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May 18, 2012
Barack Obama: The Original Birther
We've always known that the original birthers were Democrats. Phillip Berg, a disgruntled Hillary supporter, filed the first lawsuit demanding that Obama produce his mysterious birth certificate. And now with the blockbuster news from Breitbart.com, we learn that Obama himself was the very first Obama birther.
It turns out that Obama claimed he was Kenya-born before he claimed he was Hawaii-born.
"The great thing about irony," writes David Foster Wallace, "is that it splits things apart, gets up above them so we can see the flaws and hypocrisies[.]"
Breitbart News obtained a 1991 promotional booklet put together by Obama's literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which lists the then-Harvard Law grad as "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."
The promotional booklet continues with Obama's biography:
Former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, Ralph Nader, sports stars Joe Montana and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and 89 other clients also appear with their respective biographies in the 36-page booklet.
Breitbart News spoke with Edward Acton of Acton & Dystel, who indicated that the non-athletes were "probably" approached "to approve the text as presented." Apparently, the agency felt the need to at least get the approval of its more scholarly clients. Obama, of course, was president of the Harvard Law Review. Translation: Obama either wrote or approved his write-up.
In the publishing world, it's commonplace for authors to control their own bios. In the unlikely scenario that Obama didn't approve the text, would the agency have continued to list Obama as Kenya-born until 2007 on its website? Well, it did, and no one corrected the record until Obama's presidential aspirations became apparent.
Interestingly, Breitbart News reports its big story as a misprint with no implications beyond unexplained pragmatics:
Before condemning the Breitbart editors as spineless cowards, one should note that it's possible that they are goading the "mainstream" press to report the issue.
Thomas Lifson suggested just that.
And shortly after publishing the words above, the mainstream press ran the story as the "mistake" that might have "sparked" the birther issue. Yahoo! News reports that "Obama's former literary agency misidentified his birthplace as Kenya while trying to promote the then-Harvard Law grad as an author in 1991."
Miriam Goderich, a partner at Dystel & Godrich edited the text of Obama's biography:
If Obama didn't provide the birth information, the question then becomes: where did the information come from in 1991? How did Goderich misidentify Obama's birthplace?
The breaking news from Breitbart.com adds yet another oddity to the mountain of existing Obama oddities.
Writing for The Ticket, Dylan Stableford claims that Obama's bio in the 1991 booklet is a "possible source of the so-called "birther" issue--or at least a potential cause of the rumors that have dogged President Barack Obama[.]" But how can a breaking discovery be the source or cause of a four-year controversy?
No, it's not the source or the cause of rumors. The source or cause had to exist even in 1991 to allow for the "misidentification" of Kenya as Obama's birthplace. The naming of Kenya as Obama's birthplace in 1991 does not prove the source or cause of the rumors. The bio proves nothing more than the fact that such information was somehow available.
Only one thing is certain. It is high time to put the rumors to rest. And there is only one way to put them away: simple compliance with the legal standard for the production of documents.
It would be no great distraction or burden for Obama to produce certified paper copies of his birth certificate for interested state election officials and make the original available for on-site corroboration and authentication.
Clerks could send certified copies out in a week, and the original could be inspected by state officials shortly thereafter.
It is in both the national interest and frankly in Obama's best interest to actually produce his birth certificate.
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