Political Gum Hockey

Political Commentary and Humor

President Obama Releases “Long Form” Birth Certificate – Will This Finally Shut Up the Birthers?

In a move that somehow avoided the pre-announcement leaking of the announcement to make an announcement, the White House today released President Obama’s “long form” birth certificate.  Yep, the “long form” because the “short form” that everyone else gets when they request their own birth certificate from the State of Hawai’i isn’t good enough for a not quite small proportion of the tea party that are tenderly referred to as “birthers” (or not so tenderly referred to as nut jobs, bigots, and a few other things that I wish not to print on Political Gum Hockey).  Because the law in Hawai’i forbade even the person from obtaining their own long form birth certificate, the President had to request that an exception be made, which the Hawai’i Department of Health granted in part because of the constant harassment they have received from birthers.

Of course, Obama supplied the normal birth certificate way back in 2008 when the birthers/nut jobs/bigots kept insisting that he was born in pretty much any place but the place he was born (all while somehow not thinking it important that Obama’s competitor, John McCain, was in fact born outside the USA).  As it says in the press release of this long form, the original birth certificate is the birth certificate and “This is not and should not be an open question.”  But that isn’t good enough for people looking for any excuse to attack the man who would become the first black President (of likely many future minority Presidents) .

So will this satisfy the birthers?  Before you answer, I’ll admit that this is a trick question.  The superficial answer is of course it won’t.  While some will shut up, others will find some other contrivance to attack Obama’s citizenship.  Why? Because this isn’t really about Obama’s citizenship.  It’s about fear.

When one looks at the constant drumbeat of the tea party, or at least the most extremist portions of the extremist wing of the Republican party that identifies itself as tea party, there is a pattern.  “Obama wasn’t born in the USA.” “Obama is half white.” “Obama is a socialist.” Yada yada yada.  All translate to “Obama isn’t one of us.” “Obama is foreign.” “Obama is un-American.”  Newt Gingrich, in one of his most illustrative diatribes, said (and I paraphrase) that “Obama doesn’t think like us.” All of these things are code for fear of foreign-ness, bigotry, xenophobia. They have deeper meaning than what they appear on the surface.

Keep in mind that the accusations of birthers and related contrived outrages were directed at Obama before he even was elected President, that is, long before he had any opportunity to implement any actual policies.  Just like there were contrivances by the South against Abraham Lincoln even before he was elected President.

Which is one of the reasons why there are parallels between the “tea party” movement and the onset of the Civil War, and why it could be just as dangerous.

But that will have to wait for a future PGH post.  For now, we’ll see how marginalized the birthers and their cohorts become now that one of their contrivances is no longer available to them.

April 27, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Birth certificate, Democratic, Obama, Tea Party | , , , , | 2 Comments

PGH Quick Take – Obama does debt

As I write this President Obama is giving his address on debt and what to do about it.  The first part can be summed up by “the Republicans started it.”  The big time borrowing started in the 1980s (unspoken was “by Ronald Reagan”).  We started getting responsible in the 1990s (unspoken was “during the Clinton administration”).  Then trashed that idea again this past decade (unspoken was “by GW Bush and the Republican Congress”).  Then Obama inherited an economy in the tank that required even more borrowing (unspoken was “just to keep us from becoming a third world country”).

He actually does a good job of telling it straight – all the stuff people are talking about is only 12% of our budget.  We need to look at the other 88%.  He basically said “we have to be honest, and the proposals out there are not honest.”  They go after minimal costs that happen to be ideological red meat for the base…and ofttimes just mean.  They focus on hurting average Americans and giving all the breaks to the people who least need them.  In short, the middle class and the investments in the future are being sacrificed to give a tiny percentage of the most privileged Americans even more privilege.  We need to invest in our future…China and others certainly are investing in theirs.

The vision for the future should be on investing in education and new technologies.  Not on giving tax breaks to the wealthy. “They want people like me to get a $200,000 tax break and by asking 33 seniors to take a $6000 each tax increase.  That is not the America we want.”

Now he is getting positive – America is a great nation.  “This is the America I know. We don’t have to forfeit our future.  We all have to make sacrifices, but we don’t have to sacrifice the America we all believe in.  And as President I won’t let it happen.”

He adopts some of the provisions of the debt commission. “We will make the tough cuts we need to make, including some things that I would rather not.  But we will not sacrifice our ability to meet the future, innovate, and create jobs.”  He includes defense in the areas where cuts can be made, while maintaining the US as the best and most powerful military in the world.  He includes continuing to look for ways to lower health care costs, but chastises the mean and ineffective plan put forth by the Republicans (the Ryan plan).  He says “we will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the commitment we have made to ourselves.”

He refuses to extend the tax cuts to the wealthiest one percent again.  “We can’t afford to give million dollar tax cuts to billionaires at the expense of the middle class.”  He called for Congress to reform the tax code to simplify and make more efficient our taxes while protecting our investment for the future.

The goal is to cut the deficit by $4 trillion by 2023.

A good speech.  He drew some bright lines with the Republicans, which should satisfy liberals who have been feeling he has given too much away to the GOP.  As for the Republicans, they of course will find fault with Obama’s speech because, well, because it’s Obama’s speech.  Overall, Obama presented an honest picture of what needs to be done and how we shouldn’t be fooled by the rhetoric that avoids taking any real responsibility and/or sacrifices the future and the middle class.  “We can’t just think about ourselves, we have to think about our country and our people and our future.”

“We are in this together.  I still believe we can take responsibility and can work together to keep America great.”

*all quotes are my paraphrasing as I don’t do dictation.  But hey, they’re pretty close. 🙂

April 13, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Democratic, Obama | , , , | 2 Comments