Pity the Birther

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 26 2012 5:45 PM

Pity the Birther

Georgia's birther community is probably the most resilient one out there. (I'm not counting the 50 yard Zone of Derangement that follows Orly Taitz wherever she travels.) Way back in 2009, Georgians like Carl Swensson were burning up gas to travel the South and set up "Citizens' Grand Juries," where Obama indictments would be handed down and... well, not enforced, but written about! That was something.

Swensson is still at it, and Bill Rankin reports on the inconclusive goings-on at the hearing demanded by Georgia birthers who want to keep Barack Hussein Obama off the ballot. Evidence was heard, and the judge "did not issue a ruling as to whether Obama can be allowed on the state ballot in November." One issue: Michael Jablonski, handling the slush pile for the Obama administration, never showed up.

Jablonski also served notice he would boycott the hearing. In response, [Judge] Kemp said the hearing to consider the challenges is required by Georgia law. "If you and your client choose to suspend your participation in the [Office of State Administrative Hearings] proceedings, please understand that you do so at your own peril," Kemp wrote.

What's going to happen? Probably nothing. There's no state Constitution that will keep a candidate off the ballot after the release of his long-form birth certificate; none of them have any room for the more fantastic theories of the Birtherati, about the citizenship of one's parents depriving him or her of natural born citizen status.

Why pay any attention at all? Oh, it's the irony. Since January 2011, Georgia has been governed by Nathan Deal. In Congress, Deal was one of the most prominent federal birthers. He sent a letter to Obama asking for more citizenship proof because, heck, citizens were Asking Questions.

Imagine now the pain of the Georgian birther. He's got one of his own, he thinks, in the mansion in Atlanta. And he gets no support whatever when he puts it on the line to take Obama's ballot status away! If it wasn't in the service of a racist conspiracy theory, it would be sad.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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