An investigator named Ron Polarik has published a report in considerable technical detail contending that president-in-waiting Barack Obama's "birth certificate" — actually a long-after-the-fact document known as a "Certification of Live Birth" — is a forgery. (Tip of the hat: Terry Morris.) It ties in with rumors that Obama was actually born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and is therefore ineligible to be president under the terms of the Constitution.
I wish this issue had never arisen, that there was unquestionable proof that Obama is a U.S. citizen by birth. On political grounds, I abhor what I expect Obama will bring to the presidential office and expect to oppose him down the line. But it will be very bad all around if anti-Obama sentiment becomes associated with a "conspiracy theory" rather than his ideological positions. And as unthinkable as it seems now, should the federal judiciary get involved in this mess and declare there is a reasonable doubt about about Obama's citizenship — or find a "smoking gun" proving he is not eligible for the presidency — it could provoke the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War.
So, should we ignore the controversy and the evidence?
We cannot. If the "conspiracy" is a fact — and I hope it is not — it must be brought to light, whatever the consequences. To openly cast aside a provision in the Constitution is one more step toward making that great document irrelevant, a historical artifact that can be re-interpreted according to politics or convenience. It would be a major advance toward a government that rules rather than legislates, for the presidency as a Roman emperor–like cult subject to no law, not even the very Constitution that is the basis of all law, including limits on the power of the government over the individual.
Whether Ron Polarik's report is valid in its conclusions or not, to suppress it will not make it go away. It will take on a life of its own that no amount of denial, even honest denial, can stop.
Of course, the journalism industry that never gets tired of patting itself on the back for its "All the President's Men" moment of glory will be considerably less interested in pursuing this story, since the subject is its idol Barack Obama rather than its earlier ogre, Richard Nixon. That, too, would be a mistake. If it turns out that a cover-up has actually taken place, the news media will lose what little is left of their credibility.
I will read Polarik's report through, but I don't expect to end up with a firm opinion, since it is largely based on computer technology that I understand in a general way but not in depth. Readers of this blog who believe they are competent to judge the validity of Polarik's conclusions are welcome to comment.