Conspiracy Theorists Maintain Their Fantasies on Obama’s Birth

Yesterday I wrote about the conspiracy theories regarding Barack Obama’s birth, beginning with a link to Marc Ambinder and followed by links to other sources which provide evidence verifying that Obama is Constitutionally eligible to be president. Marc Ambinder has a follow up post today:

Since I baldly asserted that Barack Obama was provably a citizen and provably eligible to be president, several readers have written to ask me how I know this to be true.

Well, his birth certificate is valid, for one thing; it’s survived scrutiny and has been sanctioned as valid by the legal authority empowered to sanction such things. A conspiracy to cover this up is — would be — preposterous.

A thinner version of the claim holds that Obama is a citizen, but not a natural born or naturalized citizen and this constitutionally ineligible. This claim rests on a fairly tendentious argument about Obama’s father and mother. Obama Sr., wasn’t a citizen; therefore, his son could not have been born to two U.S. citizens; to be a naturalized citizen, both parents have to be U.S. citizens. Also: the law requires citizen-parents to have spent a certain length of time in the state; Obama’s mother was a woman of the world.

But the two-citizen parent rule, which is no longer in effect, applied to people born outside the U.S.  Obama was born in 1961 in Hawaii, a U.S. state since 1959; (had he been born earlier, it wouldn’t matter — U.S. law granted natural born citizenship to every Hawaiian born after 1900.)

Of course, as Ambinder I’m sure is aware (assuming he has heard from the same types of conspiracy nuts I have), the basic facts of the case are denied by the conspiracy theorists. Although Obama’s actual birth certificate has been examined and verified as legitimate by impartial sources, they continue to claim that it has not. Some even deny the fact that Obama was born in the United States despite evidence he was, including a newspaper announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser.

For the conspiracy theories to be true, and all the available evidence to be false, it would take a remarkable conspiracy dating back to 1961. Obama’s family, or some other party, would have had to have the motivation and ability to place such newspaper announcements and forge a birth certificate. Even more remarkably, such conspirators back in 1961 would have had to think that a child born of a racially mixed couple would one day even have the possibility of being elected president of the United States.

The likelihood of such a conspiracy is about as low as the likelihood that the moon missions were staged on a Hollywood stage or in an isolated desert.

Update: With the Supreme Court deciding whether to hear the case tomorrow, we are certain to hear even more from the conspiracy theorists. A decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the case would be taken as evidence that the conspiracy has reached the highest levels of government. In the unlikely even they decide to merely hear the case, this will be spun as evidence for the validity of their claims.

That’s the wonder of conspiracy theories. Regardless of what happens in the real world, the conspiracy theorists always have more material to use to fuel their fantasies.


  1. 1
    Bill says:

        Let me object to the analogy with faking the moon landings on a Hollywood sound stage.

        Assuming that the Apollo rocket technology had failed (I am a rocket scientist by profession, by the way, and do not believe it did fail!), the U.S. Goverment might have had an actual motive to falsify a moon landing to avoid embarassment.

        I think your main point is that a 1961 conspiracy to forge birth records for a baby, (who at the time would have been seen as virtually condemmed to at best a lower middle class life) with a view to getting him elected… is simply incomprehensible and unbelievable.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    You do have a point, but I would still consider both conspiracy theories implausible. As with any analogy, there are areas where it doesn’t hold exactly.

  3. 3
    VictorM says:

    To really annoy the nuts, I propose that we start the rumor that Barack Obama was never born at all.

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