Weekly Standard: Why Quash The Birthers Now?

Originally published on April 27, 2011 3:40 pm

John McCormack is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.

To quash the conspiracy theory that he was not born in this country, Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate today that shows he was born in Hawaii. In 2008, Obama released his "certification of live birth," which is for legal purposes as good as his long-form birth certificate. But after Obama released that document in 2008, conspiracy theorists demanded to see the original long-form certificate that includes more information, such as the name of the attending physician at the hospital where he was born.

Why did Obama wait until April 27, 2011 to release this document? A White House official emails Ben Smith: "I am not going to argue the politics of doing this are good — they probably aren't. Allowing the GOP primary to devolve into birther mania probably would be better, but the president felt strongly that this was bad for the country."

So in that statement the official reveals what was always apparent: Team Obama thought the "birther issue" was politically advantageous for them. By refusing to release the document, they gave the conspiracy theory just enough oxygen to keep it alive and make Republicans look crazy when asked about it by their constituents (obviously, the most die-hard "birthers" will summarily call the "long-form" certificate a forgery or find other excuses to keep their fevered dreams alive).

Perhaps the Obama White House really concluded just now the issue is "bad for the country," but it's equally if not more plausible that, contrary to that White House official's statement, Obama finally concluded the issue is bad for Obama. More people than ever now doubt Obama is a natural-born citizen, and Donald Trump's talking on TV about the birth certificate for the past month hasn't kept Obama's poll numbers from ticking downward.

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