On The "Birthers"

Many of us get into politics for similar and yet far different reasons. Some just want to impact their local community. Others have more devious and self-serving motives. For me, it was being a young boy and reading about ordinary men doing extraordinary things.

But those who stay around long enough learn one common truth: at its core, politics is all about the art of the sale. There are many who actually go around and kick the tires, but the election of Barack Obama last year proved this one truth: most people don’t care about what you are selling, but rather about who is selling it. Ask the average person what Obama ran on, and you will get a blank stare. Ask the average person how they feel or felt about Obama, and they felt good. They weren’t necessarily buying Obama’s ideas, but they were buying the man himself.

In essence, you are selling one key item (yourself), and hoping as an added bonus that the consumer will buy other products (your ideas) as well.

We are reaching a time and place where Obama’s ideas are losing credibility. People see that the stimulus, rushed and rammed through Congress, is an abject failure. People are seeing that the idea of the cap-and-tax bill will prove to be a failure as well. And we see Obamacare slowly withering on the vine, and Obama desperate to ram this bill through like everything else. Several members of Congress are facing the unwelcoming prospect of coming back home in August with an irate public asking them questions that they don’t want to answer. In short, despite the media’s outcry that Republicans are dead, if nothing else, we are selling the public on the fact that Obama’s ideas are a bad direction for the country.

Which brings me to the Birthers.

Granted, when Obama first came on the scene, this story might have deserved due diligence. After all, we have not had a president whom had a foreign parent since the founding of the nation. The tires needed to be kicked. But, a year or two later, the question has been answered. The president, like it or not, has provided the credentials to prove that he is a native citizen. Let it go.

Why? Let’s analyze the situation.

You have essentially two routes to go to force Obama to provide the birth certificate that he has already provided: Congress or the courts. For it to move through Congress will essentially require a two-thirds majority vote. Considering that we don’t have a simple majority, it’s unlikely we can pursue that route.

So, let’s go to the courts. You have to convince a district court, the inevitable appeals court, and finally the Supreme Court, that you have a case and that Obama needs to prove (again) that he is a native American.

But let’s say that you somehow get that to happen. You then have to hope Obama doesn’t have the ability to prove his birth.

In analysis and theory, you have to hit the political equivalent of a pitcher who plays outfield on his non-pitching days playing a morning game at Yankees Stadium where he plays for the 2,632nd game in a row and hits for the 57th consecutive game, while simultaneously pitching a perfect game and also hitting five home runs…then going down to Jersey for a afternoon game of football where he rushes for 350 yards, passes for 550 yards, and kicks 8 field goals, then rushes back up to the Garden for a mid-evening game of Knicks basketball where he scores 101 points, and then topping off the evening by fighting at the Garden and knocking out the rejuvenated (just for kicks) Muhammed Ali, who happens to have the reincarnated Jack Dempsey in his corner.

So, we’ve established that you have to be the miracle king to pull this off. What are the risks if you don’t succeed?

Well, for starters, not only do you look like fools, but you also make out conservatives and libertarians in general to look like fools. You additionally pull down some well-meaning politicians who don’t want to say anything substantive one way or the other and run the risk of offending you or someone else. You make the top story be about something crazy and that doesn’t affect one item of legislation, rather than about a bevy of bills that could sink the Republic.

And, you end up looking like nativists and racists through the prism of those who would use anything we do for political gain—the last thing we need when we are trying to diversify our membership and win in a country that is increasingly becoming more ethnically diverse. Granted, you may not be a racist, but once again, politics is all about the art of the sale. Perception is everything, and belaboring this issue on the first president who doesn’t happen to be a white male Christian when we already have a (wrongly-deserved) image problem with minorities kind of makes it easy for our opponents to sell that issue.

Not to mention that pretty much everything that can be done has been done to prove Obama’s citizenship.

We are winning the battle, folks. As much as Olbermann and Maddow and Markos try to convince us and the people otherwise, we are proving that Obama doesn’t have what it takes for the job.

But we need to avoid the pitfalls that could be our undoing. And this is one of them. When Lou Dobbs gets debunked on his own show, by his own fill-in who (presumably) was hand-picked by Lou Dobbs, it’s time to admit that you have lost the battle. You fought well, but the facts are not on your side.

So, please—from one conservative/libertarian to another—accept the facts and pull out, before you cause more harm and cause our side to lose the sale.