Hawaii's New Governor Takes Up the Fight Against Birthers

Or maybe this is just about Hawaii's inferiority complex

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On Friday, The New York Times reported that Neil Abercrombie, the new Democratic governor of Hawaii, plans to take aggressive steps to address the "birther" movement--the conspiracy theorists who believe Barack Obama was born overseas rather than in the United States. The Obama campaign has already posted a certificate of birth from the Hawaii Department of Health on its Web site, and two independent fact-checking organizations have verified its legitimacy, but Abercrombie is trying to get additional documentation released that would further prove that the president was born in a Honolulu hospital. Here's a look at some of the reactions to Abercrombie's anti-birther campaign.

  • For Abercrombie, It's Personal  "It's an insult to [Obama's] mother and to his father, and I knew his mother and father; they were my friends, and I have an emotional interest in that," the governor told the Times. "It's an emotional insult. It is disrespectful to the president; it is disrespectful to the office ... There's no reason on earth to have the memory of his parents insulted by people whose motivation is solely political."

  • Might Do More Harm Than Good  Politico's Carol Lee writes that Abercrombie's efforts "could backfire," noting that "releasing additional documentation about Obama's birth in Honolulu--which has been independently verified--could do more to stir up the 'birthers' than quiet them down. The movement has used such documentation in the past to bolster their conspiracy theory."

  • Good Luck Killing This Rumor, agrees Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs. "This isn't just a run of the mill conspiracy theory, it's an astoundingly brain-dead conspiracy theory, driven in no small part by sheer racism," Johnson writes. "It's doubtful that any amount of evidence or rational argument will ever 'torpedo' this bad craziness, because it isn't rational and it isn't based on evidence."

  • This Isn't Really About Obama, It's About Hawaii  Michael Memoli for the Los Angeles Times reports that "one of Abercrombie's aides said the governor is voicing the frustration of many Hawaiians who continue to be troubled by the rumors, which they see as emblematic of the view that Hawaiians are not Americans in the same way as those who live in the continental United States." Memoli adds that "Abercrombie's Hawaiian pride may be trumping practical politics. Ample evidence has been produced to discredit the 'birther' movement, so in the view of the White House, the Democratic governor's comments are reviving an issue that most people see as resolved."

  • Excuse Me, Some of Us Still Aren't Satisfied  Blogger Zandar at No More Mister Nice Blog bristles at the notion that the birth question has been settled. "'Most people see as resolved' not so much, considering the number of people who think President Obama isn't a US citizen has only gone up since he took office," the author writes. "More power to the good Governor, since there's tens of millions of Americans who will never believe it anyway. The really annoying part for me is the fact this is taking energy and resources away from the real problems facing our country."

  • How the Birther Debate Drains State Resources  The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that "fielding questions about Obama's birth still takes a toll on the Health Department's communication and vital-records offices, which are required by law to respond within 10 days. At least two staffers spend an hour a day handling requests for Obama birth records, a department official said. They also have to interpret unclear or perplexing requests, sometimes seeking opinions from attorneys at the attorney general's office and the state Office of Information Practices."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.