Most Read: Opinions

direct signup
Post Partisan
Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 04/27/2011

Could Obama’s long-form birth certificate stoke as much birtherism as it solves?

President Obama released his long-form birth certificate on Wednesday, saying that debate about his origins has distracted from issues that are not made up. But could this stoke as much birtherism as it solves?

If I were more conspiracy-minded, I’d suggest that the president’s announcement is a plot to take advantage of his conspiracy theorists. Obama’s campaign team, of course, should want birther Donald Trump — who has already claimed credit for convincing the president to release the birth certificate — in the 2012 race. And contrary evidence has a way of making those who indulge in conspiracy theories yet more convinced that they were right all along. “Don’t you think the president can use his power to have a birth certificate forged?” “Why didn’t he show us earlier?” “The ‘mother’s maiden name’ section is ever so slightly smudged — that proves that this have been printed on a typewriter of the period!” “The Hawaii state seal is a few microns too small!”

Good thing, then, that I’m less inclined than Trump to buy into my own musings. But it’s still true that, though the president’s effort may narrow the appeal of birtherism, it probably won’t eliminate the phenomenon.

UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.: The text above has been slightly tightened since the original.

By  |  12:10 PM ET, 04/27/2011

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company