The continuing efforts of a fringe group of conservatives to deny President-elect Barack Obama his victory and to lay the basis for the claim that he is not a legitimate president is embarrassing and destructive. The fact that these efforts are being led by Alan Keyes, an unhinged demagogue on the political fringe who in 2004 lost an Illinois Senate election to Obama by 42 points should be a warning in itself.
This tempest over whether Obama, the child of an American citizen was born on American soil, is tantamount to the Democrats' seditious claim that Bush "stole" the election in Florida and hence was not the legitimate president. This delusion helped to create the Democrats' Bush derangement syndrome and encouraged Democratic leaders to lie about the origins of the Iraq War, and regard it as illegitimate as Bush himself. It became "Bush's War" rather than American War, with destructive consequences for our troops and our cause.
The birth certificate zealots are essentially arguing that 64 million voters should be disenfranchised because of a contested technicality as to whether Obama was born on U.S. soil. (John McCain narrowly escaped the problem by being born in the Panama Canal Zone, which is no longer American.)
What difference does it make to the future of this country whether Obama was born on U.S. soil? Advocates of this destructive campaign will argue that the Constitutional principle regarding the qualifications for president trumps all others. But how viable will our Constitution be if five Supreme Court justices should decide to void 64 million ballots?
Conservatives are supposed to respect the organic nature of human societies. Ours has been driven by profound disagreements that have been deepening over many years. We are divided not only about political facts and social values, but also about what the Constitution itself means.
It is not conservatism; it is sore loserism and quite radical in its intent. Respect for election results is one of the most durable bulwarks of our unity as a nation. Conservatives need to accept the fact that we lost the election, and get over it; and get on with the important business of reviving our country's economy and defending its citizens, and – by the way – its Constitution.