I’ve Heard Rumors You Smell Like Poo

By Jesse Taylor
Tuesday, June 10, 2008 13:30 EDT
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Via Whiskey Fire, the National Review is proposing an innocent, simple solution that should help Barack Obama – showing us his papers, please:

Having done some Obama-rumor debunking that got praise from Daily Kos (a sign of the apocalypse, no doubt), perhaps the Obama campaign could return the favor and help debunk a bunch of others with a simple step: Could they release a copy of his birth certificate?

What are the rumors that demand debunking?

Rumor one: Obama was born in Kenya. Rather unlikely, as it would require everyone in his family to lie about this in every interview and discussion with those outside the family since young Obama appeared on the scene. However, if it were true, it would probably raise a major question of “does he qualify as a natural-born citizen”?

If it were true, it would require a bigger coverup than the moon landing, JFK and the Pop Rocks/Pepsi connection combined, if for no other reason than that it would presume a kid and his mom living in Kansas managed to falsify birth records well enough to fool, in no particular order:

- Harvard Law
- The Illinois State Bar
- The State Legislature of Illinois
- The United States Senate
- The State Department
- The Defense Department
- The Build-A-Bear Rewards Program

Next rumor?

Rumor Two: Obama’s middle name is not “Hussein” but “Muhammad.”

As Politifact notes, all available public records going back to 1991 refer to the candidate as “Barack H. Obama.”

For the people that this would actually matter to, isn’t this akin to saying that Rapefist is hiding the sordid secret of his real name, Murderface?

Rumor Three: His mother did not want to name him after his father, and his birth certificate says “Barry.” Perhaps the most plausible of the rumors, as Obama was known by that name through much of his childhood and young adulthood. If true, this would spur a new round of “When Barry Became Barack” stories – a minor headache for the campaign, but hardly a major scandal.

“You know, my entire life, I’ve identified as Barry, because it was my birth name. Now that I’m ready to take the next step into public life, I should really do something about that. What’s something close enough to my actual name, but still foreign-sounding and scary to ignorant white people? There’s Baraka, but that movie’s coming out soon…I know, Barack!”

Obama’s the perfect nexus of smear rumors – a liberalish Democrat with a weird name, dark skin and foreign roots that tangentially go back to the Muslim/Arab world. At some point, the responsibility for the dissemination of these smears falls on the people disseminating them, and not the person being smeared.

That point, incidentally, is the day after Obama’s second term ends, and not a moment sooner.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
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