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Bob Gard is an unfortunate example that volume cannot redeem a premise which is fundamentally flawed. His 1722 page book is worthless, not because it isn't long enough, but because the flaws of his premise begin on page one. No matter how many pages he adds, the flaw persists. You cannot fix a poisoned well by dumping more water in it.
I am not an expert on Constitutional law, and so I must defer to expertise. Considering that Bob Gard, for all his volume, has not been published or reviewed in any reputable legal journal, has not been peer reviewed, has not been cited by any recognized expert, and cannot even manage to sell his book in any significant volume, leads me to believe, and rightly so apparently, that no real expert on the subject regards his speculative pulp to be worthy of consideration.
His flawed premise also goes against every recognized authority on the subject. Indeed he contradicts even the research branch of the Library of Congress, the entity upon which the legislative branch of our government does rely for accurate and timely information on such subjects.
This combined with the lack of any apparent credentials of his own (at least that I can find and verify) leads any reasonable person to conclude that Mr. Gard is simply another obsessed birther with too much time on his hands, and with a much greater belief in his own "expertise" than his spurious book warrants, despite it's volume.
In short, Bob Gard's writings are an excellent example of how wasted space is no less wasted, no matter how much you increase the volume.
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If you take someone with a particular long-held bias, someone without formal training in the legal field, not trained as a researcher, and someone with a lively imagination and a conspiratorial frame of mind, then give them masses of documents and lots of time alone time without any sanity checks--the result is Bob Gard's book: ON GARD, OBAMA, YOU ARE AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL PRESIDENT BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT A NATURAL-BORN CITIZEN, WHICH I SHALL PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.
Bob doesn't believe that the Supreme Court of the United States, nor the Congress may interpret the Constitution, nor does he believe that the people who ratified the Constitution way back in 1787-89 can interpret it either. No, he believes that the meaning of the Constitution's presidential eligibility clause was a closely-held secret between a few people who helped draft the document. Theirs was a definition so-much against popular sentiment that they were afraid the Constitution wouldn't be ratified if the people at the ratifying conventions knew what they were voting on. And so those drafters pledged secrecy and went to great lengths to suppress any contemporary knowledge of what they meant by what they wrote (the publication of the Federalist Papers notwithstanding), and even went so far as to leave not a trace in the historical record, not even in their personal correspondence and papers (and thereby giving our modern author a license to put anything he desires into their mouths). To Hell with "consent of the governed!" The governed never knew what hit them, according to this book.
That sounds bizarre to me and it probably does to you; nevertheless, that is the central premise of this book. There were all sorts of imagined secret connections.Read more ›
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[Warning: This is for those who want a thorough review! I briefly cover Gard's major arguments, whether they are right or wrong, and why.]
First, the positive bits: Self-confessed birther Bob Gard seems more decent and sincere than many other birthers. He is capable of a civil debate. I'm also sympathetic to the fact that he put about a year's worth of time and effort (over two years) into his book. And in the context of a debate regarding his book, Gard was also kind enough, eventually, to supply me with a review copy.
Unfortunately, none of that is able to redeem Mr. Gard's flawed methods or his unsupportable "conclusions."
First, a note: The book contains quite a lot of material unnecessary to the basic thesis. The really relevant points could probably be made well in less than 100 pages. Oddly though for a 1,700 page book (or perhaps not) Gard also ignores a large amount of genuine, relevant historical information on the meaning of "natural born citizen."
CONCLUSIONS? OR PRE-ASSUMPTIONS?
The reason I put "conclusions" in quotes a couple sentences above is: How can you call something a conclusion when it's really what you start with? Even the book's title hints quite clearly at this.
A conclusion is supposed to be something you ARRIVE at - and only after all of the evidence is in. But birthers almost always begin with what they want to prove ("the current President is ineligible"), and then dig for "evidence" to prop up the pre-ordained "conclusion."
Also, REAL conclusions are always subject to change on the basis of new evidence. But there's no possible evidence that will ever shake the typical birther from the predetermined "conclusion" that he is bent on "proving.Read more ›