Feminist icon Camille Paglia, a Salon.com columnist who earlier wrote about the ambiguities of President Barack Obama's birth certificate, now has told a National Public Radio audience that those who have questions about his eligibility actually have a point.
Talking to the NPR program "On Point" this week, she provided a defense to the citizens who carried protest signs asking "Where's The Birth Certificate" at the recent protests that drew hundreds of thousands to Washington.
The program discussion focused on the "civility" of the political attacks on both Obama and his critics. One caller to the program described his visit to Washington and the myriad signs questioning Obama's eligibility to be in office.
"It was unbelievable. It was absolutely everywhere," the caller stated.
First of all, I reject the idea that the 'birther' campaign is motivated by racism. There may be racism among it, but there are legitimate questions about the documentation of Obama's birth certificate. I'm sorry, I've been following this closely from the start. To assume that all those signs about the birth controversy were motivated by racism, that is simply wrong.
She continued, explaining she first came on the scene in the 1990s and has dealt with cries of sexism and homophobia, calling such battle cries "emotional" triggers.
Paglia said the fact there was little racism in the campaign against Obama is evidenced by the fact he "was elected by white people."
Criticism of Obama, instead, is coming because of the "strategic failures he is making in pushing this very important issue of health care reform."
According to the Washington Independent, the exchange was "compelling."
Paglia, a professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and Salon.com columnist, earlier wrote, "Yes, there were ambiguities about Obama's birth certificate that have never been satisfactorily resolved. And the embargo on Obama's educational records remains troubling."
Her commentary at that time addressed Obama's "painful missteps," and she addressed charges that Obama has suffered from poor advice.
"The buck stops with the top executive. But we all know how little executive experience Barack Obama has had. He was elected for his vision and his steady, deliberative character, not his résumé. For better or worse, Obama is learning as he goes – and surely most fair-minded people would grant him reasonable leeway as he grows into the presidency, one of the hardest jobs in the world," she wrote.
"At a certain point, however, Obama will face an inescapable administrative crux. Arriving at the White House, he understandably stayed in his comfort zone by bringing old friends and allies with him. … But these comrades may not have the practical skills or broad perspective to help Obama govern," wrote Paglia.
Citing "one needless gaffe after another," including the "embarrassing incident" in which Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia, she wrote about the "ambiguities" about his birth certificate and the "troubling" status of Obama's concealed educational records.
"Obama will need to cut the umbilical to his hometown posse, whose inefficiency and poor decision-making took the shine off his honeymoon and brought the dispirited Republicans back from the dead," she advised at the time.
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama's status as a "natural born citizen." The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."
Some of the lawsuits over the dispute question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama's American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama's citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.
Complicating the situation is Obama's decision to spend sums estimated at more than $1 million to avoid releasing a state birth certificate that would put to rest the questions.
WND has reported that among the documentation not yet available for Obama includes his kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records and adoption records.
Because of the dearth of information about Obama's eligibility, WND founder Joseph Farah has launched a campaign to raise contributions to post billboards asking a simple question: "Where's the birth certificate?"
"Where's The Birth Certificate?" billboard at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip
The campaign followed a petition that has collected more than 450,000 signatures demanding proof of his eligibility, the availability of yard signs raising the question and the production of permanent, detachable magnetic bumper stickers asking the question.
The "certification of live birth" posted online and widely touted as "Obama's birth certificate" does not prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same "short-form" document is obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true "long-form" birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a "natural born citizen," no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama's claim to a Hawaiian birth.
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