(The following is my column for the Newton County News and KY3/KSPR.)
Barack Obama is an American.
It is sad that we still have a large number of wild-eyed conspiracy theory addicts who believe that our president has risen to the top of fhe political ladder thanks to a bizarre plan that supposedly originated back when a Hawaii newspaper announced his birth nearly five decades ago.
Now that President Obama has been in office for two years, you would think that this issue would have been put to rest and we would stop wasting taxpayers' money on furthering this mythology.
Sadly, that is not the case in Missouri, and it appears that much of the waste is originating in this corner of the state.
HB 283, filed by Rep. Lyle Rowland, R-Cedarcreek, requires state political committees to certify in writing that their candidates for president and vice president shall be certified and "such certification shall include proof of U. S. citizenship for each nominee."
The Springfield News-Leader reports that Rowland says he believes President Obama is a citizen, and that his bill is for future candidates. Future perhaps as in 2012 when Barack Obama is likely to run for re-election.
At a time when Missouri legislators have professed over and over that the number one priority in this session is jobs, it is amazing just how many ways they are finding to deal with nonsense.
Rowland is far from the only southwest Missourian to attach his name to HB 283. Sixteen representatives are co-sponsoring the measure, including Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa, Don Wells, R-Cabool, Darrell Pollack, R-Lebanon, Don Phillips, Kimberling City, Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, Barney Fisher, R-Richards, and Melissa Leach, R-Springfield.
The other representatives co-sponsoring the measure, all Republicans, are Stanley Cox, Sedalia, Tom Loehner, Koeltztown; Dave Hinson, St. Clair, Lindell Shumake, Hannibal; Jason Smith, Salem, Andrew Koening, Winchester; and Diane Franklin, Camdenton.
The bill was read for the second time today. It is not on the house calendar at the moment and if the House's Republican leadership has any common sense (and it does), this bill will be buried in committee and never see the light of day.
At a time when Missourians are suffering due to the continuing harmful effects of a downward-spiraling economy, the last thing we need to see is our legislators pandering to the extreme fringes of their constituency.
Put Missourians back to work and put the birthers back under the baseboards where they belong.