May 4, 2011
Our long idiotic nightmare is over: President Obama—taunted by "Birthers" to release the long-form of his Hawaiian birth certificate, proving he was born in America and therefore eligible to be President—has done just that.
As if there had ever been any real doubt—except in the minds of conspiracy theorists and the skeptically challenged who make up the Birther "movement." After all, we already had in evidence an official certification of live birth, corrobative newspaper birth announcements, and, discovered by the Associated Press, a state vital records office binder that listed the births of all the children born in Hawaii between 1960 and 1964—including, of course Obama.
Nevertheless, billionaire Donald Trump went way over the top—and I'm not talking about his comb-over. He demanded more and more proof, playing a game in which he kept switching the goalposts. He suggested Obama was actually born in Kenya, and as more proof to the contrary came—beyond all reasonable doubt—Trump ratcheted up the claims, sometimes sounding like a bigot: He suggested that perhaps the certificate, if it did exist, might give the president's religion as "Muslim"—rather than "Christian" as Obama avows. (In fact, reporters found that birth certificates of the time did not list religion.) Trump had even heard, he soon began to say, that the certificate was suspiciously missing. Could he give his source? With something of a straight face, he replied that that would be inappropriate. And so on.
Trump also hinted that, aside from the birthplace question, Obama had gotten into Harvard by racial preference instead of brains. Yet anyone with half a brain could see that Obama (who graduated magna cum laude) was dramatically smarter than Trump. (Perhaps we should ask the Birther in Chief to release his IQ scores, and while we are at it, his grade school certificate.) But if Trump played the race card, Obama played his Trump card: the birth certificate itself. In doing so, he obliquely compared The Donald to a carnival "barker."
Now, clearly, Trump is a huckster and worse. But I take exception to the President's label. It slanders hard-working sideshow spielers everywhere, who are simply trying to sell a show, not use an empty tent to sell themselves. Anyway, Obama had the last laugh—quite literally. At the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, the President suggested that Trump, who was in the audience, could now turn his attention to more important issues, like whether or not the moon landing really occurred.