The purpose of this blog is to get readers to think about the complex (or perhaps simple) issues I write about.

The primary topics will revolve around politics and society as a whole, but a mixture of sports opinion may be thrown in from time to time.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Winners and Losers: The Obama Birth Certificate Story

President Barack Obama took to the podium in his own press briefing room Wednesday morning to discuss the fact that he dispatched personal lawyers to Hawaii to retrieve his birth certificate.

This was a response to the over-two and a half year conspiracy theory that he was not born in the United States,  despite having released the shorter version of his birth certificate. As the President stated in his briefing on the matter, there will still be "carnival barkers" who will continue to buy into the conspiracy theory despite these, his best efforts to put this issue to rest. 

The cable networks spent an inordinate amount of time covering the story throughout the day, and of course, it was issue number one on all of their opinion shows which start at about 5pm Eastern. 

After having absorbed the release, the briefing that followed, and the reaction from the talking heads and news media after that, it's kind of hard to tell who the real winners and losers are. 

To his credit, I think the President was right to say that we have bigger fish to fry than validation of a birth that took place almost 50 years ago.

I really see no winners in this matter. Donald Trump, the media, and the President all lost credibility with this issue yesterday, and the birthers themselves could really only be the ones to claim any victory, but the sheer fact that their opponents-per se have been vindicated has to be a "loss," right?

Of course Donald Trump immediately took full credit for the release of the birth certificate, despite insinuating that only now we can move onto frying the bigger fish. 

Trump went a step further though. "Experts will look at it," is what he said when asked about its potential validity, and if that weren't enough to signal this man is not going to run for president, he tried to stoke another conspiracy theory of sorts. 

After it appeared to the Donald (in his own mind, through the duration of his press conference in New Hampshire) that clearly the birth certificate would be legitimized, he began another conspiracy of sorts, claiming the President was a horrible student throughout his undergraduate and post-graduate schooling. 

Personally, as someone who wants a Republican to beat Obama in November 2012, I think this whole ordeal has left Trump with egg on his face. Sure he may have the right to claim some power over the birther debate with Obama going to the lengths he had to go through to publish his birth certificate, but in the end, it only proves how un-serious a candidate he really is, contradicting himself over the "important issues." 

The press. My guess is that if they could have a do-over, they would. There was a tinge of, "well, shoot!" about Obama's announcement that he was going to be issuing this birth certificate. And the reason I think so, is because they (being largely liberal) wanted the President to stick to his guns on this. 

By giving into birther demands, the president has done the liberal media a disservice. The media loves exposing the birthers as purely Republican and thus purely stupid, well despite them being able to point out the proverbial egg-on-face in the wake of the certificate's release, I still believe they didn't want this coming out. 

I think a press is a big loser simply because this is a confusing end to a narrative they've been tweaking with for its entire lifespan. The tinge of legitimacy this release gives the birther movement means the press is going to have to alter its birther narrative, and thus completely take us on another foray into something we already know to be true. 

The press, despite having lost all credibility with me a long time ago, is up to its ankles in ways to spin this to look good for the President, when in my mind it can never look good. 

Call me completely wrong, (some of you always do) but I honestly think Barack Obama may be the biggest loser in the fall out of this story. 

Sure, I believe he was genuine in claiming that he wants to focus on the bigger issues, and that an argument over where he was born was "silliness," but at the end of the day he had to have known how big of a story this was going to be on a day where you had a Fed Chairman giving a press conference for the first time ever, horrible news coming out of Libya and Afghanistan, and gas prices climbing to nearly $5 just in the District of Columbia alone.

I think the President is the biggest loser in all of this because of the disservice he did to himself. Regardless of how bad the news gets (Libya, oil/gas prices, et al) he has to be the adult, here, and while some liberals have made the case that releasing his birth certificate was the adult thing to do, I'd completely disagree and say that it was just par for the course for Obama. 

He has routinely thrown his hat into the ring on partisan squabbles and used vitriolic rhetoric when describing opponents and their ideas, yet we're still supposed to believe he is the "adult"--as he, and his cronies in the press remind us he is. 

All the release of his birth certificate does, (despite it officially disproving all of the birther nuts) is play into their hands. To me, it says, "I'm going to stoop to your level just one last time, because I think you guys are nuts and you need to be once and for all deemed so." 

People believed that the events of 9/11 were all an act of the Bush Administration to go to war, and have been believing so since that faithful afternoon. Many of them still believe as much. 

Yet President George W. Bush never gave them the time of day with a nationally televised briefing in the press room, and barely, if ever even paid lip service to them. Why? 

My guess is because he understood how insane these people were/still are, and knew that by stooping to their level, even if it was proving their arguments invalid (as Obama has done) he was giving them the legitimacy they so crave(d), and as a result it would have drawn focus away from his primary objectives. 

Obama however, as he has done on just about everything, wants to sit right on the fence. He wants us to move forward with the pressing issues, and rightly held contempt for those who thought he was not born an American, but instead of ignoring them completely, as he should have, somehow in his head, he was incorrectly thinking that if he could just put this one zany issue to sleep, progress would be able to go forward. 

I think he is dead wrong with that assessment. He's cheapened himself and the presidency, and while I feel very sorry for him for even have to consider releasing this "long-form" issue of his birth certificate, it was entirely unnecessary and played into the hands of those who wanted to see it all along. 

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