The birthers have of course lost their momentum a bit, but it’s still worth mentioning a few of the central characters, insofar as they still tend to pop up now and then in fringe publications ranting more or less incoherently about various pieces of tinfoilhattery.
Terry Lakin is one of the most famous elements of the birther movement. Lakin used to be an Army Lieutenant Colonel, who in 2010 was convicted of – and thrown out of the military – failing to deploy to Afghanistan. Lakin refused the deployment since his orders were “illegal” because as “all orders have their origin with the commander-in-chief” and President Obama had not satisfactorily proven that he was born in the US, those orders could not be followed. Ostensibly, Lakin’s plan was from the very outset to force the prosecution to procure a copy Obama’s birth certificate as part of the ensuing court-martial, which someone should have told him (and apparently did tell him) was an exceptionally bad idea that had already been tried a couple of times in practice (Stefan Cook and Connie Rhodes) to miserable failure. Predictably, the judge found that President Obama’s eligibility (and hence his birth certificate) had no bearing on the case. Lakin had apparently also prior to taking more public actions tried to check Obama’s constitutionally eligibility for the presidency through his chain of command, which of course was doomed to failure since it is pretty clear that he would accept no other result of his investigations than confirmation that what he had already delusionally convinced himself of was correct. There is more information about the case here. Apparently Lakin got cold feet midway through.
Lakin received the support of retired Army Major General Paul E. Vallely, a senior military analyst for Fox News who in an interview said that “I think many in the military – and many out of the military – question the natural-birth status of Barack Obama,” as well as from retired Army Major General Jerry Curry and retired Air Force Lieutenant General (and Fox News analyst) Thomas McInerney. The support from the latter two may, for all we know, be motivated by perceiving of Lakin’s case as disruptive and as a potential fundraising effort for rightwing lunatics rather than genuine belief that Lakin had a case. Vallely is certifiably a raving lunatic, though. The WND supported Lakin, too, to no one’s surprise.
Lakin later co-authored (with WND conspiracy theorist Jack Cashill) a book on his experiences, Officer’s Oath: Why My Vow to Defend the Constitution Demanded that I Sacrifice My Career. His supporters have recently sought a pardon on Lakin’s behalf from the current president.
Diagnosis: Raging lunatic, of course. His days of fame have probably come to an end, and his direct influence become limited, but not for the good sorts of reasons. And his style of thinking and being in the world seems frighteningly common.