Heather Michon

Heather Michon
June 25
Follow me on Twitter @heathermichon

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APRIL 27, 2011 1:18PM

It's Not About The Birth Certificate

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The White House today released President Barack Obama’s “long form” Certificate of Live Birth from the State of Hawaii, asserting that he was indeed born at the Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu at 7:24 pm on August 4, 1961

The release of this document will change nothing, as the President himself noted during a brief statement to the press this morning. “I know that there’s going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest.”

“But I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press,” he continued. “We do not have time for this kind of silliness.  We’ve got better stuff to do.  I’ve got better stuff to do.  We’ve got big problems to solve.  And I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them -- not on this.”

It’s an odd bit of political theater, and it only gets odder the more you think about it. The “birther” issue has been going on for years now and has shown no sign of particularly perturbing the President or his supporters. The people who tend to believe in it are not voters Obama needs to win re-election in 2012 or could hope to swing in his favor. Random comments by Donald Trump are also unlikely to have much impact on Obama voters or Obama-leaning voters. Neither is Jerome Corsi’s new book. The release of this document, but Obama’s own admission, changes nothing.

So, why now? Why today?

Because Obama is a smart guy, surrounded by other smart guys. They know this isn’t about the birth certificate. It’s never been about the birth certificate. The birth certificate has always been a stand-in for something else. They’re using it, the same way their political opponents do.

While race certainly plays a role in the “birther” argument, the uproar over the birth certificate is simply Obama’s Vince Foster. His Texas Air National Guard.

It’s part of the modern presidency: this obsessive focus by the opposition on some tangential, hard-to-prove-the-negative issue. Whether we’re talking about Barack Obama or George W. Bush of Bill Clinton, it’s all about de-legitimizing the sitting president. The trick for said sitting president to deploy the issue to his advantage as needed.

For the Obama Administration, today is as good a day as any for a distraction. After leaving the White House press room this morning, Obama headed out to Chicago for a fundraiser and to tape a show with Oprah Winfrey. Then, it’s off to New York for a swank fundraiser at the Waldorf-Astoria, with seats starting at $2,500 and topping out at $100,000. This will be followed by a more proletarian $44-per-person town hall before heading back to Washington tonight. This afternoon, Ben Bernanke will give his first-ever press conference, announcing the results of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting. Those in the know expect that the dollar will fall after his comments, which will very quickly translate into more economic pain for stressed Americans.   

Distract the media with something shiny today, secure in the knowledge that by tomorrow, it will be all Will and Kate, all the time.

Well played, Mr. President. Well played.  


Man Has Will & Kate Tattooed on Teeth 





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You're right. I understand that the next big revelation from the birthers will be that Obama is African-American.
@john blumenthal

Nah, that'd just be CRAZY. :-)
If this White House is so smart, why publish the Long Form now? Why not let the Trumpster and his minions look like imbeciles? Instead, Trump and Palin "take credit" for forcing the issue. This issue came out of nonsense about his being Muslim, thus nationality and religion and race, which is why it's had staying power.

Exactly what is well played by this president at this point? Where's the urgency when in fact his "illegitimacy" with former supporters is much more the issue, the countless betrayals of campaigning, the spirit and the letter. That's his problem and I, as one progressive, think the Long Form is irrelevant yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
The important issues concern employment, the misbehavior of the corporations and the financial sector, the failings of the infrastructure, the educational system, and the illegalities put into action by the Bush administration, the vicious and useless wars in the Middle East, the monstrous and unnecessary military budget, the illegal foreclosures of homes and a few other really basic problems. The birther thing is a farce, a circus to distract the public from their real unattended miseries.
Agreed. Also, it really shines a light on the contingent of the GOP which has done nothing but focus on this issue and the more mainstream Repubs who did nothing to stop it.
Okay, but now I wanna see George Bush's. And John McCain's. And Ronald Reagan's. And....

Obama should not have had to do this. Ridiculous.
I think he bought it on Ebay.

I've been listening to this for a good part of the day. I just watched Lawernce O'Donnell throw Orly Taitz (sp?) off his show.

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Heather, you said this:

It’s part of the modern presidency: this obsessive focus by the opposition on some tangential, hard-to-prove-the-negative issue. Whether we’re talking about Barack Obama or George W. Bush of Bill Clinton, it’s all about de-legitimizing the sitting president.

My memory is failing, that's a given, but can you point to how the Democrats tried to delegitimize the Bush presidency that's comparable to what the Republicans and TeaPartiers have done to Clinton and Obama? I think just saying that Bush is an idiot or that he'll go down as the worst president in history rises to equivalency.

thx, and good post.
I meant to say I don't think it rises.
You totally read this wrong. This was done to destroy Trump and to destroy any possibility he has of running in 2012. He most likely won't anyway but the most dangerous part about The Donald is he knows how to manipulate the media and he doesn't take any crap. Therefore he can say what he wants and it gets airplay. Obama and his boys wanted to embarrass Trump and make him look like an idiot. Instead Trump goes on TV and calls it the "proudest" day of his life and he takes full credit for "getting it done." LMAO! That is fantastic. Bravo!!! Trump-1, Obama-0. Your move Mr President.
God, if only it WOULD destroy Trump...
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OK, now that we've seen the real birth certificate, I want to see Donald Trump's real forehead, something that has been concealed for years. What is La Donald hiding?
We want to see "Trump's Certificate of Live Hair".
Thank you.