Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rope-a-Dope Hope? or Nope?

Some analysts are saying that the President's release of the original, long-form birth certificate isn't really part of his plan to marginalize the Republicans and their candidates who play into the birther delusions. But even Karl Rove concedes the President was playing a little rope-a-dope. This is likely to help the President politically with the moderate independents who think the birther movement is the craziest thing since Nixon claimed he wasn't a crook. (I will admit that I actually fell for that one at the time. I've been suspicious of sanctimonious conservatives ever since.)

It is true, as many expected, that the release of the long-sought-for document will not silence most of the craziness. People will not give up on this issue even when responsible conservatives say they should have long ago. And what is it that is so different about this President that he has to prove who he is? No President before has ever had to produce such private and personal documentation having no real bearing on his eligibility or ability to serve. (Well, Nixon did have to produce all those "private" tapes revealing his potty mouth. But that was for a valid and successful criminal investigation for obstruction of justice.)

So, what is it? The burden is on the critics, not the President, to prove this negative. The critics don't like others to say it is because of his race. So is it because of his name? Is it because they fail to respect the state sovereignty of Hawaii? It is as crazy as, well, I'm still thinking. But I can't find a similar situation in American History. Anybody else have one?

There are legitimate character questions that should be resolved with a presidential candidate. And I can accept and understand political differences with the President. Those issues are appropriate for public debate and disagreement. There are even some important ones: the economy; jobs; the role and cost of government; two, now three wars to resolve; the federal deficit and debt; tax cuts for the rich and opportunity/safety-net cuts for everybody else; the ongoing incarceration of tortured, un-convicted, foreign individuals in GITMO; implementation (or not) of health care reform; education; infrastructure; energy; climate change; and many, many others more important than the non-issues of whether the President is a citizen, a Muslim, or a some kind of secret Marxist-Nazi terrorist destroying the Constitution all by himself or as part of a world-wide socialist-Islamic conspiracy to re-establish the caliphate.

There always have been and always will be irrational, emotional people who believe in the craziest, stupidest, and even offensive conspiracy theories (no moon landing; 9/11 truthers; protocols of Zion; alien autopsies; etc.) And there will be those who take selfish advantage of them like the donald. There will also be extreme people on the right and the left. With regard to the right, the Birchers, who were such a small, fringe group of the 1950s and early 60s, even if they did have their influence on the 1964 Republican presidential candidate, have apparently become the Birthers and Tea Partiers of today. And the big difference is, they now have significant influence in the Republican Party. They have actually elected people to the US Congress and state houses around the country, especially in Utah. And the moderates are getting tired of it.

So, carry on Birthers! You're only helping President Obama to be re-elected.


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