pandering to ignorance.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) still doubts Obama’s citizenship.

Why am I not really surprised that a sitting U.S. senator is ignorant about our Constitution? 

“Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate. You have to be born in America to be president.”

Well, Senator Shelby, the Constitution specifies that the President has to be a “natural born” citizen of the United States, which has precisely fuck-all to do with where he was born.  (John McCain, the last Republican Presidential nominee, was born in the Canal Zone in Panama, which is ZOMG! not in America!) 

If people like Senator Shelby are the best the Republicans have to offer in the intellectual arena, the conservative movement is in very deep shit, indeed.


30 thoughts on “pandering to ignorance.

  1. georgeh says:

    Under the citizenship law at the time of his birth, his mother’s children were not automatically citizens, because of her age at the time, so if he wasn’t born in the US, he wouldn’t be a citizen.

  2. Jay G. says:

    There’s a reason they’re known as the “Stupid Party”, Marko…

  3. Marko says:


    even if Obama was indeed born outside of the U.S., Senator Shelby would still be wrong–it is demonstrably incorrect that you have to be born *in* America to be eligible for the Presidency.

    In this reality, however, he was born in the U.S., namely in Hawaii, which became the 50th State two years before Obama was born. That’s pretty much accepted by everyone outside of the tinfoil hat segment of the population.

  4. Tam says:

    What amazes me is that there are people in positions of power in the GOP who think that everybody they disagree with is a complete retard…

    Gosh, Cletus, I’ll bet they forgot to check that guy’s birth certificate!

    If I was in the Obama machine I’d be holding that absolute proof in reserve until the other side was willing to make a huge issue of it, and then make them look like idiots in court…

  5. panamanians will likely be surprised and chagrined to hear that their country is not in America…you meant the US of, i guess.


  6. Mark says:

    While I agree that the senator’s statement is not accurate, the question he raises is valid. When the citizenship issue was raised in regards to McCain, the campaign brought out all relevant records, including the Canal zone birth certificate and the federal law in force with regard to citizenship at that time.

    Can you point me to a link that states the same was done by the Obama Campaign. When I last researched this, the governor of Hawaii had sealed Obama’s birth certificate.

  7. Marko says:


    if there was a shred of evidence to support the tinfoil brigade’s assertions about Obama’s citizenship, don’t you think the Dragon Lady would have unearthed it when she ran against him in the Democratic primaries?


    yeah, Panama is in the Americas. However, you and I both know that the Senator uses “America” as a synonym for “the United States of”.

  8. mts says:

    The natural born thing is a royal pain. There’s a lot of naturalized citizens who love the country, and a lot of natural born ones who’d like to see it fall. But people like Obama and Clinton (who evaded questions about his foreign travel past) like to keep things shrouded in mystery, and therefore ask for this kind of stuff, while McCain shut the issue up by being totally forthright with proof and evidence to end all speculation once and for all. Obama’s team didn’t help when they posted an “official” birth certificate that listed his father “African American,” when “Negro” was the universal term at the time of his birth.

    Btw, McCain was born with dual citizenship, but since Panama never made any claims of him as a citizen (for him to pay income taxes to Panama, or serve in its military or other public service to the country), he was able to rescind that citizenship. If they had, he would have NOT been called a natural born citizen. Talk about parsing and splitting hairs. But we don’t have to like the rules for them to be the rules.

  9. Kristopher says:


    Marko … I’m not a nut or a neanderthal …

    Anyone could get a COLB in Hawaii at that time by simply asking for one.

    Obama should put this controversy behind him by ponying up an actual birth certificate, or at least by explaining why he does not have one. “My mom was a ditzy hippie flower chick who didn’t do paperwork” is an acceptable reason.

    This coy crap is unacceptable for a post this important. As for Hillary, we have no real clue what is going on with them, Soros, Obama, and the Chicago Corruption Machine … I refuse to make any speculations about her actions.

  10. Mark Alger says:


    It really doesn’t matter whether people who disagree with you are witless or wise. The fact is that the Constitution requires a President have this attribute and it is incumbent upon any candidate to affirmatively demonstrate that he has it. Obama has not, and resolutely refuses to, and — indeed — has affirmatively acted to obfuscate the matter.

    When, in five or nine years — after Obama is long out of office — it is revealed that, he was in truth not a natural-born citizen under the law, what then? Do we void all of his works in office? Does that set a precedent, thus amending the Constitution by accident?

    Because the spokesmen of a cause may not be terribly articulate is a poor reason to dismiss the cause.


  11. wolfwalker says:

    For the record, I think the Pinhead-birth-certificate issue is nonsense. However, as a purely legal question it has some interesting aspects. The Constitution does require that the President be a “natural born” citizen, but there is no legal definition of “natural born.” Also, if I recall correctly, all the lawsuits that have attempted to force Pinhead to produce his birth certificate have been thrown out, not on the merits, but for lack of standing by the plaintiffs. This raises the question of who would have standing to file such a lawsuit. And it turns out, right now no one does. There isn’t any federal agency that passes judgement on the qualifications of a candidate for federal office.

