say, he was born in Kenya and not, as Obama says, in Hawaii.  They say that his lack of a long form birth certificate is evidence of this, as well as offhand statements by a few people connected with him. 

There are several huge problems with this theory:

1.  The lack of a long form Hawaii birth certificate is not proof that such a thing does not exist, much less that Obama wasn’t born there.  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. 

2.  Even if it could be proven that there is not a sufficiently detailed Hawaii birth certificate, that’s still not proof that he wasn’t born there.  Any number of things could have happened to the paperwork.

3.  Proving that he wasn’t born in Hawaii still wouldn’t prove that he wasn’t born a US citizen, much less that he was born in Kenya.  The two are completely unrelated. 

4.  Short of airtight documentary evidence that he was born in Kenya, proving that he wasn’t born in Hawaii doesn’t really prove anything.

5.  Not that it’s possible to prove where someone wasn’t born, anyway.  You can’t prove a negative. 

6.  None of the evidence claimed by birthers so far, including the supposedly revealing statements by some people who claim to be close to him, is impressive—it’s subjective, speculative, and unfounded by any actual facts or details.  I don’t think such paltry rumors could even be admitted in a court. 

7.  Even if it were possible to show that he was born in Kenya, it’s still possible that he could have been a legal US citizen from birth—it happens all the time.  (You may not like this or agree with it, but it’s arguable, and if it’s arguable, the status quo would win.) 

8.  Also like it or not, the fact is that the Founders’ meaning for “natural born citizen” is not documented or explained anywhere (at least, not to the best of my knowledge—please correct me if I’m wrong).  So, even if the first seven barriers were surmounted, birthers would still have to contend with this. 

9.  He claims that he was born in Hawaii.  While his memory obviously can’t know that for a fact, it seems to be his honest understanding.  Why question that?  We might disagree, vehemently so, with his policies, but that’s no reason to impinge his character.  This would seem to be a pretty easy place to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

8 comments on “Nine Reasons Why Birthers Are Almost Certainly Wrong

  1. Nice post. The one additional point I would add is the insertion of birth notices for the baby Obama in two Hawaiian newspapers a few days after his birthday.

    Disagree with the President’s policies and agenda as vehemently as you want but anti-Obama people should pause before sacrificing their integrity on the alter of political protest.

  2. I continue to be amazed at how anyone can “Prove a negative”. The only thing
    anyone knows about Obama’s background is from a book that he wrote. He’s so
    smart and is supposed to be an educated law professor? Have you ever seen a
    diploma or anything about any school? This President is an invisible fraud who
    makes a mockery of our Constitution.

    Prove this negative, “Have you stopped beating the neighbors dog”?

  3. I’ve always been taught that “natural-born” citizen meant that one had to be born on American soil (military bases count, as do embassies-wonder if the birthing room is off the lobby or next to the diplomatic offices…). It also stated that in the books I used to teach citizenship classes. So much for Alexander Hamilton………

  4. Mapper wrote “The only thing anyone knows about Obama’s background is from a book that he wrote. ”

    That is sooooo not true. We know where he was born, to whom, stories of his childhood and high school experiences, where he went to college for how long and what he did uopn graduation, as much as we do any other president, senator, mayor or public servant.

    The question is are the facts and stories credible and do we believe them as presented.

  5. Mapper, did you ever see George W. Bush’s diplomas and birth certificate? I never did, and they were never released, so I guess it’s reasonable for me to have the same doubts about him. As well as nearly every other public office holder in America. I don’t think all birthers are racist, but I think there is a significant element that is.

  6. S Parker, you’re probably right, but my point is that, should this “issue” ever get to that point, this would be another debatable level–the whole birther case is very, very shaky.

    Mapper, I have to agree with the critics here–I’m no fan of Obama’s work, but that really doesn’t call for shadowy conspiracy theories.

    Jacob, while I clearly have little sympathy for birthers, there’s also no good reason for second-guessig their motives, much less assuming that it’s racial.

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