Some quick hits on reaction to the White House release of Obama's long-form birth certificate.
TRUST, BUT DON'T VERIFY: Team Obama could have engineered the release of the long form certificate any time in the last three years, but didn't. Why not? Who cares?!? Dave Weigel explains his standards for investigative journalism:
The White House's position for more than two years was that all "birther" questions were answered by the COLB. And the long-form certificate proves that the COLB was legitimate and answered all reasonable questions about Obama's birth. If you were "just asking questions" about the COLB, you were not a truth-seeker. You were a fool.
If the White House says the documents they have released are sufficient, you are a fool if you want to verify it. Really? Well, maybe that standard is not universally embraced - Andrew Sullivan, in yet another screeching u-turn, calls for a more diligent press:
Why Did Obama Wait So Long?
So he had the power to get this into the public eye and yet resisted until the country's polity was almost paralyzed with distraction. I know this was an ethically legitimate position after releasing the short-form document proving that he was indeed born in the US. I know it was politically savvy because, by the rules of jujitsu, Obama allowed the nutty right (is there any other variety with influence now?) to make fools of themselves.
Nonetheless, I think this should have been done long ago.
Because a president has to put his public responsibilities before his pride and his privacy. That's the price of the job - to defuse or debunk conspiracy theorists or just skeptics with all the relevant information you have.
It's also the job of the media always to press for more information, not less. But so many spent their energy arguing that Obama need do no more and piling on the Birthers. They still seem to think they are gatekeepers, possessors of the power to decide what is or is not legitimate for citizens to ask of their public officials.
Get over yourselves, MSM. And do your job - not defending the right of people in power to protect themselves, but scrutinizing them relentlessly, with every fact and document you can get.
Hear, hear! And please, just ignore this Andrew Sullivan from two weeks ago:
We have gotten all the data one can want out of the Obama administration on his birth certificate. He has delivered it.
And set aside Andrew from two years ago, when he was explaining the birther controversy to his British readers:
Why does this story stay alive? Some, like me, didn’t understand the Hawaiian intricacies at first: we thought there was a single long-form certificate that could resolve the question. But, as FactCheck notes: “The Hawaii Department of Health’s birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department.” So Obama did all he could to make this go away.
Uh huh - Andrew seriously believed that neither Obama, with his rights as a private citizen and duties as President, could persuade Hawaii to do what is perfectly legal under their laws, namely, release the full record to someone with a legitimate interest in it. Obama's Presidential Library would never see these documents, which would gather dust somewhere in a filing cabinet in Honolulu until the end of man. Wow - that is asking the tough questions, unrelentingly.
Let's close with David Remnick of the New Yorker, an Obama biographer who, while assuring us that a lot of the stuff said about Obama is lies, sidesteps his own reporting of Team Obama deception:
What is truly disturbing is the game Trump has been participating in, the conspiracy thinking he was playing with. And here the polls—to the extent that they can be taken as hard fact—tell a disturbing story, in which no small part of the country has believed in a variety of tales about Barack Obama. There is the birther fantasy; the fantasy that Bill Ayers wrote “Dreams from My Father”; the fantasy that the President has some other father, and not Barack Obama, Sr.; the fantasy that Obama got into Harvard Law School with the help of a Saudi prince and the Nation of Islam. There is a veritable fantasy industry at work online and in the book-publishing industry; there are dollars to be made.
The cynicism of the purveyors of these fantasies is that they know very well what they are playing at, the prejudices they are fanning: that Obama is foreign, a fake, incapable of writing a book, incapable of intellectual achievement. Let’s say what is plainly true (and what the President himself is reluctant to say): these rumors, this industry of fantasy, are designed to arouse a fear of the Other, of an African-American man with a white American mother and a black Kenyan father.
Hmm - maybe these rumors persist because people think Obama has lied about his past and gotten a pass from a love-sick media. As evidence of just that, let's remember that the Obama campaign changed their story repeatedly about the Ayers-Obama connection. Originally, Bill Ayers was just a guy from Obama's neighborhood; their final version was that, well, yes, Obama and Ayers worked together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (dedicated to school reform) and yes, Obama's appointment as chairman of that was surprising given his lack of a background in education, and yes, Bill Ayers had been instrumental in putting together the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, but no, no,no, Bill Ayers had nothing at all to do with Obama's appointment as chairman.
“Ayers helped bring Obama onto the Annenberg board.”
So Remnick has reported that the offical Obama story about the Obama/Ayers relationship is bunk, but assures us that the other weird stories are just weird. I can't tell the fantasies without a scorecard.
IF THE MEDIA HAD PRESERVED THEIR CREDIBILITY AND DONE THEIR JOB...: The NY Times editors bleat about the outrage of it all, and include this bit of ahistorical nonsense:
It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president.
Well, I might have said it is inconceivable that a major news organization would rely on forged documents to make a case against the President. As for "the other", surely the Times remembers their desperate attempts to cover for John Kerry, who wouldn't release his medical records or his military records? The Kerry animus was hardly racial (more anti-French, presumably). I guess part of the Times cover-up is to pretend there was no cover-up, and now they are all aghast when they learn that people trust neither the President nor the Times. Reap, sow.