So the earliest "birther" of all was actually—President Obama! Or at least his literary rep, who promoted the notion of a Kenyan birth up until 2007. To Mark Steyn, it's a clear case of postmodern self-invention: "To 99.99 percent of people, Hawaii is a luxury-vacation destination and nothing else," he writes in the National Review. "Whereas Kenya puts you at the heart of what ... was a bitter and violent struggle against the white man’s rule. Cool! The composite chicks dig it, and the literary agents."
Steyn sees little harm in it the practice, which is fairly common "in the circles in which Obama hangs." Case in point: Elizabeth Warren, trumpeted by Harvard Law School as its first hired "woman of color," is actually "the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out. But she 'self-identified' as Cherokee, so that makes her a 'woman of color.'" To Steyn, Obama is equally invented: "When just being who you are anyway is an incredible accomplishment, Obama managed to run and win on biography almost entirely unmoored from life." (Read more President Obama stories.)