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It’s in the blood: The effort to unseat Obama

It’s in the blood: The effort to unseat Obama

by Binoy Kampmark

They just don’t give up, do they? Obama’s win, thumping, at least by American standards, is insufficient to placate those who question its legitimacy. Yes, so it went to a man who has a name of Hussein (ask Fox News, a network mesmerized by this one fact), and he might, in the elastic laws of ancestry (another Rupert special) be an Arab.

A keen skeptic of Obama’s status as the next president is one Alan Keyes, who missed out to the presidential-elect in the Illinois state race in 2004. In a legal suit he is currently entertaining, he hopes to halt the certification of votes in California. He is far from the other one. Another more pressing case is that of Leo Donofio against Nina Mitchell Wells, New Jersey’s Secretary of State. The U.S. Supreme Court will be considering the case on Friday to stay the election result.

The leitmotiv here seems to be this: blood is thicker than evidence. It all lies in the birth certificate, which the Obama campaign had previously posted on its campaign. Disprove its authenticity, and you derail the election. Keyes remains convinced that Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States. (Look at the father, he claims – he was Kenyan, after all.) When asked about his status, something which can be easily shown through a birth certificate showing U.S. birth or from parents with the means of transmitting it citizenship, Obama ‘danced around it.’

Keyes is also under the impression that other sinister forces are dancing around the Capitol and America’s sacred institutions. These same forces must be at work in Hawaii, notably the department of health which has confirmed Obama’s birth place. Contra Keyes, who is convinced that his beloved country is at the mercy of ‘a lot of foreign entities [who] have influence of control over U.S. policy.’

Evidently Keyes is not familiar with that old American adage that it is far more fitting to buy a Congressman (let’s keep it local) than run for office. In that he is in good company. The pot-stirring, at times anti-Semitic Andy Martin, who attempted to run the same arguments in Hawaii, insisted before the Fox News congregation that Obama was in that old business of overthrowing the federal government. Martin was a fitting guest, possessing, in the words of a psychiatric report on his behaviour, a ‘moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.’

Keyes’ case did seem to tickle the interest of one of the Supreme Court justices, that old monolith of a jurist Clarence Thomas, who seemed to want the case to go on at the end of last month. Not so Associate Justice David Souter, who previously rejected a petition to prevent the Electoral College from confirming Obama as the forty-fourth president come December 15.

This electoral cut-and-thrust has been going on for some time. In August this year, a suit was filed in Pennsylvania on behalf of Philip J. Berg, seeking to dissuade the Democratic National Committee from nominating Obama. The case was effectively laughed out of court. Berg, for one, did not have ‘standing’ or, to use that nice little Latinism, ‘locus standi’ to make the claim.

Judges are not likely to touch these claims with their cerebral apparatus, however tempting it might be. And such temptations will be few and far between. Few will be up for the chopping block as the figure who unseated one of the more popular choices in recent American electoral history. Best leave it to, as Gore Vidal termed them, scholar-squirrels keen on churning out unreadable door stoppers. Keyes and Martin, in the meantime, will supply the entertainment.


Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge.

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