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Bob Bernick Jr.: Obama was born in the U.S. Got that, nutcakes?

First off, congratulations both to Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert and state Sen. Greg Bell.

Wednesday, Herbert picked Bell to be his lieutenant governor when Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. finally flies off to China as the United States' new ambassador to that country.

Bell, R-Fruit Heights, is one of the good guys in the state Senate — bright, reasonable. And Herbert did well in picking him.

Now, for the loyal readers of this column, you know that I rarely use this space for rants. Rather, I think it's better to detail political events and try to understand them.

But not this time.

Today, I address the "nutcakes" who argue that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. And thus, under the Constitution, he can't be president. First, I'd like to thank Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, for coining the phrase "nutcakes." Hatch made up this word, perhaps in a moment of verbal frustration, to describe Utahns who had the gall to protest against the war in Iraq, or the former administration's assault on civil liberties, or waterboarding, or who knows what, when former President George W. Bush visited Utah several years ago.

I mean, how dare people protest against a U.S. president and his policies?

I guess Hatch missed the 1960s.

Anyway, I like the word "nutcakes." It has a nice ring to it. And for me it fully describes the people — also known as "birthers" — who apparently have little to do with their time, except to make stuff up and deny reality.

Maybe these are the same people who, for a time, believed that Hatch was really an alien from outer space — as reported in a tabloid newspaper years back. But I digress.

These new nutcakes say that Obama really wasn't born in Hawaii back on Aug. 4, 1961. He was really born in Kenya or Indonesia or some other place outside of the U.S. Since the Constitution says the president must be born in the United States, Obama can't be president.

And following that to its logical conclusion, since Obama has never been naturalized, or given citizenship (since he WAS actually born here), then our president is also an illegal alien.

Now, Hawaii doesn't allow just anyone to see a birth certificate. You have to be an interested party. But photocopies of Obama's birth certificate can be found all over the Web, and Hawaiian officials who have seen the real certificate have sworn to it. (You can see a photocopy of the certificate at: latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/06/obama-birth.html

And there is that birth announcement placed in the local newspaper back in August of 1961 announcing a baby boy born to his mother and father. But all this isn't good enough for these nutcakes. They retort that the certificate isn't proof that he was born in the U.S., only that he was born. And anyone can place a birth announcement in a newspaper — and who believes newspapers, anyway.

Eleven GOP U.S. House members want a law saying a presidential candidate must prove he's a born American. And a recent poll found that more than 50 percent of Republicans living in the South still question Obama's U.S. citizenship status.

Never mind that George Romney, who ran for the presidency in 1968, but lost, was actually born in Mexico. Never mind that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, was actually born in Panama. The nutcakes are on the loose, they are sure of themselves, and they are mad.

America for Americans! By golly!

I like the way some national GOP leaders are addressing this question. You can tell that they don't believe the nutcakes. But they can't call them nutcakes, because then they get in trouble with the wacky right wing of their party. And who wants that?

So they talk about how Obama's citizenship is a "settled question." They talk about how anyone is free to say anything in the United States, believe anything they wish. And who knows, some leaders say, maybe all this attention will turn up some greater evidence against Obama?

Personally, I think a better use of the nutcakes' time is to revisit the issue of Hatch being an alien from outer space.

I'm just sayin', maybe there's something to that …

Deseret News political editor Bob Bernick Jr. may be reached by e-mail at bbjr@desnews.com.