August 10, 2009

Note to Birthers - Ix-nay

I haven't written about this topic before. I've been hesitant to wade into these waters. A good number of people are what has been termed 'birthers'; people who doubt the veracity of President Obama's American birth. The reason to care about it is that if the President isn't a natural born citizen of the United States, he is Constitutionally ineligible to be President. In other words, he'd have to be impeached or resign.

This post is not an indictment of your beliefs if you are a birther, rather an indictment of your approach to opposing President Obama. Don't take offense. I'll leave the conspiracy theory debunkers and yourselves to battle that out. I don't know if the President is in office ineligibly, though I suspect not. Even if he isn't a natural born citizen of the United States, the discussion is pointless. Worse in fact, it poses a negative to conservative views.

The man is President. Fair or not, trying to convince the public he isn't legitimate, seems dangerously like the truthers' "9/11 was an inside job" refrain. In other words, it sounds nuts. Even if you are right, continuing on your quest seems to be counter-productive. Yes, upholding the law is important, but the lack of definitive evidence makes you continue seem like a kooky fringe element.

And that's where the issue I have with birthers starts. You do nothing to lend an air of intellectual legitimacy to the party if you are effectively portrayed as kooks. The ultimate objective as I understand it is to remove President Obama from his role. The most legitimate way to do that is via the electoral process.

With respect to conservative viewpoints, the way to go is to follow a political variation of the Hippocratic oath - specifically; first, do no harm. You are lending comfort to the enemy by making conservatives as a whole seem as the fringe. And that doesn't help in the health care debate. Democrats are already armed with hyperbole and lies about town hall outrage, we don't need to give them more ammunition to challenge the right with.

My concern about the birthers is not that you want to know the truth, that you demand proof, or that you suspect malfeasance in the electoral process. My concern is that you are, in your zeal, doing more harm than good. I've had the same issue in the past with anyone who is putting ideological purity ahead of political pragmatism. You need to get a dirty to win in politics, so you have to be willing to do so. You need to be willing to suck it up and vote for a GOP member in the general election, even if he/she has RINO leanings and isn't as ideologically pure as you'd like or as the guy you voted for in the primaries. This is true because the alternative is far worse. Anyone skittish about voting for John McCain in November I'm sure would rather have him now rather than what the country ended up with.

My point is I'm not trashing birthers, nor am I singling them out for constructive criticism (I've criticized RINO's, purists, and other conservatives in the past on this blog). That's not my style, I'd rather remember who my friends are and find common ground. I'd ask that birthers do the same. The common ground is this, Obama is not a good President (so far, he's terrible). The common ground should also extend to how to overcome the problem. My take is that it requires convincing people that he's a bad leader rather than trying to convince them he's an illegitimate one. Doing the latter is convincing many that the party is full of kooks. So stop it, for the good of conservatism.


  1. Did Mr. Bush provide his college records? and you used a lot of weasel words in this posting. Is President Obama legally President? You seem vague and unsure. Please take a stand, avoid the weasel words, and enlighten me.

    Thank you

  2. Buck,

    Weasel words?

    1) This is not about President Bush. He's done. Give it a rest.
    2)I believe President Obama is a natural born US citizen and therefore legally President and birthers are as off base as the 9/11 truthers. That said, I think he's an ineffective President.
    3) I also believe President Obama is not releasing more detail on his birth records for political reasons. It makes the fringe elements of the conservative party, and the conservative party by proxy, seem kooky. That's bad for the GOP.
    4) I'm therefore advising birthers to give it a rest.

    Clear enough for you?


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