Peter Lemiska
Just what is Obama hiding?
By Peter Lemiska
August 3, 2009

Conspiracy theories have always been around, scoffed at by most as the products of half truths, distorted truths, unanswered questions, and wild imaginations. Today, using the internet, it's easy to twist a few facts, play on some doubts, and give birth to a new conspiracy theory. On the other hand, it's just as easy for people to attach that label to any unpalatable assertion that they choose not to believe.

One theory has been simmering since before the last election, alleging that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii, as he claims, that he was actually born in Kenya, and therefore not a natural born citizen. And while there are some variations to the theory, they all reach the same conclusion: Though Obama spent most of his life in this country, he is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president. Fueled, in large part by columnist Joe Farah and his website,, the number of believers has grown exponentially over the past several months.

"Ridiculous!" you say.

Well, more than 430,000 people disagree. That is the number of readers who have signed Farah's petition demanding Obama produce his original birth certificate. "Birthers," as they are called, are not all certain that Obama was born outside the country. But they are firmly convinced that he is hiding something — something that may very well affect his eligibility to serve. Their ranks include a number of prominent figures, including Ambassador Dr. Alan Keyes and radio host Dr. Michael Savage. Attorneys, congressmen and other elected officials are now pondering these charges out loud, and ominously, military officers and servicemen are beginning to question Obama's authority over them. Even CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, while not challenging Obama's citizenship, is suggesting that it is time for him to produce his original birth certificate.

The far-left, of course, responds with open ridicule, but that is to be expected from those who demean all Obama's critics as desperate and irrational racists. CNN's anchor Rick Sanchez could barely contain his contempt for birthers during one segment as he pompously displayed what he considers the definitive proof of Obama's natural born citizenship — the same computer generated, condensed "Certification of Live Birth," that is being challenged by the skeptics.

Admittedly, most others, including many conservatives, readily accept Obama's birth claims. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who claims to be apolitical, states that his organization investigated the issue when it first came up, and proclaims unequivocally that Obama was born in Hawaii.

These critics also point to Obama's 1961 birth announcement in a Honolulu newspaper as conclusive evidence of his birth in Hawaii. It may be the best proof they have, but without examining the process in place for posting new births 48 years ago, it is hardly conclusive. Actually, over the past several months, each side has cited various "indisputable" facts to buttress its position.

Two things are indisputable:

  1. Federal employees and military members exposed to sensitive or classified information must undergo extensive and intrusive background investigations examining credit history, criminal history, questionable associations, educational claims, allegations of drug usage, character in general, and yes, citizenship. Obama has never been subjected to any such scrutiny, and any claims about a proper examination of his birth certificate have to be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.

  2. There have been more than a dozen lawsuits across the country challenging Obama's citizenship and calling for release of pertinent documents, including his original birth certificate, admission records from the schools he attended, and passport records. His highly-paid legal team has aggressively and effectively resisted all efforts to obtain any such documents. The legal fees are unquestionably staggering.

Was O'Reilly serious when he argued that it was Obama's arrogance that prevents him from releasing those records? Arrogant he may be, but considering the legal and political costs to Obama, fair minded people can only conclude that there is some more substantial reason for his dogged defiance. Not long ago, candidate Obama promised to bring unity to the country and a new era of transparency. His obstinate refusal to release those documents is a breach of both promises.

It all sounds incredible. It certainly is incredible, but is it impossible? Who could have imagined 35 years ago that a sitting president would be forced to resign from office for obstruction of justice in a burglary case?

Farah and the birthers raise some legitimate and intriguing questions. The far-left will continue to stick their fingers in their ears while repeating out loud the words "You people are nuts!" But more and more people are opening their minds, listening, and asking the obvious question "What is Obama hiding?"

In fact, this is not a partisan issue. Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike have the right to know basic facts about the people we elect. Every day across the country, citizens are required to provide proper documentation for drivers' licenses, employment, school, and travel. Why shouldn't our elected officials be subjected to the same scrutiny?

And as to those investigative reporters, content with their unshakable conclusions, perhaps they should consider that the greatest asset of a good investigator is an open mind.

© Peter Lemiska


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Peter Lemiska

Peter Lemiska served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Secret Service. Following his retirement from the Secret Service, he spent several years as a volunteer for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Like most of his contemporaries, he's always loved his country, and is deeply dismayed by the new and insidious anti-American sentiment threatening to destroy it. He's a life-long conservative, and his opinion pieces have been published in various print media and on numerous internet sites.


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