Plowing through my email this morning that comment caught my attention: “Obama is making a birther out of me.”
The remark came from reader D. S.,someone who emails every few months, usually send me some obscure or amusing news tidbit, or sometimes writing about something military. He’s a well-educated and most sensible chap who has never mentioned the birther bunch before, but apparently Congress passing a resolution proclaiming that Obama was born in Hawaii bothered him.
I never gave credence to far-right extremists anymore than I bought the truthers but why this end run around it by congress? Why was this necessary when producing the birth certificate would shut them up? I’m more interested in the college transcripts. We got to see all of Bush’s grades, why can’t we know Obama’s? Why won’t the press simply ask for release of transcripts? It’s not the birthers but Obama’s coverup that makes me wonder what he is hiding?
The press and the Democrats may have made a miscalculation. As near as I can tell, the birther movement was more or less “under the radar.” It was an idea flying around the internets, and the province of the far right. Now, the press and the Dems, in an effort to discredit the birthers (or maybe simply because they needed a “focus of hate” for the week, or they desired a distraction) have spent the past week or so deriding them in the mainstream. If their intention was to sneer and mock the question into complete irrelevance, it seems to have backfired. Instead, they simply made people like D.S., who were not especially interested in the story to begin with, start to ask, “well, why not” just show the papers and be done with this?
I’m not a birther, myself, but it’s not a bad or unfair question. Why, instead of simply producing the paper, does Obama fight inquiry about it? Why can’t we see his transcripts?
I remember, during the 2004 Presidential Campaign, reading that reporters had gone so far as to track down the dentist who filled one of Bush’s teeth while he was in the TANG, to try to find some dirt on the “incurious” president. On Obama’s background, no curiosity within the press. It does seem odd.
Then again, when one remembers that the press has invested all of its credibility into Obama’s presidency and his “story,” which they adore, you realize why they do not ask any questions. It’s all “too good to check,” and they really don’t want to know what part of it might cause discomfort.
The incuriosity of the press and the White House’s own dance feeds the birther movement more than the rhetoric of the far right. But really, there’s nothing to be done about it now. The guy is in the oval office, the press – which did check out John McCain’s eligibility to run for president – did not check Obama’s. They did not give much of his story due diligence (or ask him a difficult question) during the campaign. I can tell you that even if we were to find out that some part of the “story” is a fabrication, it won’t change anything.
And, maybe it’s not supposed to. I’ve often said that some things need to happen in order that other things must happen. As I wrote here last week, things are continually evolving and we can’t always see the purpose of a thing until things play out a bit. I’ve found that to be true in my life, haven’t you in yours? You look back and say, “ah…that other road I had always wished I had taken, if I had, I would not now have this other person in my life, or these children…” And then, with some hindsight, things that didn’t make sense, or that even caused great pain, they make a little more sense.
Another pal emailed me on that congressional resolution, too, sending the whole proclamation, highlighting the line, “Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii;” and merely remarking, “they’re terrified of something.”
Well, I don’t know. Salon says this resolution was introduced a month ago and only just reached the floor for a vote.
The resolution wasn’t really intended to jam up the House Republicans, or to rebuke the birthers, though. (The implied slam at the birthers was a side benefit, but not the primary purpose by any means.) Besides, the resolution was actually introduced last month — it just happened to be brought to the floor on Monday. And one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., is to be a co-sponsor of the “birther bill” that would require future presidential candidates to furnish a birth certificate.
The way the resolution was brought to the floor, under a procedure known as suspension of the rules, also indicated that it wasn’t meant as a political maneuver. The procedure is generally used for measures unlikely to cause any controversy, and means that the amount of debate on the bill is limited, as is the number of amendments that can be added, but means that two-thirds of the House must vote in favor in order for the legislation to pass. Fifteen other measures were brought to the House floor under the same procedure Monday.
It would seem the resolution was not the “end run” that my correspondent thought it was. But a quick search-engine survey indicates this issue is not going away.
UPDATE: Mary Katharine Ham notes an irony
UPDATE II: “Nixonian Secrecy”: You’d think by now they’d know the rule, that cover-ups always make things worse than they need to be. I thought we ALL learned that after the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. I guess I was wrong.
UPDATE III: Oy, already!