Monte Kuligowski
Hey Whoopi: It's not about skin color
By Monte Kuligowski
April 6, 2011

Potential presidential candidate Donald Trump had to negotiate a whole lot of blind emotion as a recent guest on The View. Like Carrie Prejean, The Donald was handed a question he didn't ask for. And his answer also left the asker exasperated.

Joy Behar brought up Trump's recent words about Obama's mysterious childhood and asked him if he was "a birther." Birther is one of those identity words of the left meant to stigmatize opponents into silent fear. But Trump just spoke the language of common sense.

Trump's position essentially is one of "trust but verify," as Reagan used to say. Mr. Trump accepts Obama's claim of a Hawaii birth, but like millions of other Americans, he wonders, "Why doesn't the president show his birth certificate?" That's what Mr. Trump wondered out loud on the program. The Donald also stated the unspeakable but obvious conclusion: Obama is hiding something.

Even Obama, at least when he's disconnected from his own secrecy, agrees that "[t]he only people who don't want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide."

Of course, the reasonable conclusion that Obama is hiding something is like fingernails on the chalkboard to the faithful devotees of The One.

Here's how Whoopi Goldberg responded:

"That's a terrible thing to say, oh my God...that's the biggest pile of dog mess I've heard in ages. It's not 'cause he's black, is it?

Because I've never heard any white president being asked to show his birth certificate. When you become the president of the United States of America, you know that he's American. I'm sorry. That's just B.S."

Sorry, Whoopi, but the conclusion that Obama is hiding something is not a terrible thing to say; the actual concealment of basic records is the terrible thing.

I have a hard time believing that Ms. Goldberg lacks critical thinking abilities to the point of really believing that people want to see Obama's birth certificate (and other records he has under lock and key) only because of the color of his skin. Because I don't believe that Ms. Goldberg is stupid, I have to conclude that skin color alone is the catalyst for her and others' irrational defense of Obama. In other words, those accusing others of being racists are being influenced by their own obsession with Obama's race.

There are a million reasons for wanting to see Obama's records. We should begin with the way in which Obama held himself out as Mr. Transparency to the American people during his campaign. And it was Obama who promised "unprecedented transparency" as president. Since he holds himself out as the most open and transparent president in our history, Obama ought to deliver.

There are facts unique to Obama which raise questions that do not apply to others, whether white or black. We've had other black men (four, and also three women) run for president in the past, and questions of eligibility and birthplace were never an issue. Many weren't exactly fond of Jesse Jackson's politics during his presidential runs, but no one had reason to doubt his at-home birth in South Carolina.

Prior to Obama, we never had a person run, whether black or white, who was born to a foreign national father whose permanent residence was on another continent. Barack Obama, Jr. was not born into the status of undivided natural allegiance to the United States. Obama was born into dual citizenship status with conflicting loyalties.

Amazingly, not one person has come forward as a witness to President Obama's birth in Hawaii. And Obama's mother and maternal grandparents have passed on. The only alleged birth witness is Obama's paternal step-grandmother, who reportedly said that Obama was born in Mombasa.

Additionally, other Kenyans are proud of their claimed son of Africa, including Obama's half-brother and half-sister and a member of parliament, the Hon. James Orengo. A Kenyan publication, the Sunday Standard, reporting on then-state senator Obama's race for the U.S. Senate in 2004, opens as follows: "Kenyan-born US Senate hopeful, Barrack [sic] Obama, appeared set to take over the Illinois Senate seat after his main rival, Jack Ryan, dropped out of the race on Friday night amid a furor over lurid sex club allegations."

The presumably ridiculous claims of Obama's Kenyan birth should be dispelled by simply looking at the passport records of Obama's mother, Stanley Dunham. Her passport records should indicate no overseas travel around the time of Obama's birth and end the controversy. But, unfortunately, that will not quite solve the problem, because Dunham's passport records from that time-frame are missing.

The point here is not that the Kenyan claims are true, but that such reports should reasonably compel Mr. Obama to release the relevant records to end any controversy. Full transparency would build trust and cause doubts to subside.

As Notre Dame Law School professor emeritus Charles Rice notes, "the citizens whom the media and political pundits dismiss as 'birthers' have raised legitimate questions. That legitimacy is fueled by Obama's curious, even bizarre, refusal to consent to the release of the relevant records." With Obama's consent, we would know the details immediately, and the matter would be laid to rest.

But thanks in large part to two of Obama's biggest fans, the Obama secrecy issue has been blown wide open. Trump is simply asking reasonable questions.

First, Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie announced late last year that he would end the controversy by going into the vital records archives to retrieve Obama's detailed birth certificate. Interestingly, he found some notations in the records but could not confirm a birth certificate, citing privacy laws — which caused people to wonder why he would announce his intentions to locate the document in the first place.

Next, during Abercrombie's "expedition," Chris Matthews held up an actual hospital-generated Hawaii birth certificate from Obama's birth era, showing details such as a hospital and physician of record. Next to it, he held up for the cameras a copy of the bare-bones certification that the Daily Kos and the Obama campaign had posted online in 2008. In apparent frustration, Matthews called upon Obama to just release his detailed birth certificate and end the controversy.

In light of the fact that Hawaii had lax birth registration laws in 1961 through which births were registered for a number of reasons, including claims of at-home births, Matthews' new information was a bombshell for those who didn't know that Obama had posted only a certification, not his detailed birth certificate.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama stands by as though he is some third-party onlooker to the controversy.

Unfortunately, an unnecessary cloud of secrecy continues to gather over Obama's head, and the president is not helping himself politically by concealing basic records.

If Herman Cain runs for president in 2012, his "natural born Citizen" status will not become an issue. That's because Mr. Cain doesn't have a background shrouded in secrecy.

The word "birther" will not become associated with Herman Cain because questions relating to constitutional eligibility are based on law and evidence, not skin color.

Sorry, Whoopi — once Obama-worship is set aside, we are left with the colorblind issues of eligibility and secrecy.

© Monte Kuligowski


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Monte Kuligowski

Monte Kuligowski is an attorney and writer whose legal scholarship, including "Does the Declaration of Independence Pass the Lemon Test?" (Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy), has been published in several law journals... (more)

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