Eventually this 'mystery' will assume the massive mythical status to place it among other conspiracy theories. One would hope it would simply die. It is a major distraction, siphons energy away from tackling real issues and gives false hope to those who despise the thought of an Obama presidency. They can continue to labor under the delusion that there may still be a magic one-shot legal 'pill' to prevent his inauguration.
While I do agree that all candidates seeking the office of President or Vice-president should be required to present his birth certificate and provide other proof as to its authenticity, the law does not require them to do so.
Should Obama, in the interest of demonstrating a model for transparency that he has proposed, offer his birth certificate for complete inspection? I think it would certainly put the subject to rest with many normally rational people, would be a good faith indication that he has nothing to hide, but would not silence the extreme fringe who are going to dispute any authentication of the document. To believe in the birth certificate's authenticity would be an admission that he is going to be president, a reality that is far-too frightening for some to accept. For that reason alone - the need for self-delusion - the story will continue to fester like a cancer in the blogosphere.
It is also just as reliable to predict that no action will emerge from the avalanche of blog postings or thinly-constructed legal challenges. Obama has won the brass ring, short of a confession of fraud from the man himself, nothing is going to pry it from his hand.
If we can learn anything from this story it is that, in the interest of maintaining legitimacy, the office of President should require more transparency in how candidates prove qualification under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. Is it a major imposition to require proof? Is it actionable not to require proof? No positive law exists to require affirmative documentation, but we can't honestly be expected to accept anecdotal hearsay as evidence that qualifications have been met. For a nation of laws this controversy exposes a weakness that must be addressed.
As it stands, the candidate affirms - under penalty of perjury - that he or she has met the qualifications. We already have evidence that perjury charges do not pose a serious behavioral incentive for sitting presidents, much less suitors to the office.
What I hear frequently is, 'What is the harm?'
'Why does it even matter? If he was born abroad, but is, for all intents and purposes, an American, should we even care?' say the apathetic or pragmatic, conservative or liberal, take your pick.
'What could we even do about it if he did pass off a fake?' is another response to avoid dealing with a larger issue.
The harm is that, in a society in which people submit themselves to the rule of law, they expect that law to be respected and applied evenly and without prejudice. There should be no reward for those breaking the law, and there should be safeguards - where possible - to protect our system from people who are unafraid to break laws. When we start treating laws as optional, or applicable only when it is easy to comply, laws simply cease to exist.
There is a need for top to bottom reform of our elections process, and defending Article 2, Section 1 is a good place to start. For now, this writer will assume that the document is real and continue challenging the man instead of attacking his paperwork.