By Scott Tibbs, December 10, 2008
I agree with David Horowitz that the conservatives sounding the alarm about Barack Obama's birth certificate are embarrassing the conservative movement and would be well advised to drop it. Horowitz is right, but for the wrong reasons.
First, the idea that Obama is not an American citizen is a conspiracy theory that is not credible. Is it realistic to believe, in today's society, that Obama is truly not an American citizen? Are we to believe that his former employers have not discovered the issue when he filled out an I-9 form? Are we to believe that Obama's other interactions with government, such as something as simple as getting a driver's license, did not raise a flag regarding his citizenship?
Realistically, with the amount of documentation required to function in today's society, it is highly unlikely that Obama is hiding something regarding his birth certificate. This is especially true for a high-profile elected official and candidate like Obama. It is actually a testament to Obama that he allowed the criticism and conspiracy theories to continue to spread without releasing the document and embarrassing the critics.
My problem with Horowitz's argument is he casts aside the rule of law in the name of democracy. We are not a democracy, nor are we a representative republic. We are a constitutional republic. The highest authority in our system of government is the Constitution, not elected officials or the voters. If Barack Obama is not qualified to be President under the Constitution, then he should not be President, regardless of the political ramifications.
Horowitz repeatedly complains about disenfranchising the 66.8 million people who voted for Obama. But what about the 58.3 million who voted for McCain? Would they not be disenfranchised if the winning candidate is not even legally qualified for the office? An appeal to popularity in a discussion of constitutional law is inherently dangerous.
We simply cannot throw aside the Constitution because it is politically inconvenient. If we decide that the Constitution is a "living document" (which is exactly what Horowitz advocates when he writes about the "organic nature of human societies") then we have no Constitution at all. Elevating the "will of the people" over the rule of law is anything but conservative.