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All-American Kooks

A Commentary by Debra J. Saunders

The video features an angry woman in red, armed with a birth certificate and a small American flag, scolding Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., at a town meeting. She is angry, she said, because President Obama "is not an American citizen. He is a citizen of Kenya."

Castle, a descendant of Benjamin Franklin, seemed to not know how to respond. He calmly replied that Obama is a citizen. Some audience members booed. "You can boo," Castle told them, "but he is a citizen of the United States."

There's no good way to address a "birther" -- that's the term for conspiracy theorists who believe that Obama has produced a fake Hawaiian birth certificate to cover up the fact that he really was born in Kenya.

Facts don't matter to these geniuses. They don't care that numerous major news organizations, the nonpartisan Factcheck.org and Hawaii's GOP Gov. Linda Lingle have vouched for the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate. Or that the Honolulu Advertiser ran a birth announcement in August 1961.

No, they go for the theory that Obama's white mother, Stanley Dunham Obama, chose to give birth, not in Oahu with her parents nearby, but in a hospital in a Third World country. Then she was so clever that she ran a birth announcement in the local paper in case someday her son with the politically catchy name of Barack Hussein Obama II ran for president.

Why didn't Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign make an issue of Obama's non-citizenship during the Democratic primary if his legitimacy was so assailable? Apparently the Clinton brainiacs aren't as smart as the "birthers."

News stories suggest that the "birther" movement is growing stronger. Maybe the "birthers" have just gotten louder. These days, all it takes is one nut on youtube.com to rate a week's worth of TV panel discussions.

On the other hand, Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., introduced a bill requiring future presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate. Posey's bill has at least nine co-sponsors, including Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif.

Campbell is a good lawmaker, who told the Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus that he opposed funding for the Boeing C-17 cargo plane because, "I don't think it's right to support something that's built in your district to the detriment of the national interest. It leads to overspending and deficits and, well, corruption."

Yet Campbell was reduced to arguing on MSNBC's "Hardball" that while he believed Obama is a citizen, Posey's measure would put to rest any questions about a future president's legal status. Nice try, but the "birthers" won't acknowledge documents that don't feed their paranoid theory.

As Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs noted Monday, the "birthers" don't care about facts; they heed the siren song of righteous victimhood. They feel the injustice of losing an election, so they concoct a plot that tells them they didn't lose fair and square -- the election was stolen. They are no different from Democrats who claimed that voter fraud in Ohio rigged the 2004 election for George W. Bush -- except that Democratic politicians feel little pressure to acknowledge or denounce the fringe elements of their party.

Every time the "birthers" open their mouths, they hurt themselves and add polish to the image of Barack Obama, our American president.


See Other Political Commentary

See Other Commentary by Debra J. Saunders

Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports.

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