Yesterday, while watching Eliot Spitzer’s “In the Arena” from my perch on the new cardio machine at my gym, I took note of a visibly irate Jeffrey Toobin, fulminating about Donald Trump and the “part of the Republican Party that hates Barack Obama beyond any level of rationality.” I wonder if that “legal expert” (as Spitzer billed him) ever bemoaned about how Howard Dean appealed to that part of the Democratic Party that hates George W. Bush beyond all level of rationality.
It seems that the Donald has drawn the fire not just of left-of-center pundits, but also of a number of conservatives, including some very principled conservatives ones. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder yesterday if some of those liberal critics were upset not that Trump was talking about Obama’s birth certificate, but that he had drawn attention to the issue, causing people to ask questions about gaps in the president’s biography. And whereas, it’s supposedly a good and wise thing to ask questions about Republicans, when when Democratic politicians fail to be forthcoming, the less asked the better.
As Glenn Reynolds opined (albeit a different matter) “when it comes to criticisms of Obama, Bush’s critics are acting like they’re on Xanax.” Those who spent days, weeks, months, years even studying W’s National Guard experience seem indifferent to Obama’s educational experience.
For the record, on the birth certificate issue, I’m closer to Peter Wehner than to Donald Trump, aware, as he is, of the “partisan cost to all this“:
Mr. Trump is succumbing to a pernicious temptation in American politics: not simply to disagree with political opponents, but to try to delegitimize them. The argument isn’t simply that Mr. Obama is wrong on almost every public policy matter (which I believe he is). Rather, the argument is that his presidency is unconstitutional and that he is alien.
The president’s failure to produce his long-form birth certificate should not be the focus of conservative critiques of the incumbent (even “Tea Party darling Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)” dismisses the issue.) What this issue does raise is the many documents not forthcoming from this supposedly transparent politician. He won’t, for example, release his college transcripts so the American people won’t have a window into the nature of his undergraduate studies.
Yet, as Trump raises the issue, he draws the fire of Democrats and their allies in the MSM, leaving other, more serious candidates unscathed, making me wonder not only about his real intentions, but about his possible benefit to the GOP.
ADDENDUM: Wehner also raises another important issue:
He’s not just throwing stones from the sidelines, he’s digging in, he’s paying for researchers to find out why President Obama would have spent $2 million to not show his birth certificate.” (Ms. Palin has refused journalists’ requests to explain where the $2 million figure comes from.)
If the president has not spent this much trying to keep the long-form certificate under wraps, then there is much less to the story than Donald Trump alleges.
*NB: Please note that I changed the title of this post as the original title didn’t work as I had intended.