Crazed Birthers and a sad spectacle

“Today, I’m very proud of myself because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish… I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully getting rid of this issue.”
—Donald Trump, April 27, 2011

It was a sad and sorry spectacle that played out Wednesday morning on national TV. There was blowhard businessman D. Trump standing on a tarmac in New Hampshire, unburdening himself of a whole stream of self-important gibberish while a fawning news corps scribbled his comments and several national cable TV networks transmitted his vacuities cross the globe.

The scene played itself out while the TVs waited to bring up President Obama at a news podium in the White House. The president announced he had posted a copy of his “long form” birth certificate, which clearly proves his birth in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, hence putting the lie once and for all to the so-called “birthers,” who have fostered fiction about his legitimacy as president.

And even as Trump went on about how proud of himself he is, there Obama was, the President of the United States – in a split-screen telecast.

The New York Times reported on Obama’s remarks: “Over the last two and a half years, I have watched with bemusement,” the president said in brief remarks. “I’ve been puzzled by the degree to which this thing just kept on going.”

Mr. Obama said there would be a “segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest.” But he said that he was “speaking to the vast majority of the American people as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness.”

The president said he decided to release the “long-form” birth certificate two weeks ago, after news reports about the controversy dominated a week in which Republicans released their 2012 budget and Mr. Obama gave a speech on the nation’s debt.

“This is going to generate huge and serious debates, important debates,” Mr. Obama said of those issues. “That’s how democracy is supposed to work.”

“We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers,” the president added.

Trump’s P.T. Barnum act served as a more-than-willing counterpoint to Obama’s sensible, statesman-like approach. After all, for Trump, the bottom line was that he soak up as much free media as possible. All the better to boost TV ratings, no matter what the cost to the nation’s prestige.

“I know how to make money — I’ve always known how to make money,” Trump said. “This country is broke.”

This country is indeed broken in more ways than one when its commander-in-chief has to interrupt his day to answer the basest of charges from the likes of Trump.

– Ed Forry