Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Birth Certificate

Obama finally decided to end the controversy about his birth by releasing his birth certificate.  This can only mean one thing:  he felt it was hurting his popularity.  He had a legitimate birth certificate all along.  Being an American citizen is a requirement for the presidency, and some people were questioning whether he qualified.  He was actually spending money to defend himself against lawsuits that requested him to prove his citizenship by releasing the birth certificate.  I thought the most likely explanation for his stubborness was that there was something embarrassing on the birth certificate -- perhaps it named him a Muslim -- that he didn't want made public.  Since there isn't, the only logical explanation is that he refused to release it because he wanted to keep alive the meme that his opponents consisted, at least in part, of nut cases.  (Well, everyone politician's opponents consist in part of nut cases, but let us say, a larger proportion than usual.)

Imagining myself in his situation, this seems like an extremely cynical policy.  Sowing seeds of doubt when he knew the situation to be clear -- and could have made it clear by a simple step -- is political calculation at its most Machiavellian.  But whereas he could ignore questions about his birth when his approval rating was running 60%+, he apparently feels he cannot now that it is in the 40's (and the next election is approaching).  I can't say that his actions are morally wrong, but they certainly are not the kind of behaviour I prefer in our national leaders.

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