Not only but also

Fox Nation–I just sort of ended up there (thanks a lot Media Matters)–notes the following about the Obama Birth Certificate affair:

With a father like this, it is little wonder President Obama did not want to release his full birth certificate.

Though the proof that he was actually born in Hawaii may silence some critics, a new, rather more interesting side of his life has emerged – that his father Barack Obama senior was a serial womaniser and polygamist who government and university officials were trying to force out of the country.

Obama senior married Stanley Ann Dunham, a white student from Kansas, not only when he was said to have already been married to a woman in Kenya, but at a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in many parts of the U.S.

Documents obtained from the U.S. immigration service paint a picture of a man who 'had an eye for the ladies' and, according to his file, had to be warned several times to stay away from girls at the university.

I don't get what that bolded remark has to do with the rest of the story.  The rest of the story paints a picture of a serial Newt Gingrich-style womanizer.  Does the illegality of interracial marriage in parts of the US at the time add to that fact?

5 thoughts on “Not only but also”

  1. It's fairly obvious, I think, what the bolded part has to do with the quote you've provided. The people who have been nagging Obama to take the unprecedented step of providing such documentation are motivated by bigotry. And that's not an ad hominem on my part. Even though many of those who would endorse or agree with this quote would deny that they are bigots or might not even recognize that they are, bigotry is the best causal explanation explaining why anyone would write or endorse such silliness.
    Let me illustrate. We are offered as needing explanation the following phenomenon: Obama's long-form birth certificate had not previously been available to the public despite years of demands that it be made available. Obama recently requested, as president of the United States, that the state of Hawaii take the very unusual step of making this record publicly available.
    The hypothesis offered by this particular commentator as to why Obama had not previously taken this step is that he did not want people to know that his father was [allegedly] an unsavory character. Indeed, this titillates with the possibility that Obama was actively trying to cover up his father's transgressions by keeping his birth certificate secret.
    I'm no expert, but it looks like you've got a number of fallacies working here. Off the top of my head, you've got several varieties of ad hominem, several layers of red herrings (which smell fishy), and guilt by association (which I guess is kind of like an ad hominem in the form of a red herring).
    But what's less obvious than the relevance fallacies is that the claim asserts that Obama's intention has been to hide his birth certificate in order to hide his shame for his father. This, though, doesn't explain anything it purports to explain. How would concealing the birth certificate bear at all on keeping his father's reputation out of the public eye? The birth certificate didn't provide any new knowledge about the father (it didn't provide any new knowledge about anything, in fact).
    Indeed, there are far more plausible explanations of the supposed phenomena concerning the release of the long-form birth certificate. Like, for instance, that Hawaii itself didn't want to release it. Or: that no prior president has ever had to take this step when all reasonable observers have known all along that the whole thing was a giant hullabaloo over nothing to begin with.
    So, now to my point about these arguments being motivated by bigotry. I'll submit that this is my hypothesis to account for why people would be motivated to offer such ridiculous arguments. I honestly can't come up with any other hypothesis. I've ruled out illiteracy and simply stupidity as insufficient for accounting for such fundamentally distorted (rather than simply faulty) explanations of the facts. I also have to rule out insanity as a sole cause since, in itself, such requests have never before been made of a presidential candidate (i.e., of a white candidate).
    No doubt my hypothesis could stand to have a little more confirmation, but it seems perfectly obvious to me that bigotry accounts for the little bit in bold in this quotation. Does bigotry, then, similarly account for the argument even had that little bit in bold not been included? Well, I think my case is still pretty strong either way.

  2. I would have to take the side of Jake on this one. I do not even remember a time in my past that a President had to prove his citizenship and birthplace in the ways that Obama has had to.
    In a different view, Trump pushing his considerable weight into this issue may seem on the surface to have been an attack on the President to bolster Trump's bid for the presidency, it is becoming clearer that it was to have Obama going into a situation smelling of poo, and coming out smelling like Hershey's. The regular Joe may not see this as a backwards play by Trump, but I sure see it that way. What better way to prove all the "birthers" wrong than by becoming one and demanding the long birth certificate in a way that the White House and the President could no longer ignore?
    This gave Obama a boost to his bid for re-election and the ability to put the whole “birther” thing behind him. Way to go Trump!
    As for the bigotry issue, I think there is an edge of it here, but the main issue of this Fox Nation statement is that Obama doesn't have very many things to blast him with that might tear down is image to the public. His father, not unlike the preacher during Obama's run for the Presidency, is being used to tarnish his image with the public. Just like it was handled with the preacher, it will be handled with the father. The people who are throwing the mud this time are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. My thinking here is that somehow, like father, like son. Fox is trying to make us think that if Obama's father did these things, so will he. What a waste of paper to even have written it, much less expect people to believe it. 

  3. Right both of you.  I found odd the idea that Obama's father was up to something illegal (interracial marriage) in 1961–Obama, son of a criminal (according to some states). . .

  4. All that says to me is that Obama Sr. was progressive beyond bigoted laws. Interracial marriage may have been illegal in some parts of the US, but by no means was it wrong. The law was wrong. Obama Sr wasn't breaking the law, but that's hardly the point: he was breaking societal hatred instead.
    I can't believe this is even an issue nowadays, even when society, literature (books like Sinful Liasons by JC Gardner and many others, but that's my favorite) and entertainment embrace interracial relationships overall. It amazes me that intolerance is tolerated.
    From Sinful Liasons;  "The fact that he was white and she was black never surfaced." And it shouldn't have to.

  5. Emily,
    Iagree that Sr. was doing the right thing, and was not wrong for wanting an inter-racial relationship.
    There was one point you missed…He was already married!
    Unless polygamy was legal back then, he was breaking more than one law. Recognizing this does not strengthen the argument any more than before, since it was obviously written from a bigoted point of view. However, knowing that he married another woman, and had a child with her, while married to another points a whole different light on Sr.  Adding the fact that Sr. now lives in Kenya, and Obama Jr.'s Mom is here in the states adds another twist to the story.
    Still doesn’t tarnish Jr. a bit in my opinion, since Jr. has risen to a level that his father never aspired to, nor seemingly could not reach even if he tried.

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