The Rebirth of Birthers?

Two years, three months, and seven days after his inauguration, Barack Obama finally offered evidence to prove his eligibility for the presidency.  On the White House website, officials posted an electronic document purported to be a scan of Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate.  It was a grand "I told you so" moment for the media and the left, which had worked feverishly to marginalize "birthers" as the radical counterpart of the zany "truther."

Of course, there was never really any parity.  Truthers constructed silly conspiracy theories about George W. Bush being an international super-criminal that orchestrated impossibly complex measures to frame al-Qaeda on 9/11.  Birthers, on the other hand, merely demanded that the president, who is required by the Constitution to be a natural born American citizen, show proof of his eligibility.  And in reality, that is an entirely reasonable expectation, albeit unprecedented.

Nonetheless, birthers were marginalized as fringe elements, and since the release of the electronic scan of the birth certificate, the concerns of birthers have become even more ignored in the public discourse.  As an example of the how the media now views the birther movement, consider that the Huffington Post describes it as a "controversy that has been widely debunked but which remains alive in the eyes of some conservatives."

New evidence, however, has reignited conservative interest in Obama's birth certificate.  Conservative icon Sherriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, at the behest of a petition presented by the Surprise, Arizona Tea Party organization, organized a "cold case posse" and completed a six-month examination of the released birth certificate in order to determine its authenticity.  The results are in, Joe says, and they point to the document being a fake. 

Skilled as Sherriff Joe's team undoubtedly is in identifying forged documents, last month offered interesting substantiation of the team's findings.  Renowned skeptic of global warming theories Lord Christopher Monckton, who has experience investigating high-level fraud as a policy adviser under Margaret Thatcher, has given the claim added veracity.

According to World Net Daily, Monckton said that "it appears that the document was cobbled together in layers, pointing to evidence that three date stamps and a registrar's stamp were superimposed on it from another document."  If there were a single, original document to verify the president's Hawaiian birth, why "go to all that trouble, he reasoned."

Monckton's conclusion?  "My assessment is that they are right to be worried... That document is not genuine."

This conclusion glaringly lacks ambiguity.  And if Monckton is correct, we should be beyond worried.  We should be outraged, and we should demand justice for the betrayal of the American people's trust.

Mockton's testimony is a bombshell.  It is a credible voice suggesting that the image on the White House website, offered to the American people in good faith, was presented as an accurate depiction of Obama's birth certificate, and for whatever reason, it is not.  This is forgery, a crime in itself, but it is the reason for the possible forgery -- fraud -- that keeps the media and lawmakers from running with this amazing story.

Anyone calling Obama's birth certificate into question will have to entertain the notion that perhaps the forgery was made because the president does not have legal proof of his American birth.  And anyone carrying that message will have the stink of "right-wing birther" on him, and he will be swiftly devoured by the attack dogs in the media and marginalized.  So in a way, I don't blame conservative lawmakers and pundits for treading lightly around the issue.

The discourse has already been cleverly manipulated, you see, to shift the burden of proof from Obama to his detractors.  Reasonably, it should never have been incumbent upon Americans to prove that Obama is not a natural born citizen, but rather it should have always been incumbent upon Obama to prove to the American people, verifiably and indisputably, that he was born in the United States.

Barack Obama again has that chance, and Arpaio has articulated that very point.  "The president can put all this to rest quite easily," he said.  "All he has to do is demand [that] the Hawaii Department of Health release to the American public and to a panel of certified court-authorized forensic examiners all original 1961 paper, microfilm, and computer birth records the Hawaii Department of Health has in its possession."

But then, the president has always had the opportunity to do this, and he has never seized it.  One can speculate as to why.  Some, like Ann Coulter, find the withholding of definitive proof of his birth to be a ruse to whip Obama's opponents into unreasonable frenzy, and thereby marginalize them.  On the other hand, it is entirely logical to think that he has not produced definitive proof because there is something that is being hidden from the American public.  And the fact that this birth certificate appears to be a forgery certainly strengthens the second possibility.

I've always been one of those who likes to preface sentences with "I'm no birther, but..."  But in light of this new evidence, I certainly feel that there is a warrant for investigation to satisfy the birthers' concern, with Obama innocent until proven guilty, of course. And if that makes me a birther, then so be it.

William Sullivan blogs at and can now be followed on Twitter.