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Trump, Obama ‘birther’ debate create dangerous distractions

April 30th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Ben Zaritsky

Donald Trump has outdone himself. Again. “I’m proud of what I’ve done,” he said this week.

Not only has he accused a president of the United States of being a liar, fraud and holding his office illegitimately, while at the same time ignoring (and helping the media to ignore) issues that drastically affect the entire nation, but he is proud of all that.

In particular, the developer-TV performer who now is toying with a presidential run himself, is proud that he was wrong about the entire birther issue.

I sat in anticipation, awaiting the release of President Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate. I wasn’t excited to actually see the document; I’ve never questioned the president, two governors of Hawaii, and countless others who have certified that Obama was born in the United States. Rather, I was excited to see how the birther conspiracy theories would spin this into a bad thing.

I was not disappointed.

President Obama said Wednesday, “We do not have time for this kind of silliness.”

The birth issue apparently resolved (maybe), many Obama critics moved on to question the president’s college grades.

Others, however, were more inventive. Some blogs zoomed off to claim the birth certificate was a fake because it reads “certificate of live birth” and not “birth certificate.”

Others argued that being born in the United States does not mean that you are necessarily an American citizen.

Phillip Berg, an attorney who filed the first birther lawsuit, argued that Obama lost his citizenship when he lived in Indonesia.

Conservative website WorldNetDaily argued that the president was never a U.S. citizen because his father was not a citizen.

WND contends that, despite the 14th amendment to the Constitution, which gives citizenship to all persons born in the United States despite the parents’ age or citizenship, “according to correspondence from the original framers of the Constitution as well as multiple Supreme Court rulings and the legal writings that helped establish the principles of the Constitution, Obama is not eligible to serve as president since his father was not a U.S. citizen.”

If that isn’t enough, other politicians and pundits have slammed Obama for showing the birth certificate at all.

“White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called this issue a sideshow,” said a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday. “We fully agree. The White House shouldn’t engage political sideshows, particularly at a time when the challenges facing our country are so immense. Despite the excitement caused by the media circus this morning, House Republicans remain squarely focused on the things that truly matter to families and business owners throughout our country.”

On the other side, Newt Gingrich questioned why it took so long for the certificate to be produced.

It seems that no matter what happens, Obama critics won’t find any satisfaction in the job the president is doing. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say their overriding agenda is to dismiss anything good the president tries to do.

Don’t misunderstand me—I believe President Obama has been trying to do the best thing possible with this enduring controversy.

“The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country,” the White House’s Dan Pfeiffer wrote. “It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country.”

Currently, the nation is facing one of the most difficult financial periods in history. The decisions that must be made within the next few years are going to drastically change our fate as a nation.

It would be nice for the country to pay attention. Otherwise, as during the healthcare debate, people won’t realize what is even happening.




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  1. One Response to “Trump, Obama ‘birther’ debate create dangerous distractions”

  2. By jack on Apr 30, 2011

    Faux News reports White House has recently released ‘what it says’ is Obama’s birth certificate.

    I think this was bad politics on Obama’s part. He should have just continued ignoring the whole thing. By catering to it, trying to prove them all wrong, he’s just added fuel to the fire and made people think there’s something to it when there clearly isn’t.

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