Sunday, August 02, 2009

National Review Online Reopens Birth Certificate Debate After Trashing "Birthers" On Tuesday

This past Tuesday, the conservative National Review Online published an editorial, "Born In The USA" trashing the so-called "birthers" for continuing to demand that President Barack Obama produce his original birth certificate, not just the "Certification of Live Birth" issued only in 2007 that his campaign posted on the Internet during last year's campaign. The editorial read, in part:

Much foolishness has become attached to the question of President Obama’s place of birth, and a few misguided souls among the Right have indulged it. The myth that Barack Obama is ineligible to be president represents the hunt for a magic bullet that will make all the unpleasant complications of his election and presidency disappear. We are used to seeing conspiracy theories from the Left, for instance among the one in three Democrats who believe that 9/11 was an inside job conducted with the foreknowledge of the Bush administration. We’ve seen everything under the sun blamed on Dick Cheney and Halliburton, and Rosie O’Donnell has given us much mirth with her metallurgical expertise, while Andrew Sullivan has beclowned himself and tarnished the good name of The Atlantic with his investigation into the “real” parentage of Trig Palin. Most notable, the Iraq War summoned the craziness in a big way, and there are those who still shudder over their espressos at the mention of the Carlyle Group. And there is a fair amount of crossover between those fixated on Obama’s birth certificate and the 9/11 “truthers” — lawyer Phil Berg, for instance, is a player in both worlds. There is nothing that President Obama’s coterie would enjoy more than to see the responsible Right become a mirror image of the loopy Left circa 2003.
A couple of days later, NRO contibuting editor Andrew McCarthy reignited the entire debate with a story entitled, "Suborned in the USA," which calls on Obama to release the birth certificate the mainstream media has told us he already released during last year's campaign. McCarthy now says "the controversy is about Obama's honesty, not where he is born." Speaking of his campaign's misleading statements about his Muslim heritage, McCarthy writes, "He airbrushed his personal story on the fly", after deciding it was "a net negative." In sharp contrast to Tuesday's editorial, McCarthy acknowledges the question of Obama's natural born citizenship is an open debate, even accepting his birth in the USA. "He was also born a Kenyan citizen," McCarthy writes. "In theory, that could raise a question about whether he qualifies as a 'natural born' American--an unchartered constitutional concept," he notes.

The Tuesday editorial mistakenly asserted in reference to the "Certification of Live Birth" issued by the Obama campaign that "[t]here is no secondary document cloaked in darkness . . . " McCarthy now admits that was "an ill-considered assertion." He notes that the "Certification of Live Birth" is simply a short-form, general attestation issued by Hawaii's Department of Health. The original state records are far more detailed. As McCarthy now explains:

They include, for example, the name of the hospital, institution, or street address where the birth occurred; the full name, age, birthplace, race, and occupation of each parent; the mother’s residential address (and whether that address is within the city or town of birth); the signature of at least one parent (or “informant”) attesting to the accuracy of the information provided; the identity and signature of an attending physician (or other “attendant”) who certifies the occurrence of a live birth at the time and place specified; and the identity and signature of the local registrar who filed the birth record.

Plainly, this is different (additional) information from what is included in the certification. Yet, our editorial says that “several state officials have confirmed that the information in permanent state records is identical to that on the president’s birth certificate [by which we clearly meant ‘certification’],” and that the “director of Hawaii’s health department and the registrar of records each has personally verified that the information on Obama’s birth certificate [i.e., certification] is identical to that in the state’s records, the so-called vault copy.” (Italics mine.)

That misses the point. The information in the certification may be identical as far as it goes to what’s in the complete state records, but there are evidently many more details in the state records than are set forth in the certification. Contrary to the editors’ description, those who want to see the full state record — the certificate or the so-called “vault copy” — are not on a wild-goose chase for a “secondary document cloaked in darkness.” That confuses their motives (which vary) with what they’ve actually requested (which is entirely reasonable). Regardless of why people may want to see the vault copy, what’s been requested is a primary document that is materially more detailed than what Obama has thus far provided.
Now, on that "honesty" thing. McCarthy then retraces some of the points I've made about Obama creating a fairytale life through two autobiographies "chock full of fiction." McCarthy highlights the completely fictitious story Obama retold about his first job out of college in "Dreams From My Father", dedicated to a father who abandoned him when he was two years old. "What's unnerving about this is that it is so gratuitous," McCarthy writes. "It would have made no difference to anyone curious about Obama’s life that he, like most of us, took a ho-hum entry-level job to establish himself," McCarthy writes. "But Obama lies about the small things, the inconsequential things, just as he does about the important ones — depending on what he is trying to accomplish at any given time."

McCarthy expresses frustration with the news media. "Astonishingly, reporters see their job not as reporting Obama news but as debunking Obama news, or flat-out suppressing it," McCarthy laments. "How many Americans know, for example, that as a sitting U.S. senator in 2006, Obama interfered in a Kenyan election, publicly ripping the incumbent government (a U.S. ally) for corruption while he was its guest and barnstorming with his preferred candidate: a Marxist now known to have made a secret agreement with Islamists to convert Kenya to sharia law, and whose supporters, upon losing the election, committed murder and mayhem, displacing thousands of Kenyans and plunging their country into utter chaos?"

