My New Favorite Obama Rumor


It's that the Man from Hawaii's birth certificate, never released to the press (but cited by the campaign), reveals a deep, dark secret. Emphasis on "dark." Jim Geraghty, who did some mighty fine debunking of the "whitey tape" smear (which was mentioned by Maureen Dowd today: Mazel tov, Larry Johnson!), started the ball rolling.

There are several (unlikely) rumors circulating regarding Obama's birth certificate.

Rumor One: Obama was born in Kenya.

Rumor Two: Obama's middle name
is not "Hussein" but "Muhammad."

Rumor Three: His mother did not want to name him after his father, and his birth certificate says "Barry."

Geraghty lists them, I think, in descending orders of risibility. Obama couldn't have been born in Kenya because there is no record of 23-year old Barack Hussein Obama Sr. and 18-year old Ann Dunham travelling there in 1961. They were college students who conceived their son (am I really writing this?) in a dorm and moved to a house off campus when their kid was born. Obama Sr. had a wife he abandoned in Kenya, so I'm not sure why he would have rushed back. The Obama family story, corroborated by everyone who knew them, is that the parents lived in Hawaii for two years until father bolted to study at Harvard.

Nonetheless, here's the best stuff from a fever-swampy (400 comment!) HotAir thread:

There's more to this story regarding a bunch of trips that Obama's mother undertook from Hawaii to the Philippines when he was little, and why. It also has something to do with birth, citizenship, clarification of the entire record. Hillary is wainting in the wings. Get ready for Hillary/McCain.

*Smacks forehead* Of course! Hillary suspended her campaign because she knew reporters would dig up proof of Obama's Kenyan citizenship, after which she could swoop in and take the nomination via tomfoolery, destroying the hopes of the party's loyal black base without which no Democrat can win! It's obvious, really.

The best theory on the "Muhammad" rumor comes from the same thread from—wait for it—Eric Dondero.

At the time that Obama could have changed his name from Muhammed to Hussein, Saddam Hussein didn't have the huge negative connotations that it does now. Remember, back in the 1980s, Hussein was almost an ally of the US, particularly right after the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

(I served in Reagan's Navy back then, including two tours in the Persian Gulf at the time, right at the height of the Iraq/Iran War.)

Proof! But there are some problems here. For starters, Obama Sr. was not a practicing Muslim was his son was born. He was an atheist. Why he'd name his son after the prophet when he believed the prophet was a bullshit salesman, I have no idea. There's also the problem that while Hawaii's birth certificates aren't public, there are records of "Barack Hussein Obama, Jr." at his various schools in Indonesia and Hawaii… before the period when Eric Dondero, P.I. theorized that he decided to change his name.

Geraghty floated another rumor, that the birth certificate might have classified Obama (again, the son of two people who weren't practicing a religion) as a Muslim. And then he updated the rumor: Turns out 1960s Hawaii birth certificates didn't list religion. But, hey, at least the rumor got out there!

Why do I keep following this stuff? One, I think conspiracies are fun. Two, it's a depressing sign of how sluggish and defeated the GOP base is this year that it feels compelled to engage in magical thinking. That's what this is: The stubborn hope that something, anything, will fall from the sky and make the Democratic candidate unelectable. Democrats did it four years ago and eight years ago, hoping, respectively, that National Guard documents would reveal that Bush dodged service, and that evidence would surface that he used cocaine. Every once in a while something like Bush's DUI arrest or Kerry's "Christmas in Cambodia" story will prove true, and the rumor mill is vindicated. But 90 percent of the time, this is time-wasting nonsense.

The most likely reason why we haven't seen Obama's birth certificate (something I can't remember being demanded of another candidate at this level) is that Obama is arrogant and, when it suits him, private. There's a long record of him behaving this way, with plenty of examples from this campaign (I won't quit my church! My advisor never said we were lying about NAFTA!). But that doesn't feed the rumor mill.