In a guest editorial at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Loren Collins, a friend and fellow libertarian, takes issue with Georgia politicians pushing the ridiculous conspiracy theory surrounding Barack Obama’s citizenship.
Loren mentions the more well-known birthers, Nathan Deal and Paul Broun, but he takes aim at legislation introduced in the final days of the Georgia General Assembly by State Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross):
[S]tate Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) recently introduced House Bill 1516. Had it passed, it would have required presidential candidates to provide evidence of their constitutional eligibility in order to appear on Georgia ballots. In the abstract, such a requirement is perfectly reasonable.
But Hatfield’s real intent shines through in the details. Hatfield does not propose that his fellow General Assembly members should prove their eligibility under the Georgia Constitution, nor that our statewide elected officials, such as the governor, should do so. Nor does he propose the same standard of proof for our federal representatives and senators.
Hatfield’s bill does not even demand documentation from vice presidential candidates, who have the same eligibility standards as the president. Most astonishingly, Hatfield proposes nothing to ensure the constitutional eligibility of any third-party presidential candidates; his bill covers only Republicans and Democrats.
In other words, if Hatfield’s bill passed, the only candidates in the November 2012 election whose eligibility it would scrutinize would be Barack Obama and his Republican challenger. Hatfield has written a bill so narrow that the only way it could be narrower would be for it to identify Obama by name.
Hatfield even admits his bill is targeted at Obama. He says, “I don’t think that the American people have been given any adequate documentation of the president’s citizenship.” This, even though he already has a birth certification, birth announcements and a state official’s confirmation. And to whom did he give his first public interview about his bill? Joseph Farah, the Internet’s leading birther propagandist.
Birtherism is denialist claptrap wrapped in a veil of patriotic constitutionalism. Just as Georgia voters did not ignore McKinney’s conspiracism in 2002, Georgia voters in 2010 should not turn a blind eye to the indulging of birthers by our elected officials of today. Their actions are a boon to conspiracy theorists but an embarrassment to our state.