It did not matter that news organizations had debunked the notion that Obama was born overseas (which would have made him constitutionally ineligible for the presidency). Polls showed a startling percentage of Americans still either believed the myth or were unconvinced. – A new era of accusation and innuendo
WASHINGTON – Calling out the “sideshows,” then labeling the birthers “carnival barkers,” Pres. Obama laid one squarely on Donald Trump’s jaw yesterday by releasing his long form birth certificate.
However, not only didn’t Donald Trump’s jaw shatter, he did what a more seasoned pol would do and that is declare victory.
If Trump isn’t serious about running for president he should now just simply walk away, because it’s not going to get any better for him. But instead he doubled down, not only saying experts will now have to decide the authenticity, but also questioning Pres. Obama’s educational records. For someone of Trump’s ego, there is nothing in this episode that reveals he’s ready to quit.
Having watched the Clinton era, but also being involved in Hillary’s campaign in 2008, I don’t consider the swiftboating of Barack Obama a “new era of accusation and innuendo,” but I did warn everyone about it all over again when I wrote about Donald Trump being the birther front man. I’ve been writing about the swiftboating of politicians for many years, going back to an organization Sen. John Kerry helped start, The Patriot Project, whose sole purpose was fighting back smears and lies after Kerry succumbed to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” the ringleader having a birther book due out next month.
Pres. Obama’s appearance at the podium yesterday assured that along with Trump, he would get covered as well. Therein lies the problem for the President. It should never have come down to this action, no matter what the establishment and traditional press are saying. A president should never have to compete with a “carnival barker.”
So, why did Pres. Obama wait until now to release this information? The polling made him do it, this coming from USA Today just the other day, but it’s hardly the first:
Still, in the USA TODAY poll, only 38% of Americans say Obama definitely was born in the USA, and 18% say he probably was. Fifteen percent say he probably was born in another country, and 9% say he definitely was born elsewhere. Views already are polarized about President Obama and some major Republican candidates for 2012. Republicans are inclined to say the president was born abroad by 43%-35%.
The traction of saying nothing was mounting. But it wasn’t until Donald Trump stood and aggressively, unabashedly and relentlessly called Obama out that Pres. Obama’s hand was forced.
The Obama loyalists will say they won, as Chris Matthews was doing today, with Chuck Todd offering the White House line, which is to present the President versus the “carnival barkers,” which is obviously the Trump contingent. Republicans and anti-Obama people will say Trump won, with Tea Party birthers looking the most ignorant and foolish.
It is quite interesting that Pres. Obama felt the need to punch down at Donald Trump by invoking “carnival barkers,” which he invoked last night in Democratic fundraisers as well, having fun with it on Oprah too, because there isn’t anyone that didn’t know who Obama was talking about with those words. That gave Donald Trump a lot of satisfaction, because no matter what is said, Pres. Obama still ended up releasing information he hadn’t before Trump started his campaign.
Pres. Obama blinked and the polls made him do it.
Taylor Marsh is a Washington based political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics, foreign policy, and women in power. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.