Natural born narrative killer

This morning I saw a tantalizing bit of news that does not fit any of the convenient political narratives. If the allegations here are true, then Barack Obama's birth was illegitimate:

Concerns about Obama's [Barack Obama, Sr.] personal life while he had been studying in the U.S. had been raised previously, according to the INS documents.

In 1961, while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Hawaii, the school's foreign student adviser called an immigration official and said Obama had recently married StanleyAnn Dunham - the president's mother - despite already having a wife in Kenya.

According to a memo written by an INS official in Honolulu, the adviser said Obama had been "running around with several girls since he first arrived here and last summer she cautioned him about his playboy ways."

Obama told the adviser that he had divorced his wife in Kenya.

He told the president's mother the same thing, though she would later learn it was a lie.

If it was a lie, then the marriage to Stanley Dunham was bigamous, and a legal nullity. Under common law at the time, any children (meaning Barack Obama II) would have been illegitimate. Moreover, it means the INS would not have allowed Obama's father to obtain citizenship by marriage (they require proof of termination of any previous marriages), and it also means that it would have been legally impossible for Barack Obama II to have been a dual national at birth. If born in Hawaii (which no one can show he wasn't), he would have simply been a natural born citizen by virtue of his illegitimate birth to a United States citizen mother.

As his illegitimacy would undermine the claim of the Natural Born Vattelist Truther contingent, they're already unhappy with the issue.

Whether anyone on the left will be comfortable with this, I don't know, but I doubt it. They might see it as a potential distraction, I suppose. Otherwise, I think it's headed for the unwanted narrative dustbin.


posted by Eric on 05.01.11 at 09:21 AM


I'm perfectly comfortable with this and it's something I DO NOT hold against him -- he can't control the circumstances of his birth.

Of course, if he read CV -- do you, Mr. President? -- I'd advise him to consider the wisdom of idolizing the man for whom he was but a casual byblow, instead of the people -- and the country -- that nurtured him and cared for him.

Unfortunately we elected a man lost in a Freudian nightmare. Through which he is dragging us, step by step. It's not my nightmare, and I don't like it. Though birthers might be a reflection of the "logic of nightmare."

You know, I was NEVER fond of Oedipus Rex and this far more complex version (in which America plays the forbidden mother, I think) is beginning to annoy me. Don't presidents get psychotherapy free? I mean, they have an insurance plan, right?

Sarah   ·  May 1, 2011 11:02 AM

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