April 26, 2011

Birthers. Obama above it all. This time.

Here's two quick observations on the birther scenario - one relating to birthers and one to the president.

Firstly, I'm no birther by any stretch. Even if those claims of illegitimacy turned out to be true, the fact remains the damage Obama has done to the country has already happened or is happening now. By the time it all got sorted out it would be election time anyway. Which brings me to my first observation.

Why would any conservative want to deny the right a victory in an election contest? The president is eminently beatable in a head to head contest. If we can't do that then we have nominated a sop and don't deserve to win. Defeating Obama in court is a really weak way to win. That's like the guy who won the Tour de France in 2006, months after the race because of a Floyd Landis urine sample. That's not a victory. You don't get to cross the finish line with the flag hoisted. You've cheated yourselves of a real win. It's technically a win but it is entirely unsatisfying.

Point two. Obama isn't exactly pure as the wind driven snow on this issue. That's because he has tried to stay above it all. This time. The mainstream media argument that it would be un-presidential to just go ahead and release the birth certificate ignores two very salient points.

(1) The president has on many occasions chosen not to remain above the fray. Remember the beer summit? Or more recently his talk of  siding with Wisconsin unions against governor Walker?  He is above the fray when it suits him and not above the fray when it suits him. That is his prerogative, but let's not pretend that in this one case it's being presidential. It's political pure and simple. If he wanted to dispel the myth he could simply release his records. But it suits him to make his opponents look crazy by simply withholding the birth certificate. Birthers are playing right into his hand by turning off some moderates with their 'crazy talk'. If it is worth half a percentage point in 2012, that's a big deal.  And he doesn't even have to get his hands dirty. His allies in the press will do it for him, allowing him to continue to seem above the fray.

(2) The president has never come out and said that his opponents are similar to the frivolous lawsuits that faced Sarah Palin while governor of Alaska. But the situations are similar in many respects. Palin was excoriated in the media for resigning in the face of frivolous lawsuits. She did the right thing as opposed to the political thing. But if the president were to be post-partisan he would have pointed that commonality out by comparing the two situations as unfair. He could have used that to his advantage to bolster his claim as post-partisan. But he was happy to see Palin twist in the wind of the press as much as the wind of the lawsuits. It served his political purposes against a potentially lethal political opponent , once again proving he's not above it all. 

President Obama has never been above it all.  Those who give him credit for doing so in the case of  birthers are being disingenuous or do not see the whole picture.  That's not a false choice, it's an opinion that is backed up by the president's own actions.


  1. One of the things that has made me not believe Obama was born out of the country is if there was the slightest chance of it Mrs. Bill Clinton would have had 100 lawyers and detectives in Hawaii a couple of years ago proving it.

    Not that the man should be taken at his word in anything!

  2. You make a good point about Clinton. Obama too for that matter.


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