McCarthy then goes on to discuss a point I've raised on numerous occasions that seems to escape the interest of everyone else in the media: the adoption of Obama by his step-father, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian citizen, and Obama's acquisition of Indonesian citizenship. Although Obama's campaign denied he was adopted by Soetoro, his own mother's divorce records suggest otherwise according to McCarthy. "That inference is bolstered by the 1980 divorce submission of Ann Dunham and Lolo Soetoro, filed in Hawaii state court," McCarthy writes. "It said 'the parties' (Ann and Lolo) had a child (name not given) who was no longer a minor (Obama was 19 at the time)." He adds, "If Soetoro had not adopted Obama, there would have been no basis for the couple to refer to Obama as their child — he’d have been only Ann Dunham’s child."

McCarthy also acknowledges that Obama's school records in Indonesia indicate that he was enrolled in both public schools and a Catholic school as a Muslim. McCarthy observes how that Muslim heritage was a good thing back in 2007 when Obama first began his run for president but by last year that all changed. McCarthy points out that his sister, Maya Soetoro, told the New York Times: "My entire family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim." "In fact, back in March 2007 — i.e., during the early 'Islamic ties are good' phase of Obama’s campaign — the candidate wistfully shared with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof his memories of the muezzin’s Arabic call to prayer: 'one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset,'" McCarthy writes. "Kristof marveled at the “first-rate accent” with which Obama was able to repeat its opening lines."

So McCarthy finds himself asking just why Obama won't release that original birth certificate on file with the Hawaii Department of Health:

There may be perfectly benign answers to all of this. But the real question is: Why don’t the media — the watchdog legions who trekked to Sarah Palin’s Alaska hometown to scour for every kernel of gossip, and who were so desperate for Bush dirt that they ran with palpably forged military records — want to dig into Obama’s background?

Who cares that Hawaii’s full state records would doubtless confirm what we already know about Obama’s birthplace? They would also reveal interesting facts about Obama’s life: the delivering doctor, how his parents described themselves, which of them provided the pertinent information, etc. Wasn’t the press once in the business of interesting — and even not-so-interesting — news?

And why would Obama not welcome Hawaii’s release of any record in its possession about the facts and circumstances of his birth? Isn’t that kind of weird? It would, after all, make the whole issue go away and, if there’s nothing there, make those who’ve obsessed over it look like fools. Why should I need any better reason to be curious than Obama’s odd resistance to so obvious a resolution?
McCarthy also briefly discusses what No Quarter's Larry Johnson has previous discussed about the real reason Obama doesn't want the original birth certificate released. Johnson, a former CIA agent, claims Obama was never named "Barack" and his actual birth certificate records show his adopted last name, "Soetoro". His given birth name according to Johnson was "Barry." Johnson also claims the original birth certificate listed Obama's race as "white." "Obama may have wanted that suppressed for a host of reasons: issues about his citizenship, questions about his name (it’s been claimed that Obama represented in his application to the Illinois bar that he had never been known by any name other than Barack Obama), and the undermining of his (false) claim of remoteness from Islam," McCarthy comments. "Is that true? I don’t know and neither do you," he writes.


Michael Dixon said...

The "child" referred to in the divorce decree between Ann and Lolo Soetoro probably was their daughter. There seems to be no documentation available that Barry was adopted by Lolo. Was he, or wasn't he? It's just another unknown, unknowable piece of his background.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sorry, Michael, but the divorce document identifies two children, the minor child, who is Maya, and the adult child, who is Barry. If he wasn't adopted, he wouldn't be identified as a child produced by the marriage.

IgorMarxo said...

Old Russian saying...You can tell same lie 1000 time(Ms. Pelosi) but not change truth!

Difference between USSR Communist media and USA "mainstream media"

In Russia government make media say what they want - even if lie.
In USA "mainstream media" try make government what they want - even if lie..
.....eventually they become same thing?!

I Igor produce Obama Birth Certificate at

Seth M. Ward said...

It's a shame that this seems to be such a focus of this blog instead of Indiana politics which I thought it was about.

Maybe you can write an article about the Indiana State Employee's Retirement Pension and how it is spending millions of dollars on travel would be more appropriate for this blog......

I'm just saying.....

You know?

Fred P. said...


Are the "birthers" hitting too close to home? Don't worry, by 2010 the Democrats won't be able to win an assistant dogcatcher election in Bugtussle, Kentucky.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Seth, You've never even left a tip for this blog. You have a lot of nerve suggesting what I should write about.

Unknown said...


Was the divorce document to which you refer an agreed entry or agreed judgment by the parties or a court-generated order following a hearing?

I ask because I have a lot of cases where information is accepted by the court if it is included in an agreement by the parties, even though the parties know it is not true. My point is that if Mr. Soetoro felt that he had assumed the role of father, he might have asked for this language, and the President's mother might have agreed so Mr. Soetoro would have had a legal right to visit, had he wanted it. In such a case, the Court wouldn't have objected, even if it wasn't "legally true" because it didn't have a Hawaii birth certificate either.

In other words, yet again, this might mean something, or it might mean nothing. If you can post the entire dissolution document, we'd know more.

Gary R. Welsh said...

There is a link to the document. It was prepared by his mother's attorney. There is an agreed entry signed by Lolo Soetoro. Oddly, it made no provision for the payment of child support for the minor child, Maya. Of course, enforcement of child support obligations of an alien parent can be tricky.