Burges' bill, if passed, would have to be signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to become law, and, if enacted, could well face a court challenge. It would establish a hard-and-fast criterion for all presidential candidates.
"Imagine if just one or two states adopt such a measure before 2012. Obama will be forced to comply with those state regulations or forgo any effort to get on the ballot for reelection."
But what if a candidate does not have a long-form version of his or her birth certificate, and the state where he or she was born could not locate a copy—say, it was lost in a fire, or simply misfiled? Would he or she be out of the running? The law also demands the candidate produce an "original" long-form birth certificate. Does that mean a copy wouldn't suffice?
Birthers are ecstatic about the Arizona move. "It could be a game-changer," declares WorldNetDaily, a conservative site run by Joseph Farah, a leading birther. "Imagine if just one or two states adopt such a measure before 2012," Farah says. "Obama will be forced to comply with those state regulations or forgo any effort to get on the ballot for reelection. Can Obama run and win without getting on all 50 state ballots? I don't think so." In the past, Farah has put up billboards around the country asking, "Where's the birth certificate?"
Campbell complains that the Arizona measure is "not based on an factual evidence. I'm trying to figure out the thinking behind this bill. I can't. It's just another conspiracy." But the strategic intent is clear: maintaining the marginalized birther movement. Numerous lawsuits filed by the birthers have failed in the courts. Last month, Lt. Col. Terry Larkin, an Army doctor who refused to be deployed to Afghanistan because he questioned whether Obama was born in the United States, was dismissed from the Army and sentenced to six months in prison for refusing his orders. And last year, a Republican birther bill in the US House of Representatives fizzled.
Yet the birthers are charged up about this new battle plan: using GOP-dominated state legislatures to pressure Obama to produce a long-form birth certificate. A win on this front in Arizona will not in and of itself scuttle Obama's reelection (assuming no such document for Obama can be produced). But it will certainly encourage birthers in other states to follow suit—and to keep their hope, and conspiracy theory, alive.