Will Birthers Remove President Obama from the Kansas Ballot?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 14 2012 10:40 AM

Will Birthers Remove President Obama from the Kansas Ballot?

Evan McMorris-Santoro and Ryan J. Reilly have a good explainer on a news story that feels utterly surreal.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an informal advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said on Thursday he and his fellow members of a state board were considering removing President Barack Obama from the Kansas ballot this November... The board will send records requests to Hawaii, Arizona and Mississippi for more documentation of Obama’s birth.

At this point, the birther cult is taking its cues Derrida. No text can be trusted. All texts must be deconstructed. Yes, yes, there are now publicly-available long-form and short-form birth certificates that confirm President Obama's origins in Hawaii, and there are two contemporary newspaper announcements backing them up. But... what does it all mean?

Joe Montgomery, the citizen launching these complaints, does not care about the evidence. Before this freak show attracted the national media, the Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury explained what Montgomery was looking for.

Montgomery argues that Obama's name should be stricken from the ballot because he does not meet the constitutional requirement that candidates have been "born in this country to parents who are both U.S. citizens, primarily to a U.S. citizen father."
Montgomery asserts in his complaint that Obama's father was not a U.S. citizen. "Barack Obama Sr. retained his British and Kenyan citizenship and passed them on to his son, which Mr. Obama has publicly claimed on his Fight The Smears website," Montgomery argues.

This is a strain of birtherism that's immune to facts about Obama's birth. Under this argument, advanced for three-odd years by lawyers like Orly Taitz and Mario Apuzzo, the citizenship extended to everyone born in the United States, under the 14th Amendment, is not natural-born citizenship. There is literally no legal documentation Obama could muster to "prove" this wrong. Kobach's not stupid, and his comments to the media about this suggest that he's just going through the motions. But why keep indulging this insanity?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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