I just got off the phone with Joseph Farah, editor and CEO of WorldNetDaily, which has long given a prominent voice to “Birther” concerns. Farah told me WND looks at the release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate as a victory after two and a half years of lobbying for it. He credited a combination of recent polls showing doubt about Obama’s birth, and Donald Trump’s hammering of the issue in public appearances, with prompting the release.
“There’s no question that his megaphone has been the most meaningful megaphone we’ve had on this issue in a very long period of time,” Farah said of Trump. “I think the fact that he’s potentially a presidential candidate is one of the factors that brought us to this occasion today. Without Trump’s involvement…and without the latest polls I don’t think Obama would have decided to release this document.”
But, in keeping with the early reactions of most prominent Birthers who seem intent on keeping the theory alive, Farah said he is unconvinced by the release, which “raises more questions than it answers.”
“I just don’t accept handouts from government officials and assume they are what they say they are, given that he’s withheld this stuff for two and half years,” Farah said. “If the issue is natural-born citizenship, which is what we should all be focusing on, rather than was he born in Hawaii, then the questions still remain.”
But wouldn’t a Hawaiian birth, confirmed by the release, settle once and for all that Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen constitutionally eligible to serve as president? Farah said no, and repeatedly sought to shift the focus from the question of where he was born to the question of to whom he was born.
“Natural born citizenship is clearly a higher standard than just ordinary citizenship,” he said, rehearsing a line long advanced by WND that since his father was a British subject and Kenyan citizen, Obama was born with “dual allegiances” and thus should not be considered “natural born” for constitutional purposes even if he was born in the United States to an American mother. That is not, needless to say, a view that is shared by the courts.
“If he was born to two American citizens in Hawaii I would have no problem,” Farah said. But, he went on, “it’s not just a matter of ‘Where were you born? Oh, you’re good to go.’ That’s not the issue the Founders were thinking about.”
“What I see happening here with the case of Barack Obama is that we’re dumbing-down the definition of what it means to be a natural-born citizen,” he said.
Farah also repeated the Birther theory that Obama’s mother was too young to have conferred citizenship on her son by virtue of being a citizen herself. But not only does that theory rely on a rather obviously misaken reading of the relevant law — it only becomes operant in the first place if Obama were born “outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions.” (Title 8, Chapter 12, sub-chapter III, Part I §1401 of the U.S. code).
Even so, Farah insisted that there is still little known about Obama’s “history of citizenship” after his birth, and raised anew questions about whether he ever traveled under foreign passports or attended college registered as a foreign student. He also questioned why Obama’s legal adoption by stepfather Lolo Soetoro was not noted in an amendment to the birth certificate released by the White House. But Farah would not specify how any of these possibilities would change the president’s eligibility to serve, beyond saying it was “an area of the constitution that requires some deep thought.”
When I asked whether the White House move would render colleague Jerome Corsi’s forthcoming book, Where’s the Birth Certificate?, a dead letter, Farah said he believes that was the administration’s intention.
“I think that’s the intent of the release of this birth certificate, primarily. Drop a little bombshell and derail the impending mystery around this book. But I do believe that we shall overcome that. I’m more convinced than ever that this will be a huge bestseller,” he said.