During Tuesday’s forum for GOP candidates for Governor of Georgia, State Rep. Austin Scott took a jab at US Rep. Nathan Deal while answering a question about the state’s water issues for making an issue out of the conspiracy theory surrounding President Barack Obama’s birth certificate (you can watch the video here, Scott’s comments are at 24:41, Deal’s reply is at 28:58). I’m not the biggest Austin Scott fan, but he had the line of the night.
Scott said (audio):
Let me say this, regardless of who the next governor is they’re gonna have to work with people at the federal level. I’m promise I’m gonna be respectful of our president. I’m gonna support him when I think he’s right and I’m gonna oppose him when I think he’s wrong.
But the ability to work with the president and the leadership at the national level is hindered when you have people who are running for governor that are calling for childish things like the president to show his birth certificate.
A few moments later, panelist Tim Bryant of WGAU asked Deal directly about why he is pursuing the kooky conspiracy theory:
Congressman Deal, Representative Scott brought it up, let me follow up. What if any are your concerns about President Obama’s lawful constitutional status to serve as president. Do you have issues with his birth certificate?
Deal replied (audio):
I don’t have any issues with his birth certificate, and I really don’t think it’s really something that is an issue in the governor’s race. None of these folks serve in Congress. None of them get asked the questions that I get asked by constituents, “tell me what the status of the president’s birth certificate is.” I have simply asked the president, “tell me where I can refer these constituent inquiries to, to a source that you think is credible so that we can answer their questions.” I think that is a reasonable proposition and certainly something that I think the president should respond to. Although at this point, he has not.
In fact, there is a source that has thoroughly debunked this conspiracy theory, though not the only source that knocks this myth out of the water.
Deal tries to pawn it off on his constituents. I don’t buy it. While some of them may believe the myth that Obama was born in Kenya and he may have been approached about it, Deal should know well enough to separate fact from fiction. I’m sure his constituents care much more about issues that actually matter. For him to continue questioning it, going as far to write the White House about the issue is ridiculous and it should make his constituents question his ability to serve in office.
Deal says that this shouldn’t been “an issue in the governor’s race.” I disagree because it brings his capability to effectively serve into question. Given the challenges that the next Governor of Georgia will face, his attention should be on matters where he may actually make a difference, such as the state’s water crisis and budget problems. Chasing half-cocked conspiracies that really have no place in public discourse is a disservice to, not on his constituents, but to all the citizens of Georgia.
I respect the office Nathan Deal holds, but I’ve lost all respect for the man himself. Someone that cannot face facts should not be Governor of Georgia, let alone serve in Congress.