'Birthers' lose again: Obama on Kansas ballot
Joseph Montgomery of Manhattan, Kan., is the communications director for Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Montgomery has reluctantly withdrawn a request to state election officials to investigate Obama's "real" and "true" citizenship status. If, as Montgomery suggests and suspects, the president is not a "natural-born" United States citizen, then, of course, Obama’s name cannot legally appear on the Kansas (or any other state's) ballot for president on Nov. 6.
Montgomery withdrew his request via email, citing outrage by Obama supporters when the state elections board assented to an investigation into Obama’s birthplace and birth certificate. The Montgomery email as released to TPM and addressed to the Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, reads as follows:
“There has been a great deal of animosity and intimidation directed not only at me, but at people around me, who are both personal and professional associations. I’m don’t [sic] wish to burden anyone with more of this negative reaction, so please immediatley [sic] withdraw any action on this objection.”
The Kansas Objections Board, as stated, agreed to look into Montgomery’s objection on Thursday. The Board, Republicans all, is constituted thusly: Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer. Their original plan was to look at this matter today (Monday) after obtaining certified copies of Obama’s birth certificate from the state of Hawaii.
Secretary of State Kobach (not surprisingly) is an advisor to Mitt Romney. He told TPM on Thursday that he had no comment on President Obama’s citizenship status.
Montgomery himself has interviewed with the Huffington Post. His claim there as to his purposes in filing the objection to Obama was simply to begin “constructive dialogue” over the “issue.” He conceded that such a “dialogue” had “not been successful.”
The complaint (“objection”) itself is quite a document. Montgomery avers the existence of “substantial evidence showing that much of Mr. Obama’s alleged birth certificates have been forged or doctored, and have not been confirmed as legally valid, true and accurate.” The most salient theory promulgated is that Obama, by virtue of his father’s known non-citizenship, is therefore himself not a “natural-born citizen.” This, of course, is a most fanciful reading of the “natural born” clause in the Constitution, and would have disqualified a number of past presidents from serving.
Montgomery uses Obama’s own biography which mistakenly identifies Kenya as his birthplace and which was first brought to light by the discredited site, Breitbart.com. The complaint cites a number of foreign (Kenyan) and American news reports that purport to prove Obama’s foreign birth.
Kip F. Wainscott is an attorney for Team Obama. He responded in a Sept. 12 letter to the Secretary of State, Kobach, that:
“Like the scattered remnants of ‘birthers’ in other proceedings, [Montgomery] presents this argument despite a unanimous series of cases in federal and state courts that have unequivocally rejected the same factual and legal contentions, and also despite public records that have been released demonstrating conclusively that the President was born in Hawaii in 1961. These tired allegations are utterly baseless, and the Objector’s arguments are entirely without merit.”
In breaking news, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post, the Objections Board has met today and unanimously voted to retain President Obama’s name on the ballot. The meeting was also attended by the queen of the birther movement, Orly Taiz. After being told by Kobach that she was “out of order,” and that her objections were not “timely,” Taiz repeatedly interrupted the meeting. "She kept trying to make her case from the floor," Topeka City Councilman Chad Manspeaker (D), who attended the meeting, told The Huffington Post.
Finally, "Mr. Kobach gave her time," said Manspeaker.
"She kept talking. He could have removed [Taitz] from the room but politically that was a bad move for him," Manspeaker said of Kobach. Interestingly (and again not surprisingly), Kobach is himself a Tea Partier and participated in writing Arizona's new draconian immigration law.
So Obama’s name will appear on the Kansas ballot after all.
But, Thomas Frank’s 2004 question still stands (as indicated by the title of his best selling 2004 book): “What Is The Matter With Kansas?” (Emphasis added). By any measure, Kansas is not considered a “battleground” state in this election. It is now and has been for years staunchly Republican. Obama’s mother, her parents (his grandparents) are all documented Kansans. The state has been in the bag for Romney from Day One, and a Republican stronghold for most of living memory. Why then would its Republican leadership allow itself to be used and made to look ridiculous by engaging in the “mad birther syndrome?”
The answer is that, as with most things which inform and drive “conservatives,” “Tea Partiers,” and today’s far right-wing, fear is the operative factor in all things political, cultural, social, economic. If there is even the slightest chance that their side, or their argument, or their position might even remotely, possibly, suffer a loss of any type or to any degree whatever, then a righteous fear of extinction, a fear of failure, a fear of the unfamiliar, the strange, the other, of Armageddon engulfs and then sets in and becomes an integral part of their very essence, souls and being. This constant state of fear paralyzes them while it smultaneously immunizes them from all contradictory notions, thoughts, feelings, values, opinions and ideas. It is like a religion, this fear. It allows them to proceed with their lives knowing and knowing absolutely, that they, and only they, have and know the truth.
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