    However, we may get an answer on that ‘standing’ issue soon. The Certificate-Truthers finally found a soldier brave (or stupid) enough to risk jail for them. He’s refusing to follow orders until he sees proof that Pinhead is legally qualified to be Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. See

  12. Kristopher says:

    Wolfwalker: Congress did legally define “natural born” a few years ago, when stuff like Swarzenegger, McCain’s run as a zone baby, and Barry Goldwater’s birth in the Arizona Territory in 1910 all came up after the 2000 election.

    If Obama was born outside the US, his mother’s age and failure to return to the US in a timely fashion would make Obama fail to meet the legislated definition.

    He could go to the SCOTUS at that point, and claim congress didn’t have the authority to define the term …

  13. Jerry says:

    “Tinfoil brigade”??

    I took an oath to uphold the constitution more than 20 years ago. I do not see a lot of upholding be done by the current administration.

    I agree with those who want to see a valid, not corrected paper.

    Stand for the constitution or lose your rights.

  14. Marko says:

    Don’t make me flinch, Jerry.

    Not too many conservatives took a stand for the Constitution when the other team was pissing all over the Bill of Rights, but all of a sudden we’re awake again because the current President has a (D) after his name?

    Look: the guy is our President, and he will be for the next four years. He was on the official ballot. The majority of voters made their mark next to his name. The Electoral College certified him. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court swore him into office. He’s working in the White House, and everyone addresses him as “Mr. President”. He flies around on Air Force One and Marine One. All these folks, from the Supreme Court down to the lowliest White House employee and Secret Service agent, consider him the President of the United States. Everybody who counts in this process considers him the duly and properly elected President. In this reality, that means he *is* the President of the United States, and arguing about birth certificates and liberal conspiracies is not only utterly pointless, it makes the arguers look like grade A nutcases.

    In addition, I find it patently offensive that the very same people who defended or ignored warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, waterboarding, suspension of habeas corpus, and “free speech zones” for the last eight years now rediscover their concern for the Constitution and grasp at straws handed to them by conspiracy peddlers.

  15. Paul says:

    Regardless of the identity or party affiliation of someone asking a question or posing a challenge, the proper response is to address the question or challenge, not to attack the messenger, or the messenger’s failure to ask questions about other issues of a related measure, or the failure of the supporters of the messenger to do the same.

    In short, Marko, stop with the ad hominem crap. Either Obama is a natural born citizen, or he is not – there is no third answer. Due to the age of his mother at the time of his birth, and the fact that his father was demonstrably NOT a US citizen at the time, his birth HAD to take place in the US in order for him to be a natural born citizen. If he is, then fine. If he is not, then some extremely serious questions arise, not the least of which is whether any law he signs is valid. The fact that he lives in the White House, is addressed as “Mr. President, ” etc., etc. is a different matter. Not that it is the same thing, but everyone thought up until about 10 days ago that Stanford was a legitimate investment advisor/banker…but he was a complete fraud, as we have found out, and that calls into question EVERY single thing he ever did. You see, sometimes people work to deceive others (as shocking as that may seem), and sometimes said deception isn’t found out for quite some time.

    Which begs a few questions: “Why has/is Obama and the DNC fought every single attempt to obtain Obama’s long form birth certificate from the State of Hawaii?” “What possible benefit is there to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to stop the release, if there’s nothing to hide and the release requires the payment of $10 to an office in Hawaii?” “If Obama is to be taken at his word, he’s in favor of transparency in government, then how can fighting at great expense to prevent the release of a document about yourself that your opponent quickly and painlessly delivered regarding himself possibly be considered any form of transparency???”

    For the sake of the stability of this country, I hope it is ultimately found that Obama is, in fact, a natural born citizen (despite the fact that I didn’t vote for him, don’t agree with his policies and don’t have a whole lot of respect for him) – you see, I love this nation (for all of its flaws) and don’t think that we need such troubles.

    Honestly, Obama could have put this whole thing to rest in about 15 minutes on one of his trips to Hawaii by inviting cameras into the vital records office with him, and ordering the document on the spot. He chose not to do so, and still refuses to do so. There’s NOTHING “tinfoil” about wondering why, and in wondering what there is to hide.

  16. Paul says:

    Correction: “…or the messenger’s failure to ask questions about other issues of a related measure…” should be “…or the messenger’s failure to ask questions about other issues of a related NATURE…”

  17. MarkHB says:


    A lot of people have to apply for their long-form certificate. I had to and I was born in DC.

    So, you know… shut it. You’re wrong.

  18. MarkHB says:

    Oh, and I’m white, too. In case it’s a factor.

  19. Paul says:


    The whole point is that Obama has refused to apply for his and release it.

    Oh, and I don’t give a rat’s ass what color he, you or the Man in the Moon happens to be – that is utterly irrelevant to this issue (and to most issues, for that matter). I am interested in facts, and there is a fact that is missing here. I’d be on McCain’s ass if he did the same thing, whether as a candidate or the winner of the election.

