The Supreme Court has finally put to rest the nutty Obama birth certificate non-issue. Or has it? When the court rejected the lawsuit brought by a retired New Jersey attorney to have Obama declared ineligible to hold the presidency, the issue was seemingly rendered as forgotten as the Dodo Bird. The suit was so farcical that the Court didn't bother to dignify it by giving a reason for rejecting it.
But when it comes to nuttiness there's no limit to it. Turns out there are two other cases contesting Obama's citizenship that could well wind up back at the Court. One was brought in Connecticut and essentially makes the same bogus argument that Obama is not a natural born citizen. The Obama hounders will continue to raise cash, rev up the Obama conspiracy flock on the internet, and maybe even run another ad or two in a mainstream paper about his birth.
The cases won't go anywhere but that's less important than the attention, publicity, and mischief making that the frivolous Obama hounders can cause. And that seems to be the real point of all this. It wouldn't make any difference what the Supreme Court said or did, or any other court for that matter about his birth certificate since the certificate is only a pawn in the viral, stealth and at times very public campaign to personally muddy Obama. The dirt campaign against him can and should not in anyway be confused with legitimate political criticism. Obama is a public official, the top public official, and as any public official his policies, pronouncements, and public acts are certainly fair game for scrutiny and where warranted criticism. That comes with the political turf.
The personal attacks are a different matter. The online mill that's cranked away about the certificate has been good business for the outfit We The People, the pack of conspiracy cranks, and the gaggle of right wing talk show gabbers who have fanned the pseudo controversy over the birth certificate.
Obama is almost textbook perfect for their paranoia and bile. He is a moderate Democrat. He did what Democrats haven't done in nearly a decade and that's take back the White House. And he's African-American. He simply does not fit the civics book notion of what a president should look and act like. His statements about dialogue with Iranian, Cuban, and Palestinian leaders early in the campaign game sent ultra conservatives into a frenzy. That was more than enough proof for them that Obama was a fellow radical traveler, and a threat. The new diplomacy pitch shattered the idyllic, fairy tale, 1950's neo Cold War, American military might first world for many conservatives. For that he could never be forgiven.
Obama doused more fuel on the flames during a campaign stop in late July when he quipped that he did not look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills. Obama got torched for saying the obvious and that is that his candidacy was different. Obama later admitted that it was a racial reference. The off-the-cuff remark simply reinforced the point that he and his candidacy marked a turning point in U.S. presidential politics and by extension race relations.
Obama for his part has said little about the birth certificate controversy. He will not give any ammunition to his nutty tormenters. However, that won't make them go away. Today it's the birth certificate issue tomorrow it will be something else. The hope is that if they peck and scratch away at any personal dig or rumor against him no matter how outlandish and silly there will be just enough Obama personal mudslingers out there to join in their attacks.
The Supreme Court will quickly and summarily again dump the last two lawsuits to challenge Obama's citizenship legitimacy, but that decision as the other court decisions against them won't make them go away. There are just too many of them and there's only one Obama. As long as that's the case the nuttiness will always have an outlet.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is "How Obama Won," (Middle Passage Press, January 2009).