On the Internet, criticism of Barack Obama is often focused on rumor as much as or more so than on fact.
His patriotism has been continually questioned in chain emails, message board arguments, and blog posts since the beginning of his campaign. They started for murky reasons and were buoyed by a string of mistakes, such as his storied refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin and his well-documented gaffe of not placing his hand over his heart during the playing of the national anthem. This was not helped when Michelle Obama twice stated that she was now proud of this country for the first time in her life.
In addition to having his patriotism continually questioned, Barack Obama has been labeled a secret Muslim, an unfounded rumor based partially upon the candidate’s exotic name, some of his extended family members being of Muslim faith, and also the early years the senator spent in Indonesia, where it was falsely claimed he went to an Islamic religious school. The rumor has proven surprisingly difficult to quash, despite his publicly professed Christianity and the contentious and very public end of his 20-year relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ.
Another rumor, started among pro-Hillary bloggers during the Democratic primaries, was that Michelle Obama was caught on videotape denouncing “whitey,” and that the videotape of her alleged racist rant was in the possession of Fox News — a favorite boogeyman on the political left — and was on the verge of being released. Fox News denied having the tape, though the damage was already done by those who started the rumor; when combined with her previous statements, Michelle Obama has been successfully tarred in the minds of many as a closet black nationalist.
Rumors surrounding both Barack and Michelle Obama have become such a thorn in the campaign’s side that they felt compelled to launch Fight the Smears as part of the campaign’s website dedicated to counteracting some of the more potentially damaging claims and rumors. Even with the website and occasional direct denials by the candidate of one rumor or another, the false claims have still cost the campaign so much time and energy that even satire targeting the smears met with howls of protest by the campaign and its supporters.
Perhaps no better evidence of the campaign’s sensitivity to smears was the widely criticized response to the New Yorker magazine cover, which was drawn as a satire of the rumors aimed at the Obama family, picturing Barack Obama as a Muslim in tribal dress with a picture of Osama bin Laden in a place of honor on the wall above the flag-burning fireplace behind him, while the candidate did a “fist bump” with Michelle Obama, who was dressed as a fatigue-clad, gun-toting black nationalist. The campaign found no humor in the satire, and Barack Obama later even claimed it was a smear against Muslims. This hypersensitivity has led to the campaign and the candidate being pilloried for being humorless, an issue that continues to haunt Obama to this day.
Then there is a special subclass of rumors that would seek to deny Obama the presidency over legal technicalities. There is a largely discredited but still active and dedicated core group of Obama critics unwilling to believe that Obama is legitimately an American citizen and thus eligible to run for president, despite his proven birth in Hawaii. Another variation of citizenship rumors maintains that Obama holds a duel citizenship in Kenya or that he renounced his American citizenship to become a Kenyan citizen. Neither is true.
And there is another rumor that has floated for months on Internet message boards and blogs, in a variation of the technicality stories that would seek to end Obama’s candidacy over an alleged mistake, that Barack Obama never registered for the Selective Service.
Associate blogger “Free Dem” explained the vital importance of Obama’s Selective Service registration to his presidential aspirations in a July 1 post at one of the pro-Hillary Democratic blogs that has been at the epicenter of some of the worst anti-Obama rumor-mongering, No Quarter:
According to the Selective Service System, under the authority of the Military Selective Service Act (Act of June 24, 1948, c. 625, 62 Stat. 604, as amended; 50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.):
A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the executive branch of the federal government and the U.S. Postal Service. Proof of registration is required only for men born after December 31, 1959.
The registration requirement was suspended in April 1975. It was resumed again in 1980 by President Carter in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Registration continues today as a hedge against underestimating the number of servicemen needed in a future crisis.
1-103. Persons born in calendar year 1961 shall present themselves for registration on any of the six days beginning Monday, July 28, 1980. (Source).
The obligation of a man to register is imposed by the Military Selective Service Act. The Act establishes and governs the operations of the Selective Service System.
Barack Obama, who states he was born in Aug. 1961, was required to register for the Selective Service in 1980. Did he?
It is a rumor that the Obama campaign has chosen to ignore despite numerous requests, and it is a rumor that even Snopes couldn’t seem to confirm or deny definitively.
After contacting the Selective Service System for an answer several times since late June, Pajamas Media obtained official confirmation from the Selective Service System via email that Barack Obama did indeed register for the Selective Service as required by law, and is eligible to run for the presidency.
Barack Hussein Obama registered at a post office in Hawaii. The effective registration date was September 4, 1980.
His registration number is 61-1125539-1.
Public Affairs Specialist
It is difficult to determine why no one had confirmed Obama’s Selective Service registration until now. The mainstream media may have had no interest in pursuing the story for a multitude of valid reasons. New media sources aligned with the Obama campaign may have had no interest in conducting an investigation that may serve to impede their selected candidate, and new media opponents may have simply found confirmation of his registration too difficult to obtain — some have suggested that they had contacted the Selective Service, only to be told they would have to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act, which rather notoriously may take months to complete. Perhaps others found it more useful to keep the rumor alive than put it to rest. But the conclusive answer is now known.
Barack Obama fulfilled his Selective Service obligation and has every legal right to run for the presidency of the United States.
If opponents wish to see him defeated, they’ll have to see it done in the political arena.