  20. Kirk Freeman says:

    “which has precisely fuck-all to do with where he was born.”

    This is incorrect as a matter of law. Where Barack was born does in fact matter a great deal as to his natural bornness.

    Yeah, the tinfoilers are sometimes inarticulate, but if the tinfoilers are just hicks from where the fox and hare kiss each other good night, then why the court protective order in Hawaii?

    Considering that Barack became a Senator because of his unsealing not one, but two, court protective orders on divorces to dig up dirt, it would be cosmic justice to see Barack impeached and removed from office over this.

    The tinfoilers just need to find someone with standing (federal agent, employee, member of the armed forces, inter alia) and then get a federal order to dig up the “official records” in Hawaii.

    As much as Democrats love to play victim, why hasn’t Barack used this issue to help him during the primary, the general election or now?

  21. Jerry says:

    Marko, flinch all you want, we are shooting at the same target. As I recall, we both write to our reps, etc. Your audience is far broader than any I could hope to influence.

    Obama may have been sworn in but he lacks a few items to justify my confidence.

    As for respect – I will show the same respect that others showed the previous administration.

    In the past I have observed your stout stance on our constitution I’m sure you will continue to stand firm. As for me, I will continue to write my reps as often as possible about our freedoms and the continuing erroson.

  22. Paul says:


    You have criticized those who are all over Obama on this Constitutional issue, accusing them of not caring when the Bush Administration violated other aspects of the document.

    You have a very good point.

    However, that raises the question of why you were all over Bush about his violations, but don’t seem to give a rat’s ass about this thing with Obama. In other words, you’re the pot calling the kettle black…or so it seems to me, a new reader of this blog.

  23. I’m going to +1 on part of wolfwalkers’:

    …have been thrown out, not on the merits, but for lack of standing by the plaintiffs. This raises the question of who would have standing to file such a lawsuit.

    and Tam’s:

    If I was in the Obama machine I’d be holding that absolute proof in reserve until the other side was willing to make a huge issue of it, and then make them look like idiots in court…

    And I suppose taking the oath of office twice, you know, “just in case”, was done to drive the wingnuts off the deep-end I suppose?

    This shit should not have been allowed to progress past getting on the ballot on all 57 states. If you want to run for President, be prepared to pony up a small bit of your privacy.

  24. MarkHB says:

    “Those who are willing to give up a small part of their privacy for a small measure of security….”

    If you want to see my documents, you present me with a Federal Warrant. If you want to see the President’s documents….

    ….what should you do?

  25. ChrisB says:


    Politicians don’t have a right to a public office, so if need to produce documentation proving they’re Constitutionally eligible for that office, so be it.

    You do, however, have a right to be left to your business, that’s why the govt. needs to go through the legal process to obtain one, otherwise demanding your info absent a warrant would infringe on your rights.

  26. MarkHB says:

    I’ll need to see the law on that one, ChrisB.

  27. MarkHB says:

    Actually, I know the law on that one.

    *sighs, pinches the bridge of his nose*

    He’s probably a lot more American than I am, and I hold a by-birth US Passport. Want to contest it? Call a judge. It’s not my job, and I’ve got shit to deal with anyway.

  28. ChrisB says:

    I think you miss the point, Mark.

    Requiring a politician to prove they’re eligible to hold office isn’t a violation of their fundamental rights. As for calling a judge, the previously mentioned soldier should have standing to bring suit, so I’ll leave that to him.

  29. Dobie says:

    I had to prove my citizenship when I joined the military, I did this by producing my original birth certificate, among other things. It went to proving loyalty, eligibility for clearance, etc.

    The jump there is that, based on the background info the new CinC provided when he applied for, and was ultimately hired for the job, he would not be granted the clearance to be an admin clerk. In fact, we know nothing about the guy’s background, except what has leaked out (most not good), some of his past relationships (again, most not good), and what he’s told us (most of which SMELLS like bullshit); no college admissions, transcripts, etc.

    He blathers on about openness in government, but based on his openness about himself and what we’ve seen, so far, in his administration, this smells like bullshit too.

    While I didn’t agree with a lot (okay, most) of what McCain stood for, at least you KNOW what he stood for. Opossum, apparently, has never taken a stand in his life. Rabble rousing, I mean community organizing, and part-time legislator do not qualify one to be president. Oh wait, the only qualifications the Constitution list are: 1) be a natural-born citizen, 2) be 35 or older, 3) have lived 14 years in the US. We can probably guess he has #2, #3 is also likely, but we don’t really know, and #1 is a big fat question mark. Why the hell is that?

    Speaking of qualifications, and despite the howls to the contrary by the MSM, Sarah Palin was more qualified than ALL three of the guys in the race. At least she had SOME executive experience.

    Sorry for the rant

  30. mike w. says:

    “Why am I not really surprised that a sitting U.S. senator is ignorant about our Constitution? ”

    Isn’t that a prerequisite for the job these days?

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