15 February 2011

The Legitimacy of the Obama Presidency...

It is funny in that perverse kind of a way to watch Republicans dodge, but not really, questions of Obama's citizenship and subsequent legitimacy with respect to being president. The latest Republican to play the double talk game is none other than House Speaker John Boehner. It is equally funny in that perverse kind of a way that Republicans still imagine that this is an issue that is going to be a major vote getter for them in the 2012 presidential elections.

Nah, Boehner hedged his bets as he is often seen doing on tobacco. Boehner's argument is in essence that he believes Obama is a citizen and a Christian. Now, according to Boehner, if the good ol' state of Hawaii says that Obama was born there then that is good enough for him. On the is Obama a Christian or a Muslim front Boehner is much more non-committal and merely says that he takes the president on his word. After all, in Boehner's mind President Obama has stated he is Christian so that will have to do for now.

The real funny here is that rather than being unequivocal in stating that the question of Obama's citizenship and religion is a non-issue, a dead issue, Boehner goes on to say that the American public is entitled to believe whatever they want. This is indeed true, Mr. Speaker. If Americans want to believe that no US man ever landed on the moon and that it was all a big hoax constructed in a studio in Hollywood somewhere as an elaborate ruse to fool the Russians that they had lost the space race, then they are entitled to believe that too. Similarly, if Americans want to believe that there are a couple of aliens on ice at Roswell or in Area 51, then they can do that too.

The fact that democrats lost so much ground at the mid-terms was not because they did, or continue to do, a woeful job in government. Rather it is a reflection of the inability of democrats to remobilise the 2008 base that swept Democrats into power and Obama into the White House. There is no guarantee that the Democrats will make the same mistake twice. The balancing factor here is that the current state of the economy and Obama's difficulties in following through on some of his election campaign rhetoric means that it must be easier for Republicans to mobilise their base, including the fringe represented by the Tea Party.

But, as the Speaker of the House, the responsible move would have been to be unequivocal that Obama is a citizen, this is no longer an issue and Republicans will not be using it to question the legitimacy of the President. One would have thought that Republicans would have believed that Obama's domestic and international track record since 2008 provides more than enough problems for the Democrats that there is no need to resort to fear-mongering about citizenship and Obama's supposed Muslim faith.

All that said, I remain an interested observer.


Liberal Stupidity said...

You are more optimistic about the origins and religious beliefs of the American President than a lot of Americans are.

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