July 30, 2009

Bernie Goldberg has a theory about why there's been a significant controversy over Lou Dobbs' promotion of the "Birther" conspiracy theory: It's all an evil plot by the Obama White House to string the story along indefinitely so as to make his right-wing opposition look like a nuttier bunch than a PayDay bar.

Goldberg: Well, let's get the easy part out of the way first. CNN should not, repeat, not fire Lou Dobbs for talking about this. Lou Dobbs didn't say Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, he said just the opposite! He said he was born in the United States. But then he said he should produce his birth certificate.

Now let's think about this for a second. Why wouldn't President Obama release his birth certificate? He was born in Hawaii, Hawaii last I checked is in the United States, and -- why in the world wouldn't he release his birth certificate?

O'Reilly: Can I answer that question?

Goldberg: Well, let me answer it first. OK? Let me just answer my own question first.

O'Reilly: OK, you answer it, and then I'll have the correct answer.

Goldberg: I have a theory. And the theory is this: That the Chicago Mafia inside the White House want to keep this crazy controversy going. Because the longer it goes, the better the chance that they will conflate the crazy right-wing fringe with regular conservatives and regular Republicans.

O'Reilly: That's not a bad theory. But from dealing with the Obama White House, now, for almost, more than a year, I will tell you they are, uh, as every White House I've ever experienced, they're arrogant, they're arrogant. And they're saying to themselves, 'We're not gonna let Lou Dobbs tell us what to do. We're not gonna let these cranks on talk radio tell us what to do. They want the birth certificate released? Tough. We're not going to do it, because we have the power, and we don't like that.' That's what it's all about -- it's a 'Ha ha, we're not gonna do what you say.'

Interesting theories, gentlemen. Unfortunately, they both tend to run aground on a simple fact: Obama actually released his birth certificate in June 2008. It reads, "Certification of Live Birth."

Now, as FactCheck.org's definitive piece on the certificate issue explains, this is in fact the "short form" of Obama's birth certificate, not its long form, which is filled out by the hospital and kept in its records. So why doesn't Obama release the long form? Because Hawaiian law doesn't give him that option:

The document is a "certification of birth," also known as a short-form birth certificate. The long form is drawn up by the hospital and includes additional information such as birth weight and parents' hometowns. The short form is printed by the state and draws from a database with fewer details. The Hawaii Department of Health's birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department. We tried to ask the Hawaii DOH why they only offer the short form, among other questions, but they have not given a response.

Now, if Goldberg and O'Reilly are so concerned that the public might conclude that mainstream conservatives are prone to far-right conspiracy theories and various other forms of wingnuttery, they might look in the mirror. It's the virtual definition of wingnuttery to even be asking why Obama won't release his birth certificate when he has in fact done so.

There's no Obama conspiracy keeping this garbage alive and tying it around the necks of mainstream conservatives. They're doing a very fine job of that themselves.

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