Death of birther dispute?

Now that President Barack Obama has released the long form of his Hawaiian birth certificate — thereby demonstrating once again that he is a “natural born citizen” and qualified to be president — readers may wonder what so-called birthers will do to keep themselves agitated.

Not to worry. The website buzzfeed.com this week listed 20 items related to the birth certificate that birthers are already pointing to as evidence that it is a fraud. They range from unexplained smudge marks on the document to blurry typed numbers to questions about the type font.

Another, more famous birther, has apparently moved on. Coy wanna-be presidential candidate Donald Trump quickly took credit for getting Obama to release the birth certificate, then demanded the president release all of his school records.

The vast majority of Americans, of course, accepted Obama’s qualifications back in 2008, when his campaign released the shorter form of his Hawaiian birth certificate — the same form a Hawaiian would use to obtain a passport or prove citizenship.

Based on recent polls, some of those folks may recently have had doubts, due to Trump’s relentless harping on the issue. If so, the release of the longer form ought to put those doubts to rest.

And that may have been the primary reason Obama chose to request Hawaiian officials release the document now.

For the better part of three years, Obama has ignored the birthers, believing he’d sufficiently addressed the question with the 2008 release of the shorter form. And, while Obama didn’t mention Trump in his press conference Wednesday, he did say the constant media attention to the issue was diverting public attention from more important issues.

Many people think the birther controversy may have actually been a benefit for Obama, allowing him to paint some Republicans as tin-hat conspiracy theorists and helping him to raise money among the Democratic faithful. Perhaps Obama and his campaign team determined that advantage was slipping away, or it never existed to any great extent.

In any event, we’re glad he released the full document. Now, perhaps, Americans can focus on issues such as our growing national debt, tax reform, the simultaneous operation of three foreign military campaigns, jobs and the economy.

It’s time to bury the birther issue